GTC 2014: NVIDIA Launches Iray VCA Networked Rendering Appliance

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 1, 2014 - 04:42 PM |
Tagged: VCA, nvidia, GTC 2014

NVIDIA launched a new visual computing appliance called the Iray VCA at the GPU Technology Conference last week. This new piece of enterprise hardware uses full GK 110 graphics cards to accelerate the company’s Iray renderer which is used to create photo realistic models in various design programs.

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The Iray VCA specifically is a licensed appliance (hardware + software) that combines NVIDIA hardware and software. On the hardware side of things, the Iray VCA is powered by eight graphics cards, dual processors (unspecified but likely Intel Xeons based on usage in last year’s GRID VCA), 256GB of system RAM, and a 2TB SSD. Networking hardware includes two 10GbE NICs, two 1GbE NICs, and one Infiniband connection. In total, the Iray VCA features 20 CPU cores and 23,040 CUDA cores. The GPUs used are based on the full GK110 die and are paired with 12GB of memory each.

Even better, it is a scalable solution such that companies can add additional Iray VCAs to the network. The appliances reportedly transparently accelerate the Iray accelerated renders done on designer’s workstations. NVIDIA reports that an Iray VCA is approximately 60-times faster than a Quadro K5000-powered workstation. Further, according to NVIDIA, 19 Iray VCAs working together amounts to 1 PetaFLOP of compute performance which is enough to render photo realistic simulations using 1 billion rays with up to hundreds of thousands of bounces.

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The Iray VCA enables some rather impressive real time renders of 3D models with realistic physical properties and lighting. The models are light simulations that use ray tracing, global illumination and other techniques to show photo realistic models using up to billions of rays of light. NVIDIA is positioning the Iray VCA as an alternative to physical prototyping, allowing designers to put together virtual prototypes that can be iterated and changed at significantly less cost and time.

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Iray itself is NVIDIA’s GPU-accelerated photo realistic renderer. The Iray technology is used in a number of design software packages. The Iray VCA is meant to further accelerate that Iray renderer by throwing massive amounts of parallel processing hardware at the resource intensive problem over the network (the Iray VCAs can be installed at a data center or kept on site). Initially the Iray VCA will support 3ds Max, Catia, Bunkspeed, and Maya, but NVIDIA is working on supporting all Iray accelerated software with the VCA hardware.

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The virtual prototypes can be sliced and examined and can even be placed in real world environments by importing HDR photos. Jen-Hsun Huang demonstrated this by placing Honda’s vehicle model on the GTC stage (virtually).

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In fact, one of NVIDIA’s initial partners with the Iray VCA is Honda. Honda is currently beta testing a cluster of 25 Iray VCAs to refine styling designs for cars and their interiors based on initial artistic work. Honda Research and Development System Engineer Daisuke Ide was quoted by NVIDIA as stating that “Our TOPS tool, which uses NVIDIA Iray on our NVIDIA GPU cluster, enables us to evaluate our original design data as if it were real. This allows us to explore more designs so we can create better designs faster and more affordably.”

The Iray VCA (PDF) will be available this summer for $50,000. The sticker price includes the hardware, Iray license, and the first year of updates and maintenance. This is far from consumer technology, but it is interesting technology that may be used in the design process of your next car or other major purchase.

What do you think about the Iray VCA and NVIDIA's licensed hardware model?

OCZ Technology Introduces Next Generation RevoDrive PCI-Express Solid State Drives

Subject: Storage | July 13, 2011 - 01:32 PM |
Tagged: VCA, ssd, revo 3, PCIe SSD, ocz

SAN JOSE, CA—July 13, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today launched the RevoDrive 3 and RevoDrive 3 X2 lineup of SSDs. Designed to deliver maximum throughput in multithreaded applications, the new RevoDrive 3 incorporates an advanced data management feature-set based on OCZ’s proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) technology, providing both the performance and features required by the intensive workloads common in high performance computing and workstation environments.

The RevoDrive 3 provides unique benefits to users by incorporating features from the VCA 2.0 flash virtualization software that allow certain direct memory access (DMA) and data management functions. Included in this feature-set are OCZ’s exclusive command queuing and queue balancing algorithms, which can be handled by the onboard processing core for higher performance and reduced burden on the host resources. VCA 2.0 is also the only virtualization layer in the industry with TRIM and SCSI unmap support to enhance sustained performance and provide greater endurance by significantly reducing the overhead associated with garbage collection. Furthermore, VCA also offers consolidated SMART support and provides system administrators with advanced features for monitoring, analyzing, and reporting device attributes.

“OCZ RevoDrive 3 PCIe SSDs use our VCA 2.0 technology to deliver superior performance and functionality for everything from scientific computing to high availability clustering,” said Daryl Lang, Vice President of Product Management of OCZ Technology. “This exciting new workstation-class storage product accelerates application performance and takes full advantage of today’s multithreaded processors and software, providing customers with greater throughput in an easy-to-deploy, single card solution.”

With its all-new architecture, the RevoDrive 3 shatters its predecessor’s performance record and is faster than comparable solutions that are up to ten times the price. Available in two different models, the Revo3 delivers up to 1.5GB/s of bandwidth and up to 230,000 IOPS (4K random write) under HPC or workstation workloads with a single-card solution. Additionally, the Revo3 X2 960GB offers ample capacity for users in media development and management looking for more storage room.

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OCZ Elevates Enterprise Solid-State Storage with 2nd Gen. of Proprietary Controller Architecture

Subject: Storage | July 5, 2011 - 10:54 AM |
Tagged: ocz, superscale, VCA, ssd

SAN JOSE, CA—July 5, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ),a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the release of the second generation of its proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA). Leveraged in OCZ’s PCI-Express (PCIe) and SAS SSD solutions for workstation, enterprise, and OEM clients, VCA 2.0 supports a rich enterprise feature-set enabling unprecedented flexibility, increased performance, and the reliability required for high throughput storage systems.

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“OCZ’s proprietary VCA technology is the next step in the evolution of virtualization layers for solid state storage. VCA 2.0 enables industry-leading configurable performance aggregation along with a rich enterprise feature set not found on competitive products,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. “With its scalable performance, TRIM and SCSI unmap support, and enhanced management tools, VCA 2.0 provides superior reliability and superior performance, in a plethora of OCZ’s easy-to-deploy storage solutions.”

Building on the company’s first generation VCA technology, which was originally deployed in OCZ’s Z-Drive R3 PCIe and Talos SAS SSDs, VCA 2.0 provides even greater enterprise flash management features. In OCZ’s enterprise PCIe devices, VCA 2.0 supports the creation of a virtual pool of logical units (LUNs) and features best-in-class configurable performance aggregation, simplifying data management without impacting performance, to provide clients with an easily deployable total solution. VCA 2.0 is the only virtualization layer in the industry with TRIM and SCSI unmap support, which enhances the sustained performance by significantly reducing the overhead associated with garbage collection.

Additionally, VCA 2.0’s user-selectable data recovery and non-stop modes allow for unprecedented data protection, while consolidated SMART support provides system administrators with advanced features for monitoring, analyzing, and reporting device attributes. Unlike other flash virtualization layers, VCA 2.0 also supports complete power fail protection. In the event of unexpected system power loss, OCZ’s enterprise power fail protection completes all in-progress transactions, protecting the integrity of all active data.

When combined with OCZ’s SuperScale storage controller, VCA 2.0 provides unique benefits to users by allowing certain direct memory access (DMA) and data management functions, including OCZ’s unique command queuing and queue balance algorithms, to be handled by the onboard processing core. This results in higher performance and reduces the burden on the host CPU.

VCA 2.0 technology will become available with the launch of OCZ’s upcoming workstation and enterprise-class PCIe SSDs, including the RevoDrive 3 and Z-Drive R4. IT and datacenter administrators looking to learn more about the technology, or OCZ’s SSD offerings should visit http://ocztechnology.com.