Subject: Graphics Cards | February 3, 2016 - 07:37 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: virtual machines, virtual graphics, mxgpu, gpu virtualization, firepro, amd
AMD made an interesting enterprise announcement today with the introduction of new FirePro S-Series graphics cards that integrate hardware-based virtualization technology. The new FirePro S1750 and S1750 x2 are aimed at virtualized workstations, render farms, and cloud gaming platforms where each virtual machine has direct access to the graphics hardware.
The new graphics cards use a GCN-based Tonga GPU with 2,048 stream processors paired with 8GB of ECC GDDR5 memory on the single slot FirePro S1750. The dual slot FirePro S1750 x2, as the name suggests, is a dual GPU card that features a total of 4,096 shaders (2,048 per GPU) and 16 GB of ECC GDDR5 (8 GB per GPU). The S1750 has a TDP of 150W while the dual-GPU S1750 x2 variant is rated at 265W and either can be passively cooled.
Where the graphics cards get niche is the inclusion of what AMD calls MxGPU (Multi-User GPU) technology which is derived from the SR-IOV (Single Root Input/Output Virtualization) PCI-Express standard. According to AMD, the new FirePro S-Series allows virtual machines direct access to the full range of GPU hardware (shaders, memory, ect.) and OpenCL 2.0 support on the software side. The S1750 supports up to 16 simultaneous users and the S1750 x2 tops out at 32 users. Each virtual machine is allocated an equal slice of the GPU, and as you add virtual machines the equal slices get smaller. AMD’s solution to that predicament is to add more GPUs to spread out the users and allocate each VM more hardware horsepower. It is worth noting that AMD has elected not to charge companies any per-user licensing fees for all these VMs the hardware supports which should make these cards more competitive.
The graphics cards use ECC memory to correct errors when dealing with very large numbers and calculations and every VM is reportedly protected and isolated such that one VM can not access any data of a different VM stored in graphics memory.
I am interested to see how these stack up compared to NVIDIA’s GRID and VGX GPU virtualization specialized graphics cards. The difference between the software versus hardware-based virtualization may not make much difference, but AMD’s approach may be every so slightly more efficient with the removal of layer between the virtual machine and hardware. We’ll have to wait and see, however.
Enterprise users will be able to pick up the new cards installed in systems from server manufacturers sometime in the first half of 2016. Pricing for the cards themselves appears to be $2,399 for the single GPU S1750 and $3,999 for the dual GPU S1750 x2.
Needless to say, this is all a bit more advanced (and expensive!) than the somewhat finicky 3D acceleration option desktop users can turn on in VMWare and VirtualBox! Are you experimenting with remote workstations and virtual machines for thin clients that can utilize GPU muscle? Does AMD’s MxGPU approach seem promising?
Subject: Shows and Expos | May 15, 2012 - 08:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: NVIDIA VGX, nvidia, GTC 2012, virtual graphics, virtual machine
One of the more interesting announcements so far at the GTC has been NVIDIA's wholehearted leap into desktop virtualization with NVIDIA VGX series of add on cards. Not really a graphics card and more specialized than the Tesla, GPU VDI will give you a GPU accelerated virtual machine. If you are wondering why you would need that consider a VM which can handle an Aero desktop and stream live HD video where the processing power comes not from the CPU but from a virtual GPU. They've partnered it with Hypervisor which can integrate with existing VM platforms to provide virtual GPU control as well as another piece of software which allows you to pick and choose what graphics resources your users get.
SAN JOSE, Calif.—GPU Technology Conference—May 15, 2012—NVIDIA today unveiled the NVIDIA VGX platform, which enables IT departments to deliver a virtualized desktop with the graphics and GPU computing performance of a PC or workstation to employees using any connected device.
With the NVIDIA VGX platform in the data center, employees can now access a true cloud PC from any device – thin client, laptop, tablet or smartphone – regardless of its operating system, and enjoy a responsive experience for the full spectrum of applications previously only available on an office PC.
NVIDIA VGX enables knowledge workers for the first time to access a GPU-accelerated desktop similar to a traditional local PC. The platform’s manageability options and ultra-low latency remote display capabilities extend this convenience to those using 3D design and simulation tools, which had previously been too intensive for a virtualized desktop.
Integrating the VGX platform into the corporate network also enables enterprise IT departments to address the complex challenges of “BYOD” – employees bringing their own computing device to work. It delivers a remote desktop to these devices, providing users the same access they have on their desktop terminal. At the same time, it helps reduce overall IT spend, improve data security and minimize data center complexity.
“NVIDIA VGX represents a new era in desktop virtualization,” said Jeff Brown, general manager of the Professional Solutions Group at NVIDIA. “It delivers an experience nearly indistinguishable from a full desktop while substantially lowering the cost of a virtualized PC.”
The NVIDIA VGX platform is part of a series of announcements NVIDIA is making today at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC), all of which can be accessed in the GTC online press room.
The VGX platform addresses key challenges faced by global enterprises, which are under constant pressure both to control operating costs and to use IT as a competitive edge that allows their workforces to achieve greater productivity and deliver new products faster. Delivering virtualized desktops can also minimize the security risks inherent in sharing critical data and intellectual property with an increasingly internationalized workforce.
NVIDIA VGX is based on three key technology breakthroughs:
- NVIDIA VGX Boards. These are designed for hosting large numbers of users in an energy-efficient way. The first NVIDA VGX board is configured with four GPUs and 16 GB of memory, and fits into the industry-standard PCI Express interface in servers. ·
- NVIDIA VGX GPU Hypervisor. This software layer integrates into commercial hypervisors, such as the Citrix XenServer, enabling virtualization of the GPU.
- NVIDIA User Selectable Machines (USMs). This manageability option allows enterprises to configure the graphics capabilities delivered to individual users in the network, based on their demands. Capabilities range from true PC experiences available with the NVIDIA standard USM to enhanced professional 3D design and engineering experiences with NVIDIA Quadro or NVIDIA NVS GPUs.
The NVIDIA VGX platform enables up to 100 users to be served from a single server powered by one VGX board, dramatically improving user density on a single server compared with traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions. It sharply reduces such issues as latency, sluggish interaction and limited application support, all of which are associated with traditional VDI solutions.
With the NVIDIA VGX platform, IT departments can serve every user in the organization – from knowledge workers to designers – with true PC-like interactive desktops and applications.
NVIDIA VGX Boards
NVIDIA VGX boards are the world’s first GPU boards designed for data centers. The initial NVIDIA VGX board features four GPUs, each with 192 NVIDIA CUDA architecture cores and 4 GB of frame buffer. Designed to be passively cooled, the board fits within existing server-based platforms.
The boards benefit from a range of advancements, including hardware virtualization, which enables many users who are running hosted virtual desktops to share a single GPU and enjoy a rich, interactive graphics experience; support for low-latency remote display, which greatly reduces the lag currently experienced by users; and, redesigned shader technology to deliver higher power efficiency.
NVIDIA VGX GPU Hypervisor
The NVIDIA VGX GPU Hypervisor is a software layer that integrates into a commercial hypervisor, enabling access to virtualized GPU resources. This allows multiple users to share common hardware and ensure virtual machines running on a single server have protected access to critical resources. As a result, a single server can now economically support a higher density of users, while providing native graphics and GPU computing performance.
This new technology is being integrated by leading virtualization companies, such as Citrix, to add full hardware graphics acceleration to their full range of VDI products.
NVIDIA User Selectable Machines
NVIDIA USMs allow the NVIDIA VGX platform to deliver the advanced experience of professional GPUs to those requiring them across an enterprise. This enables IT departments to easily support multiple types of users from a single server.
USMs allow better utilization of hardware resources, with the flexibility to configure and deploy new users’ desktops based on changing enterprise needs. This is particularly valuable for companies providing infrastructure as a service, as they can repurpose GPU-accelerated servers to meet changing demand throughout the day, week or season.
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 9, 2011 - 09:08 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: virtual graphics, tesla, quadro, project maximus, nvidia
It's that time of year again, SIGGRAPH is upon us. The same graphics showcase that brings oohs and ahhs over the latest in ray tracing generated graphics each year has seen NVIDIA bring multi-GPU, scalable Tesla computing power and professional graphics for mobile devices delivered using the Internet at SIGGRAPH 2011. The multi-GPU and cloud based graphics technologies have been dubbed Project Maximus and Virtual Graphics respectively.
According to Engadget, Project Maximus sees NVIDIA opting to recommend a lower end Quadro card and combining it with an almost infinitely scalable Tesla powered cluster. The light Quadro card would handle all of the graphics duties in displaying the desktop and applications' output while the attached Tesla processors would be responsible for handling all of the underlying computationally intensive calculations. This option will be especially interesting for businesses and professional designers as they will be able to allocate to each user only the power they need to get the job done, and future upgrade-ability would improve by allowing more Tesla processors to be added as opposed to a whole graphics system overhaul. Engadget quoted NVIDIA in further clarifying that in some programs, "better performance is achieved by adding a Tesla companion processor, as opposed to scaling up the primary Quadro graphics. Users still require as much graphics as possible."
Virtual Graphics on the other hand is NVIDIA's technology preview that aims to bring quality graphics to numerous devices so long as they have a solid internet connection. Much like onlive is able to stream games to low end computers, NVIDIA's virtual graphics technology seems to be pushing professional level graphics to mobile devices by using graphics card clusters based in the cloud to deliver much more graphical prowess than the mobile SoC (System on a Chip) graphics processors can provide alone. Branching off from Virtual Graphics technology is Project Monterrey, which is an initiative to bring NVIDIA Quadro level graphics on an application agnostic basis to any device capable of maintaining a solid internet connection.
Adobe and Autodesk have already signed on as software partners, and HP will be delivering a three GPU workstation later this year. More photos of the NVIDIA presentation are available over at Engadget.