Everything you need to know about GPU virtualization

Last updated:October 2015

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Editor's note

Virtual desktop infrastructure is a great way to deliver desktops and apps to workers, but in the past, it's only been viable if those workers use applications that don't rely on complex graphics or video rendering.

VDI is not ideal for delivering the type of performance power users need to accomplish work with apps that display complex graphics. That's where virtual graphics processing unit (vGPU) cards come in. A vGPU renders the graphics on a back-end server rather than on the actual endpoint device. As a result, the server expends the resources to deliver graphics instead of the laptop, PC or mobile device the user is running. The device will run more smoothly because it can focus on CPU.

Use this comprehensive guide to determine if GPU virtualization is right for your organization. Discover the value of vGPUs, how this technology works and the product options from companies such as VMware and Citrix.

1Evaluate GPU virtualization technologies

As with most technologies, picking the right product is key to successfully implementing GPU virtualization. Nvidia and AMD are the top two vGPU card manufacturers, with Nvidia's GRID graphics card standing above the competition. Citrix and VMware are the dominant players that support Nvidia's technology. Citrix's XenDesktop GRID vGPU feature offers pass-through support on XenServer 6.2 with Service Pack 1. VMware's three products for GPU acceleration are Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration (vDGA), Virtual Shared Graphics Acceleration (vSGA) and Soft 3D. Each one addresses a different level of graphics performance needs.

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