Graphics-accelerated virtual desktops in education – a boost for the user’s virtual workspace

In education there is more than just the basic task worker workloads such as Office. Students and faculty users have an increasing demand for multimedia content and heavier graphic applications in their daily digital learning requirements – this is where our VDI setup has to keep pace and deliver the best user experience possible. Our goal is that the user will see no difference between his virtual and physical workspace.

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With the release of Windows 10 and Server 2016 we are planning to upgrade our existing Citrix XenDekstop based VDI environment. At the same time we are testing how GPU would improve the user experience since more and more applications and the new operating systems itself can benefit from GPU acceleration.

Our students and faculty access the virtual desktops and a wide variety of published apps, including some CAD applications and tools for image editing from different types of endpoints. There are Linux driven Thin Clients, private and corporate Windows and Mac Clients as well as many ChromeBooks and different mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

For our proof of concept we opted for the new NVIDA Tesla M10 in conjunction with the GRID 2.0 Virtual PC licenses. For the hypervisor we will use XenServer 7 (included with our XenDesktop licensing) on a Dell PowerEdge R730xd with two 10-core Xeon CPUs and 384 GB RAM. This high density setup will allow us to deliver up to 64 vGPU accelerated virtual desktops to our users.

In education there is more than just the basic task worker workloads such as Office. Students and faculty users have an increasing demand for multimedia content and heavier graphic applications in their daily digital learning requirements – this is where our VDI setup has to keep pace and deliver the best user experience possible. Our goal is that the user will see no difference between his virtual and physical workspace.


This text was originally written as an input for a blog post by NGCA member Tobias Kreidl about how NVIDIA empowers education through GPU virtualization. Tobias shares his experiences implementing NVIDIA GRID at Northern Arizona University. To illustrate the diversity in the directions educational institutions are moving towards, Tobias has solicited input from a few selected institutions. I feel honored to have played a small part in contributing to it.

GRID Community Perspective – Part I: https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2016/11/02/ngca-perspective-how-nvidia-empowers-education-through-grid/

GRID Community Perspective – Part II: https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2016/11/09/ngca-perspective-how-nvidia-empowers-education-through-grid-part2/

 

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