Published 20 March 2013
Posted by Greg Corke
Nvidia today unveiled its GRID VCA (visual computing appliance), designed to put a virtual high-end 3D workstation into the hands of any user, on demand.
With this rack friendly machine, all you need is a Mac or PC, a network, and away you go.
The Nvidia GRID VCA is aimed at small to medium sized firms who don’t have the dedicated in-house IT skills required for workstation virtualisation.
Nvidia provides everything: the hardware and the software, including the hypervisor that creates the virtual machines, and the client software, which currently runs on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux, but will be available for the iPad and other devices soon.
With GRID VCA the idea is that CAD software runs on the host with only graphics output streamed to clients. According to Nvidia it gives users the same rich graphics experience they would get from a high-performance workstation under their desk.
One of the big attractions of workstation virtualization is the flexibility it gives design and engineering firms.
Designers can access a high performance workstation from anywhere in the office. Part time CAD users don’t need dedicated workstations. Managers, directors and other staff can view 3D PLM data on demand.
Bandwidth and latency permitting, virtual 3D workstations can also be accessed remotely, from home, overseas, or by contractors. All comes without having to move gigabytes of CAD data around, helping protect IP and reduce sync issues.
A single Nvidia GRID VCA can support up to 16 concurrent users, each of which is serviced by their own ‘virtual machine’.
Each virtual machine uses shared CPU and memory resources, but is assigned a dedicated Nvdia GRID GPU. In the coming months users will be able to share GPU resources, which should benefit entry-level to mid-range CAD users.
In terms of hardware the 4U rack chassis hosts two or four Intel Xeon CPUs, eight or sixteen Nvidia GRID GPUs and 192GB or 384GB RAM.
Prices start at $24,900, plus an annual software license of $2,400.
We’ll be taking a much more in-depth look at Nvidia GRID VCA soon.