NVIDIA cards for supercharged virtual desktops

The use of virtual desktops intended for production tool users as well as those working remotely have become democratized. These technologies are evolving rapidly to expand their uses, particularly in professions where intensive applications made migration a delicate process until now.

Recent technological advances are enabling professionals to take advantage of high performance virtual desktops linked to graphic cards for this specific use, like the NVIDIA K2, which is available at OVH and compatible with virtualization solutions offered by VMware and Citrix.

Here are some example use cases and their relative applications:

Design, with needs centered on software suites and the ability to manipulate 3D element such as SolidWorks, Autodesk Maya, and 3ds Max types.

Office power, office suite consumers including PowerPoint users and professionals which have the need to review the work of designers, for example in SolidWorks View.

Creative/Studio, which requires resources for photo/video centric content applications like Adobe Premiere Pro or Photoshop.

The K1 and K2, Kepler generation, provide allocated GPUs which are utilized in the form of vGPUs by virtual desktop solutions (see the box below). The K2 cards are already available on our Big HG servers, allowing customers to build virtual desktop infrastructures as well as work stations which have the power to run resource intensive applications.


Acronyms are used to make a distinction between, the “physical” part of the GPU – dedicated graphics processor – there can be several on the same graphics card (2 pGPU in the case of a K2 card) and the other ‘virtual’ part of the GPU – which is a portion of a pGPU – exploited via a virtualization solution and allocated to a virtual desktop based on the level of required performance.

The use of GPU cards permits many professions which were previously limited by applications requiring superior performance, to accelerate the adoption of virtual desktops.

Taking things even further, NVIDIA announced last summer at VMworld San Francisco, GRID 2.0, its latest solution dedicated to virtual desktops, which comes in two variety of cards, the M6 and the M60, and this time with Maxwell GPU architecture.

According to NVIDIA, this new generation permits a greater density of users per card.
Notably, one of the strong points of version 2.0 is its compatibility with Linux, which extends the scope of applications eligible for this technology.

These cards have also been developed in cooperation with VMware as well as with Citrix to maximize integration within their suites, Horizon 6 and XenDesktop, respectively and especially for passthrough, a technology which makes it possible for a virtual desktop infrastructure to harness the complete power of a physical GPU to render 2D or 3D graphics.


This feature permits a virtual machine or a virtual desktop to exploit a physical resource, in this case, a graphic processor, without having to go through the hypervisor. Thereby performance is enhanced due to the reduction of intermediaries that exchange data. This technology is used especially to access raw disks, PCI components, and USB devices.

Citrix and VMware solutions are already compliant with these cards and have communicated on their implementation and benefits: VMware Horizon and XenServer and XenDesktop.