What is vGPU?
GRID vGPU is a graphics acceleration technology from NVIDIA
that enables a single GPU to be shared among multiple virtual desktops. This technology allows graphics enabled
applications to utilize direct video drivers, much like a vDGA model, with much
higher compatibilities and enhanced performance than typically seen in a vSGA
environment. This is typically ideal for
companies with graphics intensive use cases, such as engineering and
healthcare, or even power users that require the use of heavy 2D and 3D
What are my other
options? vSGA and vDGA
VMware's vSGA (Virtual Shared Graphics Acceleration) is
shared graphics model that lets virtual desktops share GPUs so you can improve
graphics while keeping density’s higher and maintain lower cost. VMware’s vDGA (Virtual Dedicated Graphics
Acceleration) is where the hypervisor passes the GPUs to the virtual machines directly. The main advantage here is that the GPU is passed
through to the guest, and they can use regular NVIDIA drivers within the
virtual desktop. This also includes compatibilities
unavailable in the vSGA model such as all versions of DirectX and all version
You may be asking why wouldn’t I always go with a vDGA
model, the downside to vDGA is that it is costly. In a real world scenario, NVIDIA’s K1 and K2
cards only have four and two GPUs each, or four or two virtual desktops per
card when using vDGA. This is where vGPU
fills the gap between vSGA and vDGA. The
cost per desktop is exponentially increased when moving towards a vDGA model, and
in many cases making vDGA cost prohibitive for an abundance of reasons. While moving in the other direction vSGA is
much more budget friendly but often falls short in performance, vGPU fills this
gap and fills the void between high graphics performance VDI desktops and lower
For your reference the matrix for both the K1 and K2 GRID
cards is below. As you can see,
depending on the profile selected density is greatly increased for high
performing graphics desktops in a vGPU environment.
What's required for vGPU VDI Desktops?
With the release of VMware vSphere 6.0 and VMware Horizon
6.1 vGPU is now here for VMware datacenters.
In addition, GRID compatible servers are required, for example here is
the HP server datasheet
In summary, vGPU brings hardware-accelerated graphics to VDI
environments in a way that is much more cost effective. In turn allowing companies to implement a VDI
solution that is much more scalable, and economical, while at the same time still
delivering a graphic rich user experience.
Labels: Horizon, HP, VDI, vGPU, View, Vmware