Nvidia Unveils Grid VCA Virtual GPU-Based Workstation For SMBs


NVIDIA GRID Visual Computing Appliance
NVIDIA GRID Visual Computing Appliance

Nvidia on Tuesday unveiled new technology aimed at making high-end GPU-based graphics workstation performance available to any Windows, Linux or Mac users over a corporate network.

With the company's new Nvidia Grid Visual Computing Appliance, or VCA, users can create a virtual GPU-based graphics workstation with which their client devices can interact to get workstation-like performance for applications from such vendors as Adobe Systems, Autodesk and Dassault Systemes, the company said.

The VCA, which is expected to be available starting in May from Nvidia solution providers, is a 4U appliance that can be ordered in one of two versions.

[Related: Nvidia Unleashes Tesla GPUs For Supercomputing]

The entry model features 8 GPUs with up to 32 GB of GPU memory and up to 192 GB of system memory to provide Nvidia Quadro-class graphics performance support for up to eight concurrent users. The advanced model features 16 GPUs, up to 64 GB of GPU memory, and up to 384 GB of system memory to support up to 16 concurrent users. Both models also include Intel processors.

The Nvidia Grid VCA is targeted at small and midsize businesses that need access to applications from such vendors as Adobe, Autodesk and Dassault but that cannot afford dedicated graphics workstations, Nvidia said. Vendors whose applications can be accessed via the Nvidia Grid VCA provide certification and support for their applications.

Employees of such companies can click on an icon to create a virtual machine called a "workspace" that provides the same functionality as dedicated GPU-based systems but with the ability add, delete or reallocate as needed, the company said.

Data used by the Nvidia Grid VCA sits on a NAS appliance, not in the VCA itself, to provide data security, the company said.

Nvidia Co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang formally unveiled the Nvidia Grid VCA at the company's GPU Technology Conference, held this week in San Jose, Calif.

Huang, in a prepared statement, called the Nvidia Grid VCA the first solution for demand visual computing.

"Design firms, film studios and other businesses can now give their creative teams access to graphics-intensive applications with uncompromised performance, flexibility and simplicity," Huang said.

The Nvidia VCA is slated to be priced starting at $24,900 per appliance with an annual software license fee of $2,400.

PUBLISHED MARCH 19, 2013