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Nvidia Offers Virtual GPU Discounts, Free Trial As VDI Demand Grows

'You're going to see licensing for VDI and instances of VDI going through the roof,' one Nvidia partner says of the jump in demand for virtual desktop infrastructure solutions like Nvidia's GRID software as the chipmaker expands free trials and discounts for customers.

Nvidia is offering multiple discounts and an expanded free trial of the chipmaker's virtual GPU solutions as the work-from-home movement accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic has fueled demand for virtual desktop infrastructure solutions.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company announced on Tuesday that it has expanded its free, 90-day trial of its virtual GPU solutions from 128 to 500 licenses, significantly increasing the number employees within an organization that can have free access for three months.

[Related: How Channel Partners Can Support Coronavirus Research With Folding@Home]

The expanded trial — which is available for Nvidia's GRID, Quadro Virtual Data Center Workstation and Virtual Compute Server software — was announced the same day Nvidia CFO Collette Kress said in an investor call that the influx of workers moving into home offices has driven demand for virtual GPU solutions as well as the company's mobile GPUs that go into laptops.

"Work from home is really driving our laptop business, which is influencing not only just mobile laptops but also in terms of our virtual GPU business," she said.

An Nvidia spokesperson told CRN that the company is offering discounts for its virtual GPU solutions, including a new volume discount for Nvidia's GRID VDI software introduced this month that lowers the threshold for the number of licenses needed to receive the discounted rate.

The company also has volume discounts for large deployments of Quadro Virtual Data Center Workstation. In addition, the company has special pricing for education users, offering $99 per user license for GRID or Quadro Virtual Data Center Workstation.

While the expanded free trial was introduced this month in reaction to the surge in work-from-home activity, the new volume discount for GRID was previously planned, according to Nvidia.

"We planned to do this before the current crisis, but accelerated roll out when it became clear that it could help," Anne Hecht, Nvidia's senior director of product marketing for virtualization, said in a statement to CRN.

Mike Trojecki, vice president of digital solutions and services at New York-based Nvidia partner Logicalis, told CRN that his company is planning to include Nvidia's GRID VDI software in Logicalis' Rapid Deployment Services, which is designed to quickly enable remote work capabilities for clients.

A crucial part of the services package, which was developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, is the use of free or discounted software licenses for a variety of tools from vendors like Cisco, Nvidia and Microsoft, according to Trojecki.

"Our sincere thought process behind this is, let's help get people working remotely," he said.

Trojecki said he expects the new wave of home office workers to drive an "explosion" in demand for VDI solutions like Nvidia's GRID software.

"You're going to see licensing for VDI and instances of VDI going through the roof," he said.

There are multiple reasons VDI solutions like Nvidia's GRID software are appealing in remote work environments, according to Trojecki. One is security. Because GRID serves up virtualized desktop instances, a bad actor wouldn't be able to download or extract files from the system. Patch management is also easier, eliminating the need to roll out patches to individual PCs.

"You can manage security from a single point," he said.

Secondly, Nvidia's GRID solution, in particular, can offer higher performance over other VDI solutions and regular desktop or laptop setups, Trojecki said.

"It's an incredible performance increase, saving people time and frustration waiting for files to download or render," he said.

While Logicalis' Rapid Deployment Services are designed to help the company's clients quickly respond to social distancing mandates prompted by the coronavirus mandate, Trojecki said he thinks the current crisis will set the stage for a new era of remote work.

"We're going to see this change the entire face of what a knowledge worker does," he said. "I think people are going to realize we're going to be able to survive with these people working from home and not from an office."

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