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In a press release last week, NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA ) announced the latest expansion of its cloud-based graphics services with the integration of its GRID virtual GPU into Citrix's (NASDAQ: CTXS ) XenDesktop 7.
So what, exactly, does this mean?
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Citrix provides intuitive cloud and networking technologies, including popular solutions such as GoToMeeting and CloudPortal, and virtualization solutions including XenApp, XenDesktop, and XenServer.
XenDesktop, for its part, gives IT departments an intuitive, secure way to provide central access to Windows apps and desktops as a mobile "on-demand service for any user, anywhere, and on any device."
However, for anyone who has ever tried to run a remote desktop session using any given virtualization client, you're probably aware that remote graphics are typically less than satisfactory.
After all, given the large amount of data required to stream display information across a simple network connection, users have simply grown accustomed to dealing with jumpy, unresponsive screens while using virtual desktops over the years. As NVIDIA puts it, "the user experience until now had been constrained by the subpar performance and limited compatibility of software-emulated graphics."
That's exactly where the bright minds at NVIDIA come into play. Through their GRID vGPU, multiple XenDesktop users can now "directly access the graphics processing power of a single GPU."
But seeing is believing, right? So take a look, then, at the performance increase realized through NVIDIA's GRID vGPU for designers using SolidWorks 3D CAD software through XenDesktop:
To be sure, the difference couldn't be more apparent, and it's hard to imagine a scenario in cases like this where the productivity increases alone wouldn't quickly pay for the added cost of using GRID vGPUs.
Larger by the day
But don't lose sight of the bigger picture, either; this news is yet another step toward NVIDIA's longer-term goal of making GRID an ever-present part of our everyday lives.
As I noted in March, NVIDIA's new rack-mountable Visual Computing Appliance should go a long way toward winning the hearts of IT departments in the substantial small and medium business segment. Better yet, NVIDIA also has huge cloud-based plans to use GRID to permeate the $68 billion gaming market, starting with the Project Shield mobile gaming device.
In the end, given the world's increasing reliance on virtualized software along with our simultaneous insistence on decent graphics, it's a safe bet solutions like these are just the tip of the iceberg for NVIDIA.
Personally, this stands as yet another of many reasons I plan on holding my shares of NVIDIA for a very, very long time.
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