Part 1 – nVIDIA GRID Offerings – quick reference

As you may already be seeing lots of information flowing around in the internet around the GRID virtualization solution delivered by nVIDIA, there have been some quick and significant changes (improvements) over the last few years around the GRID virtualization offerings from nVIDIA GRID integration with VMware, Citrix and Microsoft for the Blast Extreme/PCoIP, HDX/3D Pro and RemoteFX protocol respectively, to deliver Graphics accelerated virtual apps and desktops. Per my opinion, out of the three leading vendors, VMware and Citrix have been aggressive in their commitment compared to Microsoft. However it may be aggressive with the introduction of Windows Server 2016 architecture and beyond.

Having said that, I thought why not just put together a quick reference of the three primary GRID Card offerings from nVIDIA, their use-cases, vGPU profiles, licensing and other requirements. This may come handy for the Sales and the Pre-Sales team to basically engage with their customer base to identify the needs of User Experience at its highest quality apart from the graphics intensive apps & desktop virtualization.

Important Note (Disclaimer): Please be aware while reading this that many of the features, functionalities may not have been tested, validated and thus may change from real-time results. Therefore, I strongly recommend you to leverage (as applicable) the official documentation, whitepaper and blogs from nVIDIA, Citrix, VMware and Microsoft or other reliable sources, as there are continuous changes and updates are being released constantly. Few of the important official documentation are listed in the references section at the bottom of this blog.

  GRID Solution Matrix with VMware, Citrix and Microsoft

GRID Software Editions
 Features & Components GRID Virtual Application (vApp) GRID Virtual PC (vPC) GRID Virtual WorkStation (vWS)
nVIDIA GPU cards supported Tesla M10 (User


Tesla M60 (Performance-Optimized) Tesla M6 (Blade-


Remoting App & Desktop solutions supported XenApp, Horizon Hosted Apps (RDSH/ThinApp) XenDesktop, Horizon View/vSGA, RemoteFX, vDGA Workstation PCs with GPU passthrough, High-end VDI (desktop OS)
Use-cases or user profiles Knowledge/task worker Business/Power User/Medium 3D worker High-end & powerful Designers / 3D app users
Client OS supported N/A Windows Windows/Linux
Maximum Displays N/A 4 4
Maximum Resolution N/A 2560×1600 4096×2160 (4K)
CUDA & OpenCL Supported Yes (only on 8GB 1:1 profiles i.e. M10-8A and M10-8Q) Yes (only on 8GB 1:1 profiles i.e. M60-8A and M60-8Q) Yes (only on 8GB 1:1 profiles i.e. M6-8A and M6-8Q)
DirectX 12, Direct2D, and DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) Yes Yes Yes
OpenGL 4.5 Yes Yes Yes
NVIDIA GRID SDK (remote graphics acceleration) Yes Yes Yes
GPU Pass-through Supported Yes (only on 8GB 1:1 profiles) Yes (only on 8GB 1:1 profiles)
Bare-Metal Supported Yes (Only NVIDIA Tesla M6 Hardware supported as primary display device) Yes (Only NVIDIA Tesla M6 Hardware supported as primary display device)
GRID Card Technical Specifications
GPU Card Tesla M10 Tesla M60 Tesla M6
OEM hardware consideration designed for rack and tower servers, optimized for maximum user density per host designed for rack and tower servers, optimized for performance designed for blade servers and converged
Number of GPUs Quad Mid-Level Maxwell Dual High-End Maxwell Single High-End Maxwell
Total NVIDIA CUDA®Cores 2,560 (640 per GPU) 4,096 (2,048 per GPU) 1,536
Total Memory Size 32 GB GDDR5 (8 GB per GPU) 16 GB GDDR5 (8 GB per GPU) 8 GB GDDR5
Max vGPU Instances 64 32 16
Max Power 225 W 300 W 100 W
Form Factor PCIe 3.0 Dual Slot (rack) PCIe 3.0 Dual Slot (rack) MXM (blade)
Board Dimensions 10.5″ x 4.4″ 10.5″ x 4.4″ 3.2″ x 4.1″
Cooling Solution Passive Passive / Active Bare Board
GRID Licensing Model – Concurrent User (CCU)
Licence Type – Option 1 Perpetual (one-time) + SUMS* (first year mandatory)
Licence Type – Option 2 Annual Subscription – pay as you go (yearly renewal)
License Entitlement vApps vPC + vApps (mixed environment) vWS + vApps (mixed environment)
*Support, Updates, and Maintenance Subscriptions (SUMS) ensures that you have 24×7 access to technical support, along with timely software patches, updates, and upgrades. SUMS is included in your NVIDIA GRID software subscription, but is a required one-year add-on if you choose a perpetual license. NVIDIA GRID K1 and K2 GPUs do not require a license to run vGPU.
License Bundle Inclusions
GPU Card Tesla M10 Tesla M60 Tesla M6
Graphics drivers – Windows
Graphics drivers – Windows/Linux Baremetal, Pass-through and vGPU drivers
GRID vGPU host software
VMware vSGA driver
Tesla iromflsh
gpumodeswitch tool for
graphics/compute mode
NVIDIA License Manager
1 GRID Virtual App
Edition for RDSH App
NVIDIA GRID Certified Servers
GPU Card Tesla M10 Tesla M60 Tesla M6
NVIDIA Certified Server Compatibility URL Tesla M10 Tesla M60 Tesla M6
Manufacturer ASRock Rack
ASRock Rack
Amulet Hotkey

nVIDIA GRID Profiles & Configuration Matrix

GRID GPU Profile and Configuration Matrix

GRID GPU Profile and Configuration Matrix

API, Open-source programming Language Support Matrix for GRID with VMware, Citrix and Microsoft

GRID – API Support Matrix

Important Notes from above table:
*vSGA is supported only by Horizon
*GPU pass-through requires special hypervisor enablement which is available in VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) and Citrix XenServer.
*Windows Server 2016 supports NVIDIA GPU pass-through with Discrete Device Assignment (DDA).


nVIDIA GRID licensing, Packaging and User Guides

VMware GPU References

(Note: The reference architecture refers to K1/K2 cards, therefore considering the latest updates and changes, refer to the latest release notes of Horizon View 7.x and nVIDIA GRID M6/10/60 guides)

VMware Terminologies for Virtual GPU solutions

  • NVIDIA GRID vGPU (shared GPU hardware acceleration) Available with vSphere 6.0 and later, this feature allows a physical GPU on an ESXi host to be shared among virtual machines. This feature offers flexible hardware-accelerated 3D profiles ranging from lightweight 3D task workers to high-end workstation graphics power users.
  • Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration (vDGA) Available with vSphere 5.5 and later, this feature dedicates a single physical GPU on an ESXi host to a single virtual machine. Use this feature if you require high-end, hardware-accelerated workstation graphics.
  • Virtual Shared Graphics Acceleration (vSGA) Available with vSphere 5.1 and later, this feature allows multiple virtual machines to share the physical GPUs on ESXi hosts. This feature is suitable for mid-range 3D design, modeling, and multimedia applications.
  • Soft 3D Software-accelerated graphics, available with vSphere 5.0 and later, allows you to run DirectX 9 and OpenGL 2.1 applications without requiring a physical GPU. Use this feature for less demanding 3D applications such as Windows Aero themes, Microsoft Office 2010, and Google Earth.

VMware VMotion Capability: Because NVIDIA GRID vGPU and vDGA use PCI pass-through on the ESXi host, live VMotion is not supported. vSGA and Soft 3D support live VMotion.

Microsoft GPU References

Note: Based on my search online, there are not proper official documentation by Microsoft on RemoteFX, GRID or otherwise. And the blogs are quite old and relies mostly on results gathered from various customer environment and user community.

Citrix GPU References

Notes from Citrix docs:

Support for NVIDIA Kepler architecture. HDX 3D Pro supports NVIDIA GRID cards (see NVIDIA GRID) for GPU pass-through and GPU sharing.

NVIDIA GRID vGPU enables multiple VMs to have simultaneous, direct access to a single physical GPU, using the same NVIDIA graphics drivers that are deployed on non-virtualized operating systems.

Support for VMware vSphere and VMware ESX using Virtual Direct Graphics Acceleration (vDGA) – You can use HDX 3D Pro with vDGA for both RDS and VDI workloads.


About cloudray

Predominantly based around Virtualization, but will include other technology related information and anything else I find interesting and feel the need to share with you. I also use this Blog as both a place to store useful information that I think that will come in handy to me at some point in the future, and also a place to help aid my learning. I find a great way to learn about something is to research about it and then write it up in my own words. I'm Pushpal Ray, from India. As a certified VCP3/4/5 professional, I am currently working as an Independent Consultant. Over 10 years of IT-industry experience, currently focused around the Desktop Virtualization(End-User Computing). I also have extensive experience in Windows Administration, Datacenter Migration, Workload profiling & benchmarking. At my leisure, I enjoy hiking, running, photography, spend hours in my fav coffee shop & spend quality time with my wife. Occasionally, catch up with few friends for a drink!
This entry was posted in Enterprise Virtualization and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Part 1 – nVIDIA GRID Offerings – quick reference

  1. A Great post! It would be nice if we could download matrixs above in Excel format.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s