Citrix XenDesktop 7.1 HDX 3D Pro on HP’s Moonshot ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted Desktop Infrastructure (HDI)
There’s been a lot of coverage of HP’s recently announced Moonshot based ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted Desktop Infrastructure (HDI) solution. Wow, I know, that’s a lot of acronyms. If you haven’t heard much about this solution, I recommend you check out a couple links, listed below:
Effective hosted desktops – HP ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted Desktops with Citrix XenDesktop
Less really can be more when it comes to desktop virtualization. 180 PC-on-a-Chip desktops
HP ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted Desktops
HP ProLiant m700 Server Cartridge
HP Moonshot System Family Guide
Now, after reading all of those guides, you should now be an expert on the cartridges that I’m about to show you. To summarize, each cartridge provides four (4) nodes capable of running Windows client Operating Systems (Win7, Win8.1, etc.) with the following characteristics:
- Processing: Quadcore CPU (4) x86 cores @ 1.5 GHz – AMD Opteron X2150 Accelerated Processing Unit (APU)
- Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 8400 Graphics adapter w/512MB memory (Read more here: Radeon HD 8400 Detailed Features Listing)
- Memory: 8GB memory per node – DDR3 PC3-12800 SDRAM (1600 Mhz)
- Network: Dual (2) Gigabit NICs with connectivity to (2) 180G internal switch and (2) 4 port 40GbE QSFP+ uplinks (320 Gbs of uplink bandwidth per chassis)
- Disk: 32GB SanDisk Internal SSD offering 1,000+ Peak IOPS based on 4KB workload (80% write/20% read, 100% random)
Disclaimer: My testing of the HP Moonshot CS100 using the HDX 3D Pro agent was performed independent of Citrix and HP. At this time the XenDesktop 7.1 Standard VDA is the only agent supported. The configuration I’ll show below using Windows 7 and the HDX 3D Pro VDA is unsupported at this time.
For my setup, I have two pools of desktops, both provided using Citrix Provisioning Services. One pool has the XenDesktop 7.1 Standard VDA and Hotfix XD710ICAWSWX64002 installed. The second pool has the XenDesktop 7.1 HDX 3D Pro VDA installed.
The following screenshots show various performance capabilities:
As you can see from these screenshots, the HDX 3D Pro VDA has some distinct advantages when compared to the Standard VDA with Hotfix XD710ICAWSWX64002 installed. They include:
– OpenGL v4.3 support (HDX 3D Pro), vs. v1.1 (Standard)
– OpenCL v1.2 support (Same between HDX 3D Pro and Standard VDA)
– DirectX DDI version v11 support (HDX 3D Pro), vs. v9Ex (Standard)
As Tony Sanchez demonstrated in his video Citrix XenDesktop powered by HP Moonshot and AMD the user experience using the standard VDA is pretty outstanding! However, there are a couple HDX 3D Pro capabilities that I’ve discovered it can’t do, even with the hotfix mentioned above. These include running the Unigine Tropics Demo using the DirectX 10, 11 or OpenGL APIs (DirectX 9 only), running the Redway3d Turbine Demo (uses OpenGL I suspect), PassMark PerformanceTest 3D graphics marks (except DirectX 9), and any other applications that rely on DirectX 10+ or OpenGL APIs (Solidworks, CAD, CAM).
Instead of posting a typical LAN based demo of the system with <1ms latency, I wanted to show a more realistic user experience, externally connected through NetScaler via the public internet with 30+ ms latency. I intend to follow these demos up with the same sequences at LAN speeds. However, I felt latency, bandwidth consumption, and frames per second were all important to showing the real-world application of the Standard VDA or HDX 3D Pro based solution. Obviously the user experience at lower latency will be much better, so stay tuned for future demos.
Unigine Tropics Demo of Standard VDA running DirectX 9, Shaders Low at 1365×768:
Unigine Tropics Demo of HDX 3D Pro VDA running DirectX 11, Shaders High at 1365×768:
Unigine Tropics Demo of HDX 3D Pro VDA running OpenGL, Shaders High at 1365×768:
Redengine Turbine Demo of HDX 3D Pro VDA:
Disclaimer: My testing of the HP Moonshot CS100 using the HDX 3D Pro agent was performed independent of Citrix and HP. At this time the XenDesktop 7.1 Standard VDA is the only agent supported. The configuration I’ve shown using Windows 7 and the HDX 3D Pro VDA is unsupported at this time.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or just want to leave feedback, please do so below. Thanks for reading!