A few months ago at Microsoft Ignite in the AMD booth, I had the opportunity to showcase the first GPU partitioned and shared instances (NVv4) available for Microsoft’s Azure cloud featuring the AMD Radeon Instinct MI25 accelerator, along with AMD’s other EUC (End User Computing) and data center products. News about the Microsoft and IGEL partnership relating to WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) also attracted interest from our Cloud, Citrix and related customers. Although WVD has been available in preview, no Linux-based WVD client had been available which resulted in increased interest in the IGEL offering. And at the recent Disrupt 2020 event, IGEL announced the first Linux client to support WVD. The Microsoft SDK that makes this integration possible has the potential to enable other thin-client vendors to offer their own solution.
While the use of AMD CPUs and server GPUs is well-known, AMD is also a major player in providing the CPU and graphics/GPU hardware within many of the most popular thin clients.
The joint IGEL and Microsoft announcement was particularly satisfying for me as it heavily featured IGEL’s flagship UD7 client targeted at graphical use cases which is built around AMD technologies. For example, the technical specifications for the UD7 client features the AMD Embedded RX-216GD 1.6 GHz (Dual-Core) up to 3.0 GHz (boost mode), system on a chip (SoC). With the option for an additional graphics card, the AMD Embedded Radeon™ E9173 discrete GPU can extend the UD7 to support the simultaneous use of up to four digital monitors at 60 Hz by DisplayPort (two in 4K and two in 2K). The flagship UD7 client also features IGEL’s latest security enhancements -- a benefit for scenarios when security is a concern for thin clients.
Last week at IGEL Disrupt Munich, a new version of the UD3 client was announced on BrianMadden.com. The UD3 is supported by a specially optimized AMD Ryzen Embedded R1505G that: uses less power (about 10 watts); features hardware optimizations for PCoIP (PC over IP) Ultra; and leverages the AMD Secure Processor feature checks to help assure the UEFI is signed by IGEL. The availability is expected May 2020, but in the meantime information currently exists about the specifications and IGEL solution architect blogs, including a blog by Fredrik Brattstig.
My role at AMD is largely associated with evaluating the performance of our Data Center and Cloud products including AMD Radeon Pro V340 and AMD Radeon Instinct MI25 server GPUs. The evaluations are conducted within the context of the protocols and EUC/VDI environments used in scenarios featuring Azure, RDP, Citrix, VMware, and Teradici. Most remoting protocols have a feature often referred to as “Back-pressure” – a process whereby the end-client is aware of whether it is keeping up with the server frame rate and alerts the server accordingly. It’s widely known that there’s no point churning out frames if the end-point can’t handle the rate. So it’s important to have a suitably powerful end-point that can become the most significant factor in the overall user experience. IGEL, supported by AMD solutions, has proved very popular, You can discover from IGEL about the use cases and features of the UD3 and UD7.
The IGEL and Microsoft partnership plus WVD support along the AMD enabled NVv4 Azure instances were all featured by the independent blogger, Bas Van Kaam. The recommended blog offers a suitable summary of Ignite and can be found here.
Now that these major events have concluded, I’m eager to get back in the AMD lab to “kick the tires” of WVD and the NVv4 Azure instances with the WVD supported IGEL UD7. My goal is to blog about my findings, but I’m eager to discover others’ experiences with thin clients, especially if there are additional factors for consideration. If you want to try out NVv4 with WVD, I recommend a useful video guide available from Microsoft’s Stefan Georgiev on YouTube.
Joe DaSilva is a Cloud Graphics Solutions Architect for AMD. His/her postings are his/her own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.