With the arrival of NVv4 instances for Microsoft Azure, decision-makers in many industries, education and government are asking themselves whether cloud-based virtualized desktops can meet their stringent requirements, both in terms of high productivity and financial feasibility.
With the further announcement of NVv4 being successfully tested and recommended by Esri for its flagship ArcGIS Pro applications, the answer is now a clear, yes! After undergoing rigorous testing and detailed evaluation, IT managers and users have the assurance of reliability they need to take their trusted workstation and desktop working environments to the Cloud. This verification and validation is critical because it provides affirmation that NVv4 has been carefully evaluated by Esri to ensure that it is fully optimized to meet the expectations of Esri users and that they can rely on a fully vendor supported solution
So what is NVv4?
NVv4 instances for Azure are virtualization solutions that use the power of 2nd generation AMD EPYC processors and Radeon Instinct GPUs from the Cloud. The close, balanced interplay between these resources is the key to making affordable, fully cloud-based desktop environments capable of addressing the computing needs of a wide variety of workers, from those using everyday office productivity applications to full-blown high-performance workstation tools.
The Opportunity for Esri Workflows
Complex GIS (Geographic Information System) software such as ArcGIS Pro requires GPU support to deliver a smooth, reliable user experience. However, not all applications or use cases can make use of the capabilities of a complete server GPU. In the past, this has been a limiting factor to mass adoption as the only available option was to dedicate an entire server GPU in Azure to each user’s GPU (16GB). This was an inefficient and costly approach. While the most demanding visualization power users, data analysts or geophysicists may very well require an NVv4 option of a full, dedicated GPU to support their workflow, a desktop user viewing and modifying data may only require one-eighth of a GPU (2GB) to have a great experience from the Cloud..
One of the significant innovations found in NVv4 is fractional GPU capability. Made possible by AMD’s implementation of SR-IOV technology in its AMD Radeon Instinct GPUs, fractional GPU means that individual AMD GPUs in Azure can be shared among multiple users. With NVv4, each individual user enjoys an experience comparable to that which they would expect from a locally installed GPU, even when the GPU they access is shared among multiple users. Hardware resources are physically isolated, separating each VM from others even when a GPU is shared, which helps ensure security within the environment. Optimizations resulting from the collaborative effort of Microsoft, Esri, and AMD further underpin the powerful experience for the user.
With demand for validated remote and home working solutions rising, Esri have released a number of resources documenting their support for the NVv4 instances including a detailed whitepaper, “ArcGIS Pro Virtualization” and a collection of resources targeted at Higher Education including architectures to support remote working and online classes and labs, as well as on campus, “Virtualization of ArcGIS from the Cloud and On-Premise platforms to support Higher Education”
Esri have release a detail guide to the performance, functionality and benchmarking tests they performed upon NVv4 alongside resource planning advice to aid those wanting to choose between NVv4 for specific use cases on their own site, see “ArcGIS Pro on the Azure NVv4-series”
Esri testing and endorsement may rewrite the rules that dictate where and how people work. Even the most demanding application requirements can be addressed from wherever the user is located and using whatever device is available to them. One need no longer be shackled to high-performance workstations: engineers, geologists, data analysts and data visualization experts can access their Esri tools whenever and wherever work or life takes them.
For more resources:
- NVv4 Microsoft GA blog: Link
- NVv4 pricing: Link
- com/Nvv4: Link
- NVv4 for Education: Link
- NVv4 for Design and Manufacturing: Link
- NVv4 for Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC): Link
- ESRI NVv4 blog: Link
- ESRI in higher education: Link
George Watkins is a Product Marketing Manager for AMD. His postings are his 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.