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GPU-enabled NVv4 instances powering Oil & Gas industry

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The Oil and Gas sector places tremendous demand upon IT infrastructure. Extraction, mining, and drilling projects may cost billions, span multiple years, and are often geographically distributed. With the arrival of Microsoft Azure’s latest GPU-enabled NVv4 instances, oil and gas companies now have a new virtual desktop option that offers significant potential benefits to their workflows, productivity, and IT costs when considering how to address the breadth of their IT requirements.

At the high-end, these companies rely on some of the most demanding workloads in existence, processing massive datasets with 2D and 3D simulation and modelling software in order to plan and manage vast engineering sites, rigs, and construction projects. Combining AMD Radeon InstinctTM MI25 GPUs with up to 16GB of dedicated memory and 64-core AMD EPYCTM 7742 CPUs, NVv4 instances in Azure delivers virtual machines capable of reviewing, processing and analyzing large datasets while delivering workstation-class experiences from the Cloud.

NVv4 is a compelling new virtual desktop and workstation solution that enables geologists and engineers to prototype, scale, and adapt rapidly without the usual risks of long-term commitment or project changes that may render hardware and infrastructure decisions invalid. 

Oil and gas companies also rely on huge numbers of people using office applications, collaboration and communication software (such as Microsoft Teams, Jabber, Hangouts), PLM, SAP, and CRM systems. These applications require a small, but critical, amount of GPU processing to deliver a modern user experience. NVv4 fractional GPU capability makes it possible to support these use cases using virtual desktops, partitioning the GPU resources to satisfy performance, mobility, security, and budget requirements while addressing IT management and security requirements.

Let’s explore in detail some of the features and benefits NVv4 offers:

Secure Remote Access
Migrating workstation-class workloads and user access to the Cloud ensures data is centralized, managed, and secured. Application and graphical and compute processing all take place in the data center. Users receive only a stream of display pixels, protecting against scenarios such as losing a laptop loaded with sensitive data, data loss caused by the failure of local workstations, or viruses. Azure portal-based access removes the need for VPNs and other insecure security measures that can be compromised on an unmanaged endpoint.

Now, key user groups like geologists, engineers, project managers can access files at the office, on-site, or while at home or traveling. Geographically dispersed teams can collaborate on files confident that data is protected and that they’re all working on a single master file. Significantly, the NVv4 portfolio offers a range of performance options that can deliver rich, modern desktop computing experiences to nearly any internet-connected device including tablets, mobile phones and PCs. Now  key user groups can access and work with data while in the harshest physical environments or most sensitive political regions, all while the data remains secure in the data center.

The NVv4 instance is fully supported by Windows® Virtual Desktop, Citrix® Cloud and Teradici® Cloud access.  This broad support gives IT managers the ability to choose their preferred remote protocols, management, and admin tools. This flexibility helps to mitigate the challenges of moving from a private data center to Microsoft Azure by enabling IT managers to work with familiar, preferred solutions and tools.

Shift from CAPEX to OPEX to Manage Costs
With new oil and gas projects already costing tens of billions of dollars, it is important that their associated IT operations deliver infrastructure requirements while being efficient and flexible. By shifting to a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) deployment, a third-party provider like Microsoft Azure provides the IT infrastructure, tests and helps provision and deploy resources for the customer while managing all the necessary hardware in the cloud as-a-service. This makes it possible for IT operations to switch from a rigid CAPEX spending model, requiring the purchase of server hardware, to a more flexible OPEX model, renting cloud-based services on a monthly basis and adjusting as dictated by needs.

Scalability and Rapid Project Initiation

Faced with managing multiple, simultaneous projects distributed around the world, IT departments need effective and reliable tools to scale and deploy infrastructure across different settings. Azure facilitates remote troubleshooting, application updates, and delivery of security patches throughout a project’s lifecycle. Rapid scaling and management of IT resources accelerates production schedules, ensures productivity is enhanced from day one, and makes it possible to eliminate ongoing costs when projects are complete.  

Azure Guaranteed High-Availability to Reduce Costly Downtime
The scale of investment in oil and gas projects means that downtime and delay can quickly accumulate into millions lost. A virtual IT infrastructure provides redundancy, stability, and flexibility that protects against the unforeseen, from minor disruptions to significant man-made or natural occurrences. Vital data resources and applications can remain on-line and accessible to staff who can continue to work remotely and securely. Azure’s guaranteed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for VMs (Virtual Machines) typically guarantee in excess of 99.9% availability offering organizations assurance of high availability. More information on SLA: click here 


Secure Flexibility through SR-IOV
Microsoft Azure fractional GPU capability (GPU-P) is built on Single-root input/output virtualization (SR-IOV) standards, unique to AMD powered NVv4 instances, enhances security capabilities when the GPU resources are shared among multiple users in a public environment. This cloud-native, SR-IOV-based virtualization provides improved security compared to software-based GPU virtualization standards as it enables isolation of PCIe® hardware resources, helping prevent unauthorized access to the data of one VM by users of other VMs sharing the GPU. 


License Management
The high cost of specialized software can be a barrier to increasing the number of Geologists/Geophysicists assigned to a project. Leveraging DaaS allows for concurrently licensed software to be brokered and rationalized, e.g., in scenarios where some analysts only require access occasionally. IT managers can maintain greater overall awareness of a distributed environment that may include offices and staff around the world. With greater visibility, IT administrators can better optimize usage of costly software licenses, manage costs, and widen access to precious licenses.


NVv4 GPU options - optimized resourcing
Analysts, geologists and engineers rely on a range of 3D and graphical applications to perform complex analysis, including Schlumberger Petrel E&P and INTERSECT; Halliburton DecisionSpace and Nexus; CGG GeoSoftware; Ansys Fluent; Autodesk AutoCAD; Dassault SOLIDWORKS and CATIA; Siemens NX and Teamcenter; ESRI ArcGIS; and Spatial Energy Petra. The requirements of individuals users can vary considerably. Some only view specific datasets, lighter weight or 2D CAD models, while others may undertake GPU-intensive CFD simulations. The range of GPU sizes offered in the NVv4 series provides an opportunity for cost savings by enabling IT managers to adjust VMs to fit the needs of different workloads, upsizing or downsizing resources to adjust to users’ real production workloads.  

Industry Certification and Professional Graphics Drivers Included
The AMD EPYC™ 7002 Series processors have robust compatibility with virtually all software available in the market today. AMD works with the open source community and major software vendors to help ensure key industry applications and enabling software will work exceptionally well with the AMD EPYC™ processors.. All AMD supported Azure instances include professional GPU drivers with no licensing cost. ISV certifications and optimizations for professional industry visualization applications including ERSI help to assure a reliable, productive user experience.

Matching NVv4 to Requirements:






For remotely viewing and editing massive datasets and complex 2D/3D images

For remotely viewing and editing 2D and 3D mechanical images

For general purpose Windows 10 virtual desktops and office productivity applications





Standard_NV4as_v4 or


Other resources to consider: 


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. Use of third party marks / logos/ products is for informational purposes only and no endorsement of or by AMD is intended or implied.