Microsoft Cloud Uses Nvidia GRID to Pump Out High-End Graphics

Microsoft's latest Azure offering uses Nvidia's virtualization platform to deliver high-performance computer-generated graphics over the cloud.

Nvidia VDI

Microsoft is no stranger to using Nvidia's GPUs to speed up its cloud-delivered artificial intelligence workloads, but now the company is taking aim at high-end graphical workstations and virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) with its latest NV-series Azure virtual instances.

The software giant this week announced three NV-series offerings that use Nvidia's GRID virtualization platform to generate high-fidelity computer imagery on the cloud. Available in with up to 24 processing cores, 224GB of memory, 1.44TB of solid-state storage and four M60 Nvidia GPUs, Microsoft's latest Azure virtual machines pack some serious graphical horsepower, according to Karan Batta, a senior program manager at Microsoft Azure.

"Targeting the high-end workstation user, you can run NVIDIA Quadro GPU-optimized applications such as Dassault Systems or Siemens PLM per user directly on the NV instances without the need to deal with the complexity of licensing," he wrote in a May 22 blog post.

CATIA from Dassault Systems is a 3D computer-aided modelling application and Siemens PLM is a 3D product life cycle management suite, both of which typically require high-end workstations with robust graphical hardware components to run smoothly. "Additionally, with up to four GPUs via NV24, you're able to run up to four concurrent users utilizing these Quadro applications with features such as multiple displays, larger maximum resolutions and certified Quadro software features from hundreds of software vendors," continued Batta.

For customers looking for a cloud-based VDI solution, the new Azure NV instances also fit the bill. Organizations running Citrix XenApp Essentials, VMware Horizon, Workspot or Remote Desktop Services can use the new Azure offerings to deliver virtual desktop to their users. Batta claimed that the new cloud services can run up to 25 Remote Desktop Session Host sessions concurrently per GPU.

Meanwhile, organizations looking to spin up software-as-a-service applications based on SQL databases now have a sample application they can evaluate for guidance, the Micrsoft announced today.

"The sample app is a simple event listing and ticketing SaaS app, where each venue has its own database with events, ticket prices, customers, and ticket sales, all securely isolated from other venues' data," explained Bill Gibson, a principal program manager, at Microsoft Azure, in a separate post. "The app uses a canonical SaaS app architecture for the data layer. Each tenant is mapped to its database using a catalog database, which is used for lookup and connectivity."

Besides bolstering security and privacy, this approach improves performance compared to multi-tenant database implementations, Gibson asserted. The app, dubbed the Wingtip Tickets Platform Sample, is available at GitHub.

Also today, the company announced that Azure is now ISO 9001:2015 certified. The quality management systems standard is predicated on a number of factors, including a focus on the customer and evidence-based decision-making, among a handful of other principles. The ISO 9001:2015 certificate encompasses a number of Microsoft cloud services, including Intune, Power BI, and PowerApps. Customers can get more information in the company's online compliance report hub.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...