Virtualisation has provided many benefits for businesses. Previously, organisations would have needed to employ a number of physical servers, perhaps one for each application, each of which would have been severely underutilised in order to manage the inevitable, but unpredictable, spike in users.

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Virtualisation, however, allows organisations to make more efficient use of their IT infrastructure by leveraging software to create any number of virtual machines (VMs) on a single server, enabling business resources to become more scalable, reliable and cost-efficient. With virtualisation deployed, hardware utilisation levels quickly shot up from approximately 10 per cent to closer to 80.

However, virtualisation has not been without its own challenges. Business applications that require higher levels of graphical performance can be difficult to deliver using conventional virtualisation resources. This, really, is an extension of a pre-existing issue that can occur when using physical servers;  the CPU can struggle to scale when it comes to graphics computation, particularly as it has to handle all other core IT processes. This led to the development of the graphics processing unit (GPU) taking some of the strain away from the CPU.

The increasing use of graphics-intensive resources was partly driven by the uptake of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), in which the entire desktop operating system was hosted within a VM on an external server, instead of a local machine. With the rise of VDI, individual, physical GPUs were no longer necessary, as multiple endpoint PCs could share the resources of a single, high-end GPU. As such, many devices now utilise their own virtualised GPUs (vGPUs) and allow their vCPUs to focus on other vital practices.

Managing your virtual resources

Managing virtual GPUs can be difficult, with virtual infrastructures often shifting as resources fluctuate to accommodate a number of different VMs, each with their own distinct requirements. Connected to this is the upkeep of the physical GPUs that underpin the virtual resources. But gaining a clear view of what is causing GPU availability issues or slow-downs may be easier said than done. With Xangati ESP for Cloud Infrastructure virtual appliance administrators can collect information from all of the various virtual components in order to manage and monitor the organisation’s cloud infrastructure. Managing physical GPU resources also becomes more straightforward when using Xangati’s ESP Extension for NVIDIA pGPU, providing visibility into the impact that pGPU performance has on virtualised environments.

Effective GPU management can yield a number of business benefits. Xangati ESP gives IT leaders a view of their virtual infrastructure inventory, including profiles of each pGPU, second-by-second monitoring of critical metrics, and a storm-tracker to help with troubleshooting. Reports can also be generated that help IT management make accurate assessments on their busiest pGPUs, letting them improve future efficiency and overall user experience.

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A whole host of industries, from healthcare to entertainment, now rely on extensive graphical output. By using Xangati ESP, in combination with VDI and GPUs, businesses can run large virtual environments within reliable and cost-effective IT infrastructure. With pGPU and vGPU deployments becoming increasingly prominent, businesses need to maximise their return on hardware investment and ensure they get the most out of previously wasted resources.