BOXX has recently launched a new type of product which we're referring to as professional virtual workstations based on our new XDI (XTREME Desktop Infrastructure) series product line. Many of you might be hearing the buzz surrounding VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) in industry news and are wondering if your organization can take advantage of the many exciting features VDI has to offer. In this article, we'll give you an in-depth overview of VDI and explain why BOXX's XDI series virtual workstations offer the best performance for power users who run graphics intense applications.

What is VDI and XDI?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure allows an organization to host several virtual workstations on a single server. The technology presents many benefits that are appealing to engineers, architects and 3D artists like remote access, data centralization, data security and high speed shared storage. XDI is BOXX's implementation of this technology which offers the best performance and productivity for power users like yourself.

What are you getting into?

When considering VDI, you need to clearly understand what is driving your organization's desire to procure a VDI solution. You should ask yourself "why am I interested in VDI instead of traditional workstations?" Are you looking to reduce up front hardware costs or is remote access to your applications and digital assets a critical factor? One of the main reasons you might be considering this option is hardware consolidation. Perhaps you've heard cases where dozens of users are being consolidated onto one physical server. In terms of mitigating up front hardware costs, this option is appealing to many. There is a misconception here for those who work with graphics intense applications and this can lead to frustration before and after you take delivery of a VDI solution.

Hosting dozens of users on a single physical server is a viable option for task workers running light office applications and web browsing - not power users driving high-end applications like SolidWorks, CATIA, 3DS Max or Maya. Power users like design engineers and 3D astists cannot sacrifice performance and productivity for the sake of cramming everyone onto a single VDI server. A special VDI implementation needs to be considered that preserves application performance for these users as much as possible.

If you are looking for a lower  up front hardware cost per user compared to traditional workstations, you might disappointed.

Why VDI?

So if there isn't significant savings on the up front hardware cost, why should you consider VDI?

  • Remote Access - with a virtual workstation, you can access all of your professional applications and assets from anywhere on your organization's LAN using a zero client device. Or, you can access a virtual workstation remotely from anywhere with an internet connection using Teradici's PCoIP® Software Client.

  • Data Centralization - The size of application data files and assets are growing rapidly, especially for BOXX customers. With a VDI solution, big data remains in your data center.  When it comes to collaborating with remote users, or branch offices, it can be cumbersome to transfer large files back and forth. Tools like Dropbox are great, but when you sync that 1GB file containing the 10th revision, you might be looking for a better solution. VDI solves this problem by keeping the data in one place. Computation takes place on the central server and the resulting pixels are streamed to the end user.

  • Data Security - as mentioned above, VDI allows your users to access digital assets on a central server. Sensitive data never has to leave your data center. Additionally, our implementation features 256 Bit suite B Encryption.

  • Shared High Speed Storage - Another attractive feature for some is the ability to give multiple users access to the same high speed storage. Traditionally, a user would collaborate with others by working off their office's network attached storage (NAS) commonly connected by 10GBE. Users of virtual workstations are hosted on one physical host server. Their "network" then becomes the local storage (SSDs in a RAID configuration) on the host server which has significantly faster transfer speeds than traditional shared network storage.

Why XDI?

Why should you consider an XTREME Desktop Infrastructure solution from BOXX? Because like all BOXX customers, you see value in keeping high paid power users productive. You are also interested in the VDI benefits described above. An XDI solution from BOXX is the only solution that gives you the benefits of VDI while maintaining peak application performance.
The features which differentiate XDI include:

  • GPU Direct Assign - Graphics intense applications require access to a capable graphics cards with ISV certifications, optimizations and native driver support. A virtualized graphics card running on a CPU is not an option. Directly assigning one physical GPU to each user on the system ensures the optimal performance.

  • CPU Performance - Working on a virtual machine requires a mechanism that connects a user's client device to their assigned virtual machine. VMWare is one such method that is widely used in for VDI. Since all users are sharing the same CPU resources of the underlying physical server, it's critical to eliminate applications that eat up CPU cycles. For example, there are several applications that need to run on the host server when implementing VMWare. Taking VMWare out of the equation frees up additional CPU cycles, thus improving the user's experience. This is accomplished by using a PCoIP host card installed on the physical server which relieves the host CPU of pixel stream compression and encryption (sending pixels to the end user).

  • Optimized Network Loading - The PCoIP host card features a dedicated NIC which offloads the pixel stream to the end user from the host NIC.

  • User Density - A BOXX XDI virtual workstation server can accommodate up to users, each with a dedicated GPU to run their applications. This density is achieved by integrating the PCoIP host card onto the GPU using the AMD FirePro R5000.


To find out if a BOXX XDI Series virtual workstations are the right fit for your organization, visit BOXXTECH.COM/XDI or call 512-835-0400.