Saturday, June 15, 2024

Anticipating The Azure Virtual Desktop’s Performance With NVIDIA’s GeForce Now Gaming Service

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While GeForce Now is a Cloud gaming platform, it has a secondary benefit to the market because it showcases the current performance limitations for a pure Cloud desktop service.  

These limits are important because Enterprise Technology tends to move very slowly in comparison to consumer-focused technology, and for a good reason. But if that part of the industry isn’t pushed, it tends to lockdown due to its affinity for consistency and this behavior significantly slows advancement. 

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Also, when a component company like NVIDIA makes a complete offering, it is generally to change perceptions and break the market out of its static comfort level by showcasing what is possible. With PC gaming, you need very high hardware performance, very low latency, and high reliability because gamers, like IT users, really don’t like crashing in the middle of something. Workers lose productivity, but gamers lose the match, and that can be even more upsetting since wins are tied to status, and we are a status-driven race.  

Let’s talk about how GeForce Now is showcasing the cutting edge of pure cloud performance. 

The Move To The Cloud Desktop

One of the big coming trends is the Cloud Desktop and the version of this we are most interested in is the Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop.  This Microsoft offering is very similar to a Thin Client offering, and the industry, initially led by Sun Microsystems and Oracle in the 1990s in their failed attempt to transition to the new model, has largely been stalled for nearly two decades.

While the concept’s benefits of an Appliance PC experience and never having to worry about patches, updates, or worry as much about viruses was compelling the performance was initially horrid for the average user. And while that significantly improved, you often hit a performance wall if you needed to edit a photo or video or do any other performance-intensive task. 

It wasn’t a desktop hardware problem, though, that initially seemed to be much of the focus. There was a need for a Mainframe like server that could handle massive amounts of I/O economically and IBM, the only Mainframe builder of scale remaining in the market, wasn’t interested in this segment.  As a result, the back-end hardware was inadequate. 

NVIDIA’s GPU Technology was a path forward, but given the Thin Client space had little or no growth, there seemed to be little interest in anyone building the needed servers using this technology to provide a better solution. Not to mention that even thinking of doing this for shops with mixed server/desktop units would result in internal conflicts and wasn’t even viable for PC vendors who didn’t have servers. The market was at an impasse. 

Given how much revenue the OEMs get from high-performance servers creating a high-performance server of their own and marketing, it would have been problematic for NVIDIA and might have resulted in a loss of OEM sales. But, if rather than selling that server, if NVIDIA instead used it in a non-competing Game Service, they could demonstrate the advantages of the server without competing with their OEM customers. 

They could then use the service at scale to showcase the architectural and performance benefits of the service and use that to eventually drive a new class of Cloud servers, which could better serve the potential incoming wave of Windows Virtual Desktop users. 

It is also a potential showcase for profitable pricing and provides a way for users to kick the service’s tires. NVIDIA’s service starts as a free service for up to one hour of continuous use (you can log right back in depending on loading). But for $4.99 per user, you get 6 hours of continuous use and priority on getting on the servers.

This service, therefore, gives prospects an easy taste and weeds out those that are excessively interested in cost at the same time. And $4.99 per user wouldn’t be bad for an appliance-like user experience where much of the maintenance was the responsibility of the service provider significantly reducing PC overhead. 

The Cloud Desktop Is Coming

What the NVIDIA GeForce Now service demonstrates is the performance of a focused desktop cloud offering on the cutting edge, in terms of pure performance and also in terms of pricing, loading, and providing a sense for the level of reliability that could be reasonably expected. As a result, this service is a good precursor for what is going to happen and worth checking out. 

Of course, I also just provided you with a great excuse for why you need to install a gaming service in your IT shop.  You’re welcome. 

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