During an assessment I did this year together with Thomas Poppelgaard for a company that wanted to do 3D virtualization, we got a report of the GPU consuming applications, and we were surprised by the results.
I cannot share the details of the report but I’ve categorized the applications in four main categories. CAD and 3D apps, Office and PDF readers, Multimedia and Web Browsers.
Among Office apps is: Microsoft Office and PDF readers. Multimedia apps is Lync, Skype, Cisco jabber and and many more.
Here is the average GPU index for these categories:
Why are web browsers on the top? Ok first we need to understand what the GPU index is. The report is created with Lakesidesoftware Systrack. The GPU index is a combination of how intensive the application is using the GPU and how often GPU it’s being called in the application. It means that the GPU is being used a lot and intensively by web browsers. This shows us that the web browsers in a virtual environment will affect your virtualization project whether you have a GPU or not. If you DON’T have a GPU, the CPU will be used for processing the graphics.
Modern browsers has HW acceleration of graphics enabled by default. Same is for Microsoft office applications. This is something we will see more and more coming, graphics being used more and more in web sites and productivity apps. Here are some screenshots from default HW acceleration options for some applications:
Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Microsoft Word:
So in your next virtualization project, consider the impact of multimedia use in all applications including web browsers, your CPU and GPU sizing depends on it. Using assessment software like Lakesidesoftware Systrack is very helpful to get a picture of your existing workloads.
After writing this blogpost I realized that Shawn Bass has published something similar on his blog http://shawnbass.com/psa-software-gpu-can-reduce-your-virtual-desktop-scalability/