AMD makes hardware-based GPU virtualization a reality

AMD is jumping into the virtualized GPU market. At VMWorld, the red team showed off what it claims is the first hardware-based GPU virtualization solution, AMD Multiuser GPU (PDF). 

Up to 15 users can use a single Multiuser GPU, though per-user performance will decrease as more guests are provisioned on a card.  AMD says those users will benefit from more predictable performance regardless of how busy the host graphics card is. The company also claims that the Multiuser GPU is more secure than software-based virtualization, since each user gets its own slice of the GPU's memory. The net result, according to AMD corporate vice president and general manager Sean Burke, is that "each user is provided with the virtualized performance to design, create and execute their workflows without any one user tying up the entire GPU."

Multiuser GPU is built on Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV), an open standard created by the PCI Special Interest Group. AMD's virtualized GPUs have the same features as their single-user brethren, including OpenCL 2.0, DirectX 12, and OpenGL 4.4. The solution requires VMWare vSphere or ESXi 5.5 or newer, and it supports remote access protocols like Horizon View, Citrix Xen Desktop, and Teradici's Workstation Host Software. The company hasn't announced specs, pricing, or availability of the Multiuser GPU. 

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