vGPU support for Citrix and VMware

By Hank Smith
Posted in Virtualization
On March 30, 2015

What is vGPU?

vGPU provides the ability to virtualize the GPU of a graphics card, specifically an NVIDIA K card. Most applications in VDI environments do not require a GPU; however, for CAD, engineering, and medical applications, GPUs are typically required. For more information on vGPU take a look at this article.


Citrix recently announced vGPU support for mixed environments - Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp on the front-end and VMware vSphere on the back end. The requirements for vGPU are VMware vSphere 6 and Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp 7.6.

Citrix has supported Nvidia vGPU for over a year now with the use of Citrix XenServer and XenDesktop/XenApp. For mixed environments, vGPU did not work and vSGA, software based GPU virtualization (DirectX 9 and OpenGL 2.1), was the alternative. While this worked for some GPU applications, it was not ideal and it did not provide hardware-based virtualization. The workaround for this was to dedicate the GPU to a specific virtual desktop, a solution that is not at all scalable.


VMware also released vGPU support for vSphere 6, which means you can now virtualize the GPU for Horizon View. This is a welcome feature to the Horizon solution. The requirements for vGPU for VMware are vSphere 6 and Horizon 6.1.


The use of vGPU is definitely a plus in a mixed environment with a Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop front end and VMware vSphere as the back end, and a welcome feature on the VMware side. Please contact your Gotham Account Manager for more information on these solutions.

Hank Smith

Hank Smith

Hank is an expert in the design, development, and delivery of cost-effective, high-performance technology solutions. As manager of Gotham’s Virtualization practice, Hank builds motivated, productive teams for Gotham’s large-scale networking and infrastructure engagements, develops implementation standards and methodologies around virtualization technologies, and manages overall design and implementation of multiple infrastructure projects.