Tuesday Jan 20, 2009

Hardware-accelerated remote 3D WINDOWS desktops using VirtualGL and VirtualBox

Sun Shared Visualization software gives users the ability to run 3D OpenGL applications on servers with graphics and take advantage of hardware acceleration. To date, one of the biggest limitations is that, while we could let multiple users "share" the resources on a Linux or Solaris server taking advantage of as many cores and GPUs we could put on a system, on Windows, we were stuck with getting acceleration for only one user - the "owner" of the desktop.

Enter the marriage of VirtualGL and VirtualBox. With VirtualBox, of course, one can run several VMs on a system. With the latest VirtualBox, 3D hardware acceleration is enabled. So what if you start a VirtualBox Windows VM remotely on a Linux or Solaris server using VirtualGL from the Shared Visualization software? You get remote access to a Windows desktop that has hardware acceleration for any OpenGL application that you run.

This is what you do:
1. Download the Shared Visualization 1.1.1 software from the Sun Download Center.
2. Install both the VirtualGL and TurboVNC components.
3. Get the latest VirtualBOx
4. Suppose you have a Linux or Solaris x64 server with one or more nVIDIA GPUs. Suppose its name is "3Dserver"
/opt/VirtualGL/bin/vglconnect 3Dserver
5. Launch a TurboVNC server on 3Dserver
/opt/TurboVNC/bin/vncserver
6. Create a Windows VirtualBox VM, remembering to enable 3D hardware acceleration in the General preferences.
Save this as a .vdi file.
7. From ANY remote client, start a TurboVNC viewer connected to the TurboVNC viewer
/opt/TurboVNC/bin vncviewer 3Dserver:N
8. Start the Windows VirtualBox VM using VirtualGL
/opt/VirtualGL/bin/vglrun VirtualBox -startvm {your VM's name or ID}

Et voila! you have a remote Windows desktop with hw acceleration for 3D applications, and you can have more than one!

Friday Dec 19, 2008

Announcing the availability of Shared Visualization 1.1.1

We've just released a new version of the Sun Shared Visualization software. It is available for download from the Sun Download Center. Just go to /www/sun.com/download and select "Shared Visualization" under the High Performance Computing category.

Sun Shared Visualization software includes VirtualGL and TurboVNC and integrates it with Sun Grid Engine software to provide the capability to run Solaris and Linux OpenGL applications on a central resource with high-performance graphics, while interacting and viewing from a wide variety of clients, including Sun Ray thin clients.
It also provides the ability for remote users to collaborate in viewing and running the 3D application.

Some of the features of this release are:
-- additional platform support:
Ubuntu
openSUSE
OpenSolaris
OS/X 10.5 "Leopard"

-- fixes for application-specific issues
GeomView
Catia V4 (SPARC)
I-DEAS (SPARC)
ANSYS

-- improved performance and decreased bandwidth usage for TurboVNC

-- improved performance of VirtualGL on Solaris platforms

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Linda Fellingham

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