Converged infrastructures that combine server, storage, switches and a hypervisor proved to be a valid solution for implementing virtual IT infrastructures at shorter project times and with lower risk. Typical use cases focused so far on server virtualization for business applications or virtual desktops running office applications.
New, exciting use cases are technical environments in which data-heavy 3D graphics are created, e.g. by design and modeling applications. Examples can be found in the oil and gas industry, the automotive and aerospace sectors, media production, seismographic institutes and medical institutions. In these areas, people typically work on workstations with powerful graphic cards and store data centrally. This may be an effective setup if a group of users is working together in one location.
However, whenever teams are geographically dispersed or team members need to be mobile, then suddenly a lot of obstacles may arise. Imagine being deployed as an expert to work on an oil platform in a remote location. You would need to take on the added cost and risk of transporting a heavy workstation with high power consumption over a long distance. The transmission of large data volumes over a poor network connection to the central storage can result in an incredibly long waiting time before you can actually view a 3D image on your screen.
Furthermore, remote network connections are less secure and run the risk that very sensitive data may be intercepted. This is why Fujitsu and NetApp worked together to come up with a simple and secure solution: a converged infrastructure solution for desktop virtualization, consisting of a Fujitsu server, storage from NetApp and switches from Brocade was extended with a powerful graphics card, which is plugged into the server. The 3D application runs on virtual desktops, which are stored alongside the usage data on the central storage.
With the help of the desktop virtualization software, only the pixels of the 3D images are transferred to the end-users. Even a poor network connection is no longer an obstacle to getting the job done, and it is no longer necessary to have a costly workstation on the user side – a good screen or a Fujitsu tablet is enough. The complete solution is called PRIMEFLEX vShape, which has a long track record being a simple, easy to implement infrastructure solution for virtual IT. The proof of concept has shown that also technical 3D applications are a perfect use case, which will give the rising adaption of converged IT a further boost.