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Editor’s Pick: HP Brings Virtual Workstations to Engineers

Sponsored ContentDear Desktop Engineering Reader:

I once declined a great job at a think tank a couple of hours from the lean-to. I was to track and report on telecommuting trends and technology. They wanted me on-site every day but offered no relocation, only words that I was the best talent for the job. Wonder what their take is on today’s virtual desktops? HP recently revealed the impending availability of a new virtual workstation that it says provides secure remote access to workstation-class 3D applications for engineering, CAD and similar compute-intensive jobs.

HP describes the HP DL380z Virtual Workstation as extending its widely deployed Z Workstations series into the virtual desktop environment. By that HP means that this 2U form factor, rack-ready system unites capabilities well vetted in its Z series technology  — specifically, the HP Proliant DL380p Gen8 server — with virtualization technology from Citrix and NVIDIA.

So what’s inside? The HP DL380z uses Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 v2 series of multicore processors, which are suitable for data center servers and cloud environments. It’s your choice here: These Xeons have 6 to 12 cores, 15MB to 30MB cache memory, and clock speeds from 2.4 to 2.8GHz. The HP DL380z supports up to 384GB of DDR3 memory.

Expansion comes in the form of six internal slots. You also have seven USB 2.0, one serial, two VGA and one SD (internal) external ports to plug things into. Available network interfaces include 1GB and 10GB HP Ethernet. You can rig out those slots with eight hot-swappable 2.5-in. hard disks and one Slimline optical. SAS, SATA and SDD mass storage capacities range from 146GB to 1TB.

Graphics: A single HP DL380z can use dual NVIDIA GRID K2 graphics cards and NVIDIA GRID GPU (graphic processing unit) virtualization to support up to eight users. The NVIDIA GRID GPUs are the first virtualized GPUs designed for data center delivery of graphics applications, according to NVIDIA. The HP DL380z also supports professional-level NVIDIA Quadro K6000, K5000 and K4000 graphics cards. For high-performance remote access to workstation-class software, including 3D applications, the HP DL380z is certified for Citrix virtualization stack technology.

The HP DL380z also supports HP Remote Graphics Software (RGS), which provides remote access to graphics-rich applications and the ability to host collaboration sessions from multiple devices and multiple operating systems. HP says that the newest version of RGS provides “true workstation productivity from a tablet while bringing intuitive touch controls to non-touch applications.” Graphics performance is also enhanced by HP’s Velocity network traffic management software.

Security is always an issue in any environment, virtual or not. The HP DL380z does a couple of things to augment your security strategies. For example, you can keep data in-house and transmit encrypted pixel data over a LAN or WAN. User profiles can be centrally controlled and managed with flexible provisioning and multiple configuration options. The HP DL380z supports the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security standard for integrating cryptographic keys into hardware.

The HP DL380z Virtual Workstation is so new that, at the time of this writing, it’s not shipping. It should be shipping any moment now, since there are a couple of sessions on it at the Discover HP event going on right now in Las Vegas. For now, you can learn more about the HP DL380z Virtual Workstation from today’s Pick of the Week write-up. Serious IT managers should download the 34-page QuickSpecs PDF linked after the end of the main write-up to get many more granular details.

The business benefits of virtualization are hard to ignore: Secure data, better recovery from theft or disaster, access from most mobile devices and the peace of mind knowing that you can hire the best available employee no matter where he or she may reside. The HP DL380z Virtual Workstation sounds like it brings to engineering and design professionals the virtualization capacity they need as well as benefits that more and more general businesses have embraced. Hit today’s Pick of the Week to see if you agree.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.