Microsoft focus to reduce complexity and improve the odds of Azure Stack working well, Microsoft decided to deliver the product as a turnkey bundle, in conjunction with HPE, Dell, and Lenovo, to run Azure Stack on their servers.
Azure Stack brings the core Azure services into the enterprise data center, targeting a single platform for both the public and private cloud, it extends your on-premises data center to Azure cloud.
One of the key memorable projects I recently did was the virtualization of BIM (Building Information Modelling) software for a government agency here in Singapore. This pilot project involved Virtual GPU with VDI technology, a new way of delivering applications through virtualization. An interesting and innovative project as it could potentially lead to more opportunities with agencies that are looking to deliver 3D applications centrally and securely.
During the project kick-off the customer explained the challenges they were facing, like having to access BIM securely and that their users had a low tolerance of application launch-times, aswell as rendering performance. This client needed NVIDIA GRID GPU with Citrix XenApp to access BIM. Many people think that the NVIDIA GRID card is only for 3D applications, but you can actually improve the performance of any application on your VDI. We have seen that combining NVIDIA with Citrix really helps in bringing the user experience to a next level. What I also like about the NVIDIA GRID card is that it can virtualize GPU to multiple profiles and assign to virtual machines based on their required needs.
After we studied the tender requirements, I started to prepare our technical lab for vigorous testing and to identify any technical risks. The high expectations combined with new cutting edge virtualization technology was exciting but also challenging. To match our client’s expectations with regards to the functionality and user experience (UX) we ran several workshops for the stakeholders and end-users. I think that involving the users early during the project helps with a better appreciation and adoption later. Next we finalized the design and test cases and started the “Build & Test” phase. While testing I tried-out all kind of scenarios to stress the system and find any weak spots. Some issues did indeed arise during these tests, like GPU was not detected, accessing of BIM was slow and security hardening issues, just to name a few. We stuck to our project methodology to solve this, isolated the environment, compared benchmarking result and liaised with the vendors. In the end, we were excited to be able to have progressed timely and delivered the virtualized BIM solution successfully.
The best part is our client’s feedback on our services, which gave me and the team one of our great moments of pride. We did it ánd exceeded our client’s expectations! Personally I gained a lot experience from this project and I am looking forward to challenge myself again in Phase 2, which is the environment extension.