3D Visualization & Analytics

Virtualizing ArcGIS Pro: CPUs and GPUs

Virtualizing ArcGIS Pro

Projects deploying ArcGIS Pro in virtualized environments are underway. As the IT industry virtualizes more desktops and applications, ArcGIS Pro will be virtualized and is expected to work well in those environments. For that reason the Performance Engineering team has tested ArcGIS Pro in VMWare Horizon View, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenDesktop+XenApp.

Using the test results of both automated load tests and hands on testing events with real humans we have a very good understanding of what it takes to successfully deploy ArcGIS Pro in virtualized environments. We also have a good idea of how many virtual machines (VMs) that a virtualization server can host while also delivering an acceptable user experience. The result of that effort is that Pro virtualizes well, and can deliver a great user experience.

User Experience

ArcGIS Pro delivers a great user experience when working with 2D and 3D data. This was a requirement of the product and delivered by design. A couple of important characteristics that help deliver this:

These two aforementioned characteristics help deliver great user experience with fluid, game-like graphics. But these two characteristics also cause ArcGIS Pro to virtualize differently than ArcMap.

Virtualization Requirements

In order to virtualize Pro, it is important to properly configure the virtualization environment to support multiple VMs running a high-end graphics application such as ArcGIS Pro. This includes ensuring adequate processors and shareable GPUs on the host.

An example of a server which meets the above criteria are Dell R720s used in the Performance Engineering lab which have the following configuration:

-2 Intel Xeon E5-2695 V2@ 2.40GHz processors
-200Gb memory
-4TB storage
-2 Nvidia GRID K2 cards

This configuration with XenServer 6.2 and XenDesktop can support 10-12 VMs with Pro using 3D data, or 14-20 VMS with Pro using 2D data. This is dependent on the Nvidia vGPU Profile that is used. If a shareable GPU was not present, all of the processing required for rendering is moved to the virtual CPUs causing the user experience to be less than desirable.  Additionally, the same server would not be able to host the same number of VM’s.

More Information

More blogs, best practices, white papers and reference architectures will be coming out soon. If you are attending the Esri User Conference in San Diego go to the following sessions and special interest group for more technical information.

Tuesday, July 21 
-Virtualization SIG
Room 27B 12:00pm- 1:00pm
Wednesday, July 22 
-Demo Theater: Overview of ArcGIS Pro in Virtualized Desktop Environments
10:30am – 11:15am – Mapping and Visualization Exhibit Hall B
-ArcGIS Pro: virtualizing in Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop
Room 02 12:00pm – 1:00pm
-Demo Theater:Virtualizing ArcGIS Pro in VMWare View, Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp
4:30pm – 5:15pm Mapping and Visualization Exhibit Hall B
Thursday, July 23 
-ArcGIS Pro: virtualizing in VMWare Horizon View and Microsoft Hyper-V
Room 02 12:00pm – 1:00pm

About the author

Performance Engineering Team Lead. Esri SW Product Engineering Redlands, CA

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