VDI Case Study

Global Advertising Agency Revolutionizes Creative Workflow with GPL's VDI Solution

Centralized management and secure collaboration transforms the creative process, enabling creative work anywhere, anytime, on any device.

The Story

Imagine the frustration of creative professionals struggling to work seamlessly on intensive projects, hindered by the limitations of traditional infrastructure. In the dynamic world of creative workflows, the Global Advertising Agency faced a significant challenge: consolidating their number of physical locations, while still allowing teams to collaborate on complex creative tasks, including 3D modeling, compositing, and Unreal Engine projects.

Given the company’s legacy architecture of workstations under each artist’s desk, further obstacles included maintaining software consistency, maximizing server room density, and safeguarding valuable creative data. The Global Advertising Agency was at a crossroads, and their creative output and growth potential were compromised.

In response to these challenges, the agency partnered with GPL Technologies because of GPL’s extensive experience implementing and supporting VDI deployments for creative workflows. This marked the beginning of a transformative journey as the agency’s workstations and two physical locations were moved into a single, centralized co-location facility. The tailored VDI solution successfully provided a consistent software environment, created operational efficiency, enhanced security, allowed for flexible scalability, and reduced desktop support issues and overall operational expenses.

Business Needs

Seamless collaboration between global 3D, compositing, and Unreal artists.

Consistent, easily deploy- able OS images and specialized creative applications.

Virtual workstations on shared resources removed “islands” of unused CPU/RAM on desktop computers.

Physical workstations removed and workload consolidated into secure data center.

Ability to scale perfor- mance and volume of deployed workstations.

Solutions

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The Implementation

Assessment

Analyzed 3D, compositing, and Unreal workflow requirements. Users tested demo VDI for “local”
feel and perfor- mance.

Design

GPL engineering worked with stakeholders to develop a compute, storage, and networking solution, tailored to customer compliance and performance expectations.

Pilot Testing

Created a proof-of-concept environment and introduced VDI workstations to select artists and designers for feedback. Adjusted design to accom- modate for artist and corporate IT requirements.

Deployment

Installed and configured systems in co-lo- cation. Rolled out the VDI solution worldwide, incor- porating feedback and ensuring software consis- tency for special- ized tools.

Ongoing Support

Monitored system post-install and tuned for perfor- mance. Provided ongoing support to ensure artist success.

The Solution

Starting with meticulous assessments and rigorous testing, GPL’s engineering team designed a holistic solution, ensuring it aligned with physical and networking constraints. Pilot testing with select artists and designers on a proof-of-concept demo system ensured the design was sound and paved the way for global deployment. A few key outcomes and benefits of the VDI solution included:

➤ Reduced IT Labor and Maintenance: IT staff can manage, update, patch, and troubleshoot from a centralized location. This eliminates the need to physically visit each desktop for updates or fixes, leading to a significant reduction in man-hours and operational costs.

➤ Centralized Pool of Resources: Consolidated their computing resources into a centralized pool, ensuring efficient management, scalability, and optimal utilization of hardware and software assets.

➤ Dynamic and Easy Configuration Changes: A key advantage, allowing the customer to quickly adapt virtual desktop environments to changing needs and ensuring flexibility and ease of management.

Powerful Hardware and Network Configuration

Compute and storage were provided by 14 Dell R7525 AMD Epyc dual-processor servers with three Nvidia A40 GPUs in each chassis, running VMware vSphere 8 as hypervisor and VMware vSAN for storage services. Back-end network connectivity was provided by two Dell EMC S5248F multi-gig switches for 25Gbps cluster interconnects and 100Gbps uplinks for client connectivity and switch redun- dancy via MLAG. Total storage capacity across all nodes was in excess of 60TB NVMe flash, ensuring ample fault tolerance, storage capacity, and IOPS performance were available to serve every user in this demanding VDI environment.

Enhanced End-User Experience

End-user connectivity was provided by Leostream’s Connection Broker for reliable and secure remote access, with Teradi- ci’s PCoIP remote desktop protocol offering each user a visually lossless, high-fidelity remote desktop experience rivaling
a dedicated local workstation. Each virtual machine was GPU-accelerated with Nvidia’s vGPU software, enabling users to enjoy native GPU performance for high-end design applications while benefiting from the security, redundancy, and remote access features of the shared resources in the VMware + Leostream environment.

Scalability and Flexibility

During initial design discussions, the server deployment was designed to accommodate approximately 200 GPU-accelerat- ed VMs with 8GB VRAM and 20 non-GPU VMs. However, prior to deployment, the customer’s application mix had changed, and more powerful workstations were required to handle the customer’s increased use of Epic Unreal Engine 5. Thanks to the flexibility of the VMware + Nvidia vGPU software stack, GPL engineers were able to quickly and seamlessly reallocate resources to accommodate 42 VMs with 48GB VRAM without any adjustments to the deployed hardware. Future changes can be easily implemented by adjusting vGPU profile sizes or scaling out the environment with additional server nodes.

VDI workstations offer scalability by enabling the effortless addition of workstations as required, in contrast to on-premis- es setups that necessitate new hardware purchase or rental for each user. This scalability is particularly advantageous when dealing with multiple fixed-duration projects that have differing performance requirements as virtual workstations can be dynamically resized and redeployed in the same hardware pool. The implementation of HP Anyware/Teradici as a remote access protocol also enabled the customer to tap into a broader talent pool around the globe using PCoIP’s indus- try-leading remote graphics protocol.

Conclusion

The impact was profound. The customer’s IT support team was able to manage all aspects of compute and storage from a central location, spending less time visiting desks and more time on proactive support which led to reduced downtime and increased system performance. Artists and producers appreciated the flexibility to request the right-sized workstations on demand rather than being chained to fixed configurations under their desks, and they enjoyed the ability to work from home with performance rivaling sitting in front of a bare metal machine. Ultimately, the company benefited from the increased security offered by co-located systems and maximized ROI by eliminating islands of unused compute and storage resources in legacy desktop systems. Today, the Global Advertising Agency stands as a testament to the power of transformation. Join us on a journey towards creative excellence.

Take the next step towards innovation. Click here to contact us today to explore tailored solutions for your projects and boost your team’s productivity, or send us an email at sales@gpltech.com.

VDI Case Study

Global Advertising Agency Revolutionizes Creative Workflow with GPL's VDI Solution

Centralized management and secure collaboration transforms the creative process, enabling creative work anywhere, anytime, on any device.

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