Our Research: Lowering TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of HP Workstation to Half, While Doubling the Investment Value. At Least.
Shortage. A situation that brings difficulties to almost everyone. Specially those who are in needs for the products that experiencing shortage in the market. Difficult to find, difficult to purchase. Which will lead to extreme halt to do things that would require them when not being able to get one. Further, it goes much worse when the price's just getting out of reach.
And with this pandemic, the situation doesn't help at all. But, we could feel relieved a bit since the graphics shows that Covid-19 transmission is getting lower and lower each day. So when the purchase is being considered to be necessary, investment needs to be considered in such way that would bring good results, technically and financially. And that's why we're doing our research, trying to bring another good value to most of our customers.
THE BACKGROUND STORY
We're aware that now, the graphics card price isn't at the level of what manufacturers announced as suggested retail price (SRP). It reaches to some levels that go between 2-4 times higher than SRP. The problem even makes people crazier while scratching their heads, as supplies are extremely limited. Thanks to those bitcoin miners.
Despite of the GPU prices that don't make sense by the time this article is written, professionals who are in needs of new GPUs, are forced to get them by whatever necessary action. And some would need to get new computers in form of desktop or mobile workstations. This would leave them no choice. After getting themselves new units, some of them would consider that the old ones may not be able to do demanding tasks, driving some to be left useless, or being sold as used computers.
New systems with latest CPUs and GPUs are carrying performance that somehow equals to 2-4 years old high-end systems. A 10th gen Intel Core i7 is on par with Dual Xeon E5 v2 or even v3. In our experience, it used to be enough to have single Xeon for each professional user, to run CAD or design software. Furthermore now, virtualization technology is advancing pretty well. One part of remote workstation technology from HP, which was called RGS, is also evolving to HP ZCentral Remote Boost with much better ecosystem.
With these developments, we would like to know whether its possible to split and share a new (or even one or two years old) HP Workstation, across 2 or more users, using virtualization, and being used concurrently.
After several attempts and trials, we confirmed that most virtualization won't carry hardware accelerated process as all of those process are being completed by CPU. It's listed inside the documentation of Virtual Box as well as others. Of course we could assign on how many core, amount of memory, disk space etc. to a virtual machine, but we would need more than that. We'd want the virtual machine to be able to benefit from all hardware acceleration available.
We then collected more information and documentations in order to look for aspects that might possibly support our goal.
After 4 full days of intensive research, we finally saw some shimmering lights. We're so excited to move forwards to deliver Virtual Workstation setup, once we finish our own research. It may create possibility for us to attach this solution to any HP Workstation purchase by the customer, upon customer's approval.
With this happening, it would possibly allow a single HP Desktop Workstation, or even a powerful HP Mobile Workstation to be attached to another computer and share its brute force as Virtual Workstation without burdening and disturbing the HP Workstation, simultaneously. Unnoticeable performance degradation occurred, but it's just so small, only benchmark numbers can tall.
You may see the above picture as a common picture. But, if you're looking at it carefully, you'll see the CPU is Intel Core i7-9750H. 9750H is having 6 core 12 threads, instead of 2 core 4 threads. The virtual workstation is being allocated to have 2 core 4 threads. So, it's not a regular computer. Another sign that it's a virtual workstation is the blue bar, on top of the display, showing vGPU on ZB17.
POSSIBILITIES AND CONCLUSION
With the preliminary results in hands, we're quite confident enough that it will be possible to extend hardware acceleration to the virtual machine(s), making it possible to carry the title 'VIRTUAL WORKSTATION".
With properly configured HP Workstation (both Desktop and Mobile), it is possible for a single HP Workstation to share its rock solid performance to other computer(s) or user(s) as virtual workstation, inheriting identical stability with uninterruptable performance of the HP Workstation as the host.
With this solution, Sentra Grafika Kompumedia would be able to offer a very cost effective solution, that again, expands the possibilities, bringing the proposed value at least 2 TIMES higher as well as bringing down the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) when purchasing the HP Workstation from SGK.
Bimo Adi Prakoso, founder of Sentra Grafika Kompumedia, is an engineering-animation-broadcast industry professional and workstation evangelist. He's been in the Workstation industry since 1996, the era of SGI.