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Using arivis Vision4D over Remote Desktop

This article highlights some considerations when using Vision4D from a remote machine over RDP.

Introduction

Generally, it is best to use Vision4D on a system that is local to the data storage. Since data storage of very large datasets can be challenging on standard desktop or laptop systems a common workaround is to use a high-end imaging workstation with lots of storage, and to access this workstation using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).  However, these configurations have historically been problematic with regard to GPU utilization. This article aims to clarify some of those issues and provide solutions.

GPUs and RDP

Good graphics cards are essential for good 3D rendering performance. Our system hardware recommendation article goes into more details on this topic, but for now, we'll keep it simple and say that Vision4D needs at least OpenGL 4.3 support or higher to display data in the 4D viewer. 

RDP allows users to remotely access the computing resources of a machine other than the one they are physically in contact with. However, using RDP is in many ways significantly different from directly accessing the machine. One of these differences is how the graphics card uses its resources. Historically, using GPUs over RDP has required professional cards with specific drivers, and this is still a good guideline as server cards are generally tuned for multiple concurrent usage and use with RDP. Gaming cards, which are usually significantly cheaper, have historically not provided good support for use with RDP. However, recent driver updates from NVIDIA have significantly improved the compatibility of their GPUs with RDP. 

The following configurations have been tested internally and confirmed to work:

System 1 2 3 4 5 6
Graphics Card GeForce RTX2080Ti GeForce GTX1080 GeForce GTX970 GeForce GTX1080Ti GeForce GTX1080 GeForce GTX1080Ti
Windows Version 20H2 2004 2004 20H2 1909 2004
Driver Version 456.71 456.71 452.06 461.09 451.67 451.67

These systems have been tested using access from a variety of clients, including Mac and Linux clients.

Licensing

the use of Vision4D over RDP is also limited by the licensing system we use.

As of 2020, soft licenses are delivered with RDP enabled by default.

Licenses purchased earlier may be upgraded to enable RDP under certain circumstances. If you have a soft license but RDP is disabled, please contact support using the link at the top of this page.

If you have a Network license, hard or soft, RDP is on by default.

If you have a hard local license, these licenses cannot be configured for RDP. If RDP is necessary, please contact your local sales representative to discuss replacing your hard key for a soft key or any other options that might work for you.

Conclusions

While the configurations tested above work, remote desktop GPU support is mostly outside of arivis' control. However, there are a few things we recommend:

  1. Always make sure you have the most up to date windows version and drivers for your graphics card
  2. If your GPU doesn't work over RDP, first check that it works when used locally and then contact your IT support team or your GPU manufacturer
  3. Pro graphics card are generally recommended for server installations and multi-user setups