4 ways to get Autodesk REVIT to work on Citrix XenDesktop VDI with NVIDIA Tesla M60
We had some issues getting REVIT 2018 working on our VDI environment so we’ve written this blog for some helpful troubleshooting tips in case the same problems occur elsewhere.
Miranex host and deliver NVIDIA GRID virtual remote desktops using Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp. In order to serve the Construction and BIM (building information modelling) sectors we needed to provide REVIT 2017 and REVIT 2018 to our clients using our existing VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) set up.
Hardware Acceleration Not Working
REVIT 2018 had no problem installing on our Windows Server 2012 remote desktop. The problem came when trying to use hardware acceleration which REVIT uses to access the local (or in this case virtual) GPU card to increase performance during modelling and rendering.
An error occurred stating “Hardware Acceleration disabled. Software emulation mode is in use”. Software emulation mode is not helpful as it does not use the GPU card to improve REVIT performance.
It took a lot of research in forums, speaking with NVIDIA, Citrix and AutoDesk, which created a number of solutions along the way, and eventually we found a solution that worked for us.
I have created this blog to show all of the potential solutions that we tried, in case these work for your particular circumstance. Good luck!
Miranex Limited or the author of this blogs takes no risk or responsibility for the implementation of any advice or solutions in this blog or linked sites. Use these steps at your own risk.
1. Update Your NVIDIA Drivers and Citrix XenServer Software
This seems simple but most of the advice you will read will insist you do this, in fact some forums won’t answer you unless you do this first. Be careful though, in some cases the latest software may not support the latest drivers and vice versa.
Our infrastructure was as follows:
Cirtix XenServer version 7.9
(Version 7.9 on Storefront and version 7.15 on the VMs (virtual machines). Granted the difference in versions here was not ideal but we were confident this was not causing our issue.)
NVIDIA GRID 5.0 (the latest available at the time)
Windows Server 2012
NVIDIA Tesla M60
2. Install a Previous Version of AutoDesk REVIT
AutoDesk only test a limited number of graphics cards and they only certify a proportion of these, as such the software may reject your GPU card if it does not appear in its approved list of GPU cards. This list is the key to different solution explained later.
You can download and install various previous versions of REVIT and other Autodesk software using the Virtual Agent link below. At first, I did not think it was a legitimate source but it actually is the official location to download the software from.
For REVIT 2017 (which I was trying) you needed to download both zip files to the same directory, then double click/extract only the first one. The program will begin to install and it will access the second file automatically. Reboot as instructed.
3. Amend the Predefined REVIT Approved GPU Hardware List
This trick / workaround / hack was provided to me via a REVIT forum via AutoDesk. It is quite a neat solution and worked for a colleague who was having similar issues to us but working with an NVIDIA GRID K2 GPU card.
As mentioned previously, on start-up REVIT cross-check the GPU card that is being presented against a predefined list that it has. By renaming this list, REVIT can’t approve or disapprove a GPU card therefore operates in a ‘don’t care’ mode. As such the software may work or it may not work.
The list is a text file and can be found in the following locations:
C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit 2018\AsdskHardwareCertificationReport.xml
You can view the content in notepad, you will need administrator access.
If you rename this file by adding “_OOTB” at the end (or anything else), REVIT will no longer look at this list. It’s advisable not to delete the file and do this when REVIT is closed.
When you start REVIT again, the Hardware Acceleration option should be able to be enabled. You may see a message saying that the GPU card is unrecognised but Hardware Acceleration is turned on.
For our situation, this had mixed results. The hardware acceleration did turn on and was working as the manipulation an operation of the REVIT model was much faster, however the image display was corrupted making in unusable. The display created black streaks, blocks and lines emanating from the centre of the model outwards whenever the model was stationary. The model was fine when it was being moved or rotated.
Below is a picture of the display output of REVIT using un-approved hardware acceleration with an NVIDIA Tesla M60 in Revit 2018 (and Revit 2017).
So this solution may work for certain graphics cards and Macs but was not workable for us.
4. Install the Latest Windows OS
Annoyingly and thankfully, this worked first time. This solution was simply to install Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016. This was not advised on any of the information I found online but recommended to try by a colleague of ours.
The reason for the recommended change to Windows 10 was due to the fact that Windows Server 2012 isn’t a supported operating system for REVIT. Windows Server 2012 is designed for terminal services, however it would seem that it is exactly these functions that cause the issues with certain software. Also, Windows 10 had a number of changes in the graphics subsystem for RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) for the launch of their RemoteFX functionality. Remote FX was implemented by Microsoft as their own multiuser GPU acceleration platform and inadvertently solved issues in other hypervisors e.g. Citrix and VMWare. These changes evidentially solved much of the conflicts seen in earlier Windows operating systems in virtual environments.
With the change to Windows 10 amending the list as suggested in solution 3 was not required.
Once installed, REVIT still does not officially support the NVIDIA Telsa M60 and says as much in the graphics tab in the options, but the virtual graphics card, in this case a 1Q profile, was recognised and the hardware acceleration worked perfectly.
REVIT and BIM (Building Information Modelling) GPU Remote Desktops
Miranex offers GPU Remote Desktops meaning that REVIT and other CAD software and their users do not need a powerful laptop or desktop to run their complex software. All of the wrk and data resides in the secure Cloud. The platform is an ideal way to enable working on graphics or compute intensive software from any remote location on any device.
For the BIM and construction industry being able to manipulate and use the complex software on location can save time and money. Client we work with are able to immediately compare on site As Built layout with this the design plans. They are able to spot conflicts earlier, communicate more easily with the office and save time and cost by rectifying problems much earlier.
All you need in a 4G mobile internet connection and you can log in from any computer to your secure GPU remote desktop and continue working as normal. You can see video of these working on our webpage or Youtube channel.
Whether you spend a lot of time travelling or you want to virtualise your whole office, the Miranex GPU Remote Desktops are a great cost effective and future proof solution. If you’re looking to move to the cloud and still want to use complex software, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.miranex.com.
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