Game Server Licensing

I’m thinking about building a local game server based on either grid k340 or k520. What will be the best licensing model? Virtual Application or Virtual PC scenario?


depends on the OS platform. vApps license is for Terminal Services (Server OS) only and vPC is for VDI. Therefore I assume you would go with vPC. But you mentioned K340 or K520, these cards aren’t Tesla based cards (not sure if they are available any more at all) and shouldn’t need licensing. For current gaming performance it would make sense to have at least a look on GRID M60 card.



As Simon says above, the Kepler GRID Cards don’t require licenses, so if you use the ones you’ve mentioned, there’s no additional cost. However, they are using an architecture that’s 2 generations old, so depending on your performance, feature and session count requirements, you may be better looking at a more modern Card based on Maxwell or more preferably (and depending on the below) Pascal.

Which Hypervisor are you planning to use?
Which type of games are you planning to host?
Any FPS requirements?
How are you planning to access the games?
How many sessions are you planning to host per physical server?
Is this a production or proof of concept type platform?

I’d be interested in the answers to those questions, as there may be more suitable alternatives…




thnx for your answer.

  • At the moment I’m planning to have WMWare Horizon hypervisor;
  • I would like to run newest games like GTA V, Mafia III etc.;
  • we are currently working on SDK samples. The idea is to rely on it for own built client to be used for game streaming;
  • as per M60 tech specs it is feasible to have 32 CCU. I would like to understand which of 3 licensing models will fit my requirements in case there will be one dedicated VDI for every connected user and a standard PC on user end will be used to grab streaming video and control a dedicated VDI.


Ok, so vSphere is your Hypervisor, and Horizon / Blast is your delivery mechanism.

Depending on the kind of experience you want to deliver, you may want to revise your CCU expectations. You need to use the game with the highest system requirements as your minimum, and with the 2 you have mentioned, that’s Mafia.

Mafia’s minimum requirements are a fast multi-core CPU (3.3Ghz), 2GB GPU and 6GB RAM. The GPU will be your CCU limit, as you are bound by the limit of the vGPU profiles. So with 2x M60s, you’re looking at a Max of 16 CCU. Because the memory is hard allocated to the VM on boot (you cannot use VMwares memory sharing technology) you’ll also need 96GB of server RAM just for the VMs, so realistically 128GB for the entire server. As for CPU, using Intels E5-2667 v4 gives you 8 Cores @ 3.2Ghz (16 with HT). So with both sockets populated you have 16 real cores and 32 HT. If you stick with the minimum recommendations, you’re going to be allocating 4 vCPUs per VM. With 16 VMs and your CPU specifications, that’s a 2x CPU over-commit, plus the Hypervisor requirements.

If your other games have a higher minimum requirement, you’ll have to adjust your server / VM specs and CCU to account for it.

If any of your games require more than 60FPS, then you will have to look at other options, as the vGPU profiles have a 60FPS max limit. You can bypass this with a command, but you then risk impacting all other VMs as a single vGPU profile can consume more resource than the others. However, with a fully populated server, I doubt you’ll hit 60FPS on every session, but it’s something to be aware of nonetheless.

Regarding licensing, using a 2GB vGPU (remember, 2GB being the highest minimum requirement), you potentially have only 1 option. I had to investigate this a little more as I wasn’t 100%, but the only option is the vWS license (M60-2Q).

The reason you can’t use the vPC license, is because 1GB is the highest vGPU profile currently allowed. As for the vApp license, although it will allow 1-8GB vGPU profiles, you are delivering a full desktop, not an App.

The licensing has raised an interesting technical query for me, and I’ve asked Rachel from Nvidia for clarification. I’ll update this when I have an answer as it may provide additional licensing options.

There are potential alternatives to this design you may wish to investigate …

For clarity, I’ve used specifications and references from these links:


NVIDIA Licensing:




I’ve had my licensing query answered by Nvidia.

Although the above referenced documentation (currently) makes no mention of the following delivery method, Nvidia have come back to me and confirmed it is an acceptable use case for the vApp licensing. I have asked for the documentation to be updated to reflect this so it is clear.

My knowledge of VMware application delivery methods is not quite as good as my Citrix, so I’m unsure if this applies to the above use case, however, if this were a Citrix platform running XenDesktop, you would have the ability to “Publish” the Games from outside of the desktop OS and use the vApp licensing method. (Citrix call it VM Hosted Apps It is the same method of delivery as using XenApp, where you Publish just the resources and not give access to the desktop, the only difference being that the underlying OS is a desktop, not server.

So, I need to be crystal clear until the documentation is updated, as this is important: If the end user is only getting entitlement to a remoted app and the deployment does not use a Quadro driver, then vApps should be fine. If the entitlement is a desktop OS, or if the deployment is using Quadro, then vPC or vWS would be required.

I’m obviously focusing on the vApps licenseing, becasue as mentioned above, this gives you access to all but 1 of the frame buffer profiles (1-8GB).

This is significant, because the price difference between vApps and vWS licensing is quite large. You are effectively going from the most expensive Nvidia license method, to the cheapest.

VMware had a technology called AppBlast that offerd a similar delivery method using a HTML5 browser and may have been applicable, but I’m not able to find that much recent information on it. Horizon 7 only seems to list applications hosted on RDSH, which you are not using. However, as I mentioned above, there are potential architecture alternatives you could look at to make it work …



Hi BJones,

thanks a lot for your effort in clarifying and it is great that simplest license method can be applied.
In your tech calculation you mentioned lack of CPU for 16 CCU however I thinks 2x Intel E5-2697A with total 64 HT will sort this out. I have one HP DL380 G9 server which I’m planning to use for startup.

How license server will determine whether I utilize license properly(hosting an app or entire desktop)?
What other potential alternatives to this design you meant?


No problem at all.

As this is purely for gaming, I highly recommend you re-evaluate which CPU you select. Although using a pair of E5-2697A will provide lots of Cores / threads, 2.6Ghz is not a fast CPU, and although it will run the games to some degree, I personally don’t think it will be fast enough to give the kind of experience you are after. Remember, most games favor higher Clock speed over Cores as they are not multi-threaded so won’t use multiple Cores, and you cannot increase that Clock speed if it isn’t fast enough. The minimum recommended Clock speed for Mafia, is 3.3Ghz, that is much faster than 2.6Ghz. Clock speed is king, not Core count.

Regarding the licensing and how you choose it, this is done within vCenter. You select the GPU profile you wish to use when creating your VMs. The VMs then contact the license server when they start up and "check out" a license.

If you are unable to deliver the App outside of the desktop as mentioned above using VMware, you may want to try replacing the desktop OS with a server OS, and treat it in the same way. This will allow you to use the same NVIDIA vApp licensing and deliver the games as published apps. The actual OS isn’t important, it’s the games that are important. Delivering just the apps, rather than a full desktop makes life a lot easier.