Wednesday, March 19, 2014

VMware View 5.3 with NVIDIA Grid Technologies with vSGA

I recently had the experience of working with the NVIDIA Grid technologies within VMware View 5.3 using the, now production, vSGA technologies. vSGA is basically the ability to share GPU's and VRAM (I know everyone hates this term from the licensing debacle VMware had, but now VRAM means video RAM, forget about the old use of the term). It took a bit of research to figure out the basic steps to make the Grid cards useful within the ESXi host.

Surprisingly enabling the 3D graphics support was really easy. There's an option on the VM to enable 3D graphics support, then you need to enable it on the View Desktop pool that you want to use it with. Before any of this gets done we have to prep the ESXi host to be able to use the adapter. You can take a read through the deployment guide to get all the details but I'll give you the quick and dirty version;

First we need to build our host and get the driver loaded, the driver can be downloaded from NVIDIA
  1. Install ESXi 5.5
  2. Put host into maintenance mode
  3. Load the NVIDIA Grid VIB
    1. esxcli software vib install –-maintenance-mode –d /vmfs/volumes/VNX_SAS_ISO/” (replace file path if necessary)
  4. Reboot host
  5. SSH to host
  6. Check to see if the “Xorg” service started

Next Check to see if the Driver associates with the correct card

Next we want to check that the GPU VM sees the card and is loaded and managing the card

This process has to be done for each host and basically at this point you can deploy your parent VM (be sure to take your snapshot and that the View agent is loaded). Enable the 3D graphics on the virtual video card of the VM and enable the 3D graphics on you desktop pool. After all that is done you can check to see if utilization goes up and down on the GPU's in the card. You should see the volatile GPU-Util % should fluctuate as GPU is needed.

I've found this makes a significant improvement on graphics performance for a view session.

Hope this is helpful