Is the NVIDIA M60, K1, K2, K5000, other…. supported by vSphere/XenServer/Other Hypervisor?

Answer ID 4116
Published 05/09/2016 11:47 AM
Updated 05/10/2016 10:58 AM

Is the NVIDIA M60, K1, K2, K5000, other…. supported by vSphere/XenServer/Other Hypervisor?

The reasons behind the answer are quite complicated, but the answer itself is a simple yes or no, and the steps to find it out are very easy, once you know them.

The support situation

GPU cards are not supported for “hypervisors”! GPUs are only supported for the combination of Server model, hypervisor version, GPU model and GPU technology, for example:

Image

How to check if your GPU is supported for VMware vSphere

·        Is your combination of server, vSphere version, GPU technology and GPU on the vSphere/ESXi HCL (Hardware compatibility list), here: vSphere HCL/ESXi HCL

·        If yes it is fully supported.

 

How to check if your GPU is supported for Citrix XenServer

·        Is your combination of server, XenServer version, GPU technology and GPU on the XenServer HCL (Hardware compatibility list), here: Citrix XenServer HCL,

·        If yes it is fully supported.

 

What if it works but isn’t listed on the HCL?

It is likely that both server manufacturer and hypervisor vendor will refuse a support call involving your GPU. Hypervisor vendors such as Citrix or VMware will not usually provide support for uncertified hardware combinations.

 

Can NVIDIA provide a support statement if VMware/Citrix/Other doesn’t have a combination on its HCL?

No NVIDIA cannot, as the type of problems that arise, are usually server or hypervisor related and we do not have access to partners closed code nor the power to resolve other vendors’ hardware or software faults.

 

What should I do if my combination is not on the VMware/Citrix HCL?

·        Contact your server OEM (e.g. Dell, Cisco, IBM, HP, Supermicro etc, as they submit their servers with a limit range of GPUs they choose to support and test to the hypervisor vendors for certification

·        Contact the hypervisor certification teams at Citrix and VMware who liaise with the OEM vendors so that they are aware you want to use certain hardware with their hypervisor

o   Citrix XenServer please contact the Citrix Ready program (CitrixReady@citrix.com),

o   VMware ESXi/vSphere please contact the VMware Ready program.

Warnings

Just because a GPU and server combination is certified for use as a physical server does not mean it will work when a hypervisor is added. Even if it does work it may well not be certified, tested or supported. Adding a hypervisor is comparable to changing the server and so neither server OEMs nor hypervisor manufacturers will support systems with hypervisors unless certified with that hypervisor.

The GRID certified servers listed on NVIDIA’s web pages are those that have passed NVIDIA’s NVQUAL certification for use with GRID products within physical servers. Customers seeking to virtualize their servers must additionally verify that the hypervisor vendor and server OEM have performed additional certification to the server and it is on the appropriate hypervisor’s “Hardware Compatibility List” (HCL) for the appropriate GPU technology (vGPU/GPU-passthrough, vDGA, vSGA, etc):

·        Citrix XenServer HCL,

·        vSphere HCL/ESXi HCL

 

References:

·        Citrix Blog on HCL and GPU certification: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2014/01/14/xenserver-and-xendesktop-nvidia-support-for-gpu-passthrough-on-cards-including-the-k5000/

Relevant Products

NVIDIA GRID and Quadro products used in virtualized environments including VMware / Citrix hypervisors using GPU passthrough, vGPU, vSGA, vDGA

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