Friday, November 16, 2012

High End Video Cards, IBM servers and Virtulization.

Today I found this announcement of new products for the dx360 M4

Now I normally don't use this model of computer, but just decided to look at it.  So I looked at the specs of the server then saw the specs of two of the cards, the NVIDIA Tesla K20, and the NVIDIA VGX K1 / K2

The server can handle 2 half length full height cards, with 2 servers in a 2 u space, so that is 4 GPUs in 2U.
The K20 was just a number cruncher, nothing exciting there, could be used for mathematics, or large scale models or something like that.  but the VGX K1 was interesting.  It was a video card that is supposed to be used for virtualized workloads.  From their website:

"VGX boards feature NVIDIA Kepler-based GPUs that, for the first time, allow hardware virtualization of the GPU. This means multiple users can share a single GPU, improving user density while providing true PC performance and compatibility."

Now that is interesting.  What struck me as more interesting is this.  The GPU is supported right now under the following OS's

  • XenDesktop with HDX 3D Pro
  • XenServer
 And is coming for these platforms:

  • XenDesktop with HDX
  • XenServer with NVIDIA VGX Hypervisor
  • RemoteFX
  • Windows Server 2012
  • VMware View with vSGA
  • ESX
 And I see that the dx360 M4 supporting these OS's

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Datacenter x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows HPC Server 2008
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Server with Xen x64 Edition
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Server x64 Edition
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 x64 Edition
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 with Xen x64 Edition
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 x64 Edition
  • VMware ESX 4.1, ESXi 4.1, and 5.0
 So if I look and see what both card and Server OS support, right now, there is nothing.  Now knowing IBM and what the officially support on their products, I don't see XenServer being a platform that they will add.  And I don't see any development of support of the VGX on RedHat which would say it would be supported by KVM.  I can see This server being supported by Windows 2012 when things get rolling, and that leaves one thing in the wings...

..VMware.  I am guessing that there might be an upgrade on the hypervisor's part for it to better handle virtual GPUs.  For vSphere and for View.  I don't think IBM would work on and develop a > $3500 video card for a server that no platform will support.

I guess we will have to wait and see.


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