Open-sourced Virtualized GPU-sharing for KVM

Open source background concept glowingAbout a month ago Jack Madden’s Friday EUC news-blast (worth signing-up for), highlighted a recent  announcement from AMD around open-sourcing their GPU drivers for hardware shared-GPU (MxGPU) on the open-source KVM hypervisor.

The actual announcement was made by Michael De Neffe on the AMD site, here.

KVM is an open source hypervisor, favoured by many in the Linux ecosystem and segments such as education. Some commercial hypervisors are built upon KVM adding certain features and commercial support such as Red Hat RHEL. Many large users including cloud giants such as Google, take the open source KVM and roll their own version.

There is a large open source KVM user base who are quite happy to self-support, including a large academic research community. Open-sourced drivers enable both vendors and others to innovate and develop specialist enhancements. KVM is also a very popular choice in the cloud OpenStack ecosystem.

As far as I know, this is the first open-sourced GPU sharing technology available to the open source KVM base. AMD’s hardware sales model also suits this community well with no software license of compulsory support; a model paralleling how CPUs/servers are purchased.

Shared GPU reduces the cost of providing graphics and suits the economies of scale and cost demanded in Cloud well. I imagine for the commercial and cloud based KVM hypervisors, ready access to drivers can only help accelerate and smooth their development on top of KVM.

The drivers are available to download here:

https://support.amd.com/en-us/download/workstation?os=KVM# . Currently there are only guest drivers for Windows OSs. However being open source, this opens up the possibility for a whole host of third-parties to develop variants for other platforms.

There is also an AMD community forum where you can ask more questions if this is a technology of interest to you and read the various stacks and applications other users are interested in.

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