Today NVIDIA announced a new monitoring SDK / API incorporated into its GRID vGPU products as part of their GRID August 2016 (4.0) release. This will be available from Friday 26th August 2016 as a software release for existing hardware, greatly enhancing the functionality for existing as well as new customers. (You can read the announcement here).
NVIDIA has broken ranks with traditional hardware-only GPU models and recognized enterprises needs software to manage and monitor GPUs as a component of the data centre. Software licensing has enabled existing customers to benefit from new features with fully supported software, directly supported by NVIDIA (you wouldn’t run your Microsoft OS or CAD software unsupported!). Continue reading Significant leaps in virtualized NVIDIA vGPU monitoring
Just a quick blog aimed at those looking to develop GPU hypervisor monitoring products by integrating the NVIDIA GPU metrics exposed by XenServer via their APIs. Really it’s a bit of a guide as to where to find the information provided by Citrix.
Two NVIDIA GPU technologies are available on Citrix XenServer:
GPU (PCIe) pass-through (including GPU-sharing for XenApp and VDI passthrough)
vGPU (shared GPU technologies)
Owing to the nature of PCIe passthrough whereby the hypervisor is bypassed and the VM itself obtains complete control and sole access to the GPU, host and hypervisor level metrics are not available to the NVIDIA SDK and APIs on host nor to the hypervisor.
Developing a supported solution
Many Citrix customers insist on a monitoring solution being certified by the vendor via the Citrix Ready program. ISVs are advised to join the Citrix Ready program (access level is free) to obtain advise on developing a supported product and to eventually certify and market their product. In particular ISVs are recommended to evaluate the conditions of the vendor self-certification “kit” for supported products.
Whilst monitoring can be performed by inserting a kernel module or supplemental pack into XenServer’s dom0 this is an unsupported mechanism that Citrix generally will not support and customers are rarely willing to compromise their support agreements to use such products. ISVs are strongly advised to consider using the XenServer APIs and SDK to access metrics in a supported manner. See: https://www.citrix.com/partner-programs/citrix-ready/test.html (under XenServer-> Citrix XenServer (6.x) Integrated ISV Self-Certification Kit).
XenServer SDK / API
The XenServer API provides bindings for five languages: C, C#, Java, Python and Powershell.
Citrix’s XenCenter code is open source and includes monitoring functionality. In addition to APIs for XenServer, the XenCenter code is also available and XenCenter is extensible via the XenCenter Plugin model.
A few lucky folks at E2EVC, a couple of weeks ago in Las Vegas, got a sneak preview of a couple of new community tools for analyzing application usage of NVIDIA GPUS. I have already blogged about Jeremy Main’s GPU Profiler (read about it – here).
The other tool is one from community GPU and virtualisation expert Magnar Johnsen from Norway, who is well-known in the Virtualisation communities for his GPU-enabled deployments and tools. Magnar was in fact one of the community users who we invited to NVIDIA to speak to our engineers and product managers about the future direction of our products and user needs.
One particularly interesting feature is the tools ability to monitor if applications are using APIs to use the GPU for DirectX (DX9, DX10, DX11) and OpenGL, OpenCl, CUDA etc.
Magnar Johnsen is a EUC solution specialist, blogger, speaker, and community tool developer with +15 years experience in End User Computing. Magnar works as a consultant in Bergen in Norway. He has worked with Citrix, Microsoft and VMware products since 1999 and with NVIDIA products since 2012. Magnar has a passion for technology, computer visualization and virtual reality. He has basic experience with 3D modeling, graphic manipulation and video effects which helps him better design and implement 3D and graphical applications in a virtual environmet. He has assessed, designed, implemented and supported many virtual graphics solutions based on NVIDIA techology for small to large companies in Oil and Gas industry in Norway. Magnar shares his knowledge, tools and experience on his blog http://www.virtualexperience.no and speaks at several industry conferences like Citrix Synergy, Briforum and Citrix User Group. You can follow Magnar for updates on his blog and GPU Sizer on twitter @MagnarJohnsen.
Just a quick blog to highlight a new community tool written as a hobby project by one of our GRID Solution Architects, Jeremy Main. As a community tool this isn’t supported by NVIDIA and is provided as is. The advantages of releasing this in this way is that Jeremy has provided the tool on github where partners, customers and the community can access it, discuss enhancements and report bugs. Continue reading GPU Profiler – NVIDIA Community Tool
I had some fun at NVIDIA GTC 2016 taking part in a hands-on lab run by the SA (Solution Architecture) organisation of which I am a part. These labs are proving really useful for walking new-users to GRID through key operations on both VMware and Citrix stacks. The guys running it mooted adding more on monitoring once you have got set-up and I kind of volunteered to have a crack at a bonus chapter for the hands-on around monitoring on Citrix.
Some weeks ago I published this post, listing a few of the monitoring products I saw used by XenApp/XenDesktop sys admins. It was an off-the-top-of my head list, completely uncomprehensive! Since then though I’ve had a number of people send me their recommendations and lists of similar products! The lists from a few have been vast and included many products I’ve never heard of! As such I can’t possible review them or vouch for them but for those looking to evaluate monitoring products it may be useful if they are willing to do their own due diligence!
Jason Southern from NVIDIA released a video this week describing how to measure and understand the framebuffer usage for technologies used by Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop and HDX, the video is available here.