NVIDIA GRID: Linux Guest OS support for Linux distributions on Citrix and VMware

I was recently involved in a support inquiry where a user wanted to know if NVIDIA GRID vGPU was available on Linux VDAs with the Linux guest OS, OpenSUSE LEAP (the answer at the time of writing is that it’s NOT!). Finding the answer was a lot harder than I expected as both VMware and Citrix documentation took a bit of hunting around.

Much of the marketing around Linux VDA’s mentions support for “SUSE”, “CentOS” or other genres of Linux, such as this blog. It is important that customers check both their hypervisor and VDI solutions official support matrix as both Citrix and VMware only certify, QA and support specific versions of Linux Guest OSs (usually only enterprise supported versions). Customers may find themselves unsupported by the virtualization vendors if they fail to check that the OS and specific version is supported by both their hypervisor and VDI solution (especially if mixing vendors such as Citrix XenDesktop on VMware ESXi).

Both vendors are evolving their Linux support rapidly and customers must check the documentation associated with the relevant versions of VMware/Citrix products they intend to use.

NVIDIA cannot provide support for guest OSs unsupported by the relevant virtualization vendor and as such customers are recommended to contact VMware/Citrix if they wish to use alternative versions/distributions. It is very likely many other varieties of Linux will “work” but customers should be aware that they will be unable to obtain hypervisor or VDI support in the event of an issue.

At the time of writing Horizon 7 on ESXi supports:

  • Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.6 and 7.1
  • CentOS 6.6
  • NeoKylin 6 Update 1 (Chinese)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 SP3

 

At the time of writing Citrix XenDesktop 7.9 on XenServer supports:

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise:
    • Desktop 11 Service Pack 4
    • Desktop 12 Service Pack 1
    • Server 11 Service Pack 4
    • Server 12 Service Pack 1
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
    • Workstation 6.7
    • Workstation 7.2
    • Server 6.7
    • Server 7.2
  • CentOS Linux
    • CentOS 6.7
    • CentOS 7.2

Ongoing if you want to check the OSs available for a Linux VDA you should follow the advice below.

Citrix

XenServer Support for Linux Guest OSs

This is documented in the “Citrix XenServer® Virtual Machine User’s Guide” for the relevant version of XenServer e.g. for 7.0, here: http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/xenserver/xenserver-7-0/downloads/xenserver-7-0-vm-users-guide.pdf

XenDesktop Guest OSs Supported by the Linux VDA

This can be found in the Linux VDA product documentation for the relevant version of XenDesktop under the section “System Requirements” e.g. for XenDesktop 7.9 Please see http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-9/install-configure/suse-linux-vda.html (This is where I had to hunt around as bizarrely Citrix detail the genres and versions of Linux supported under each supported OS rather than in a master list, so the SUSE documentation is where you can find RHEL and other supported versions listed)

VMware

ESXi/vSphere Support for Linux Guest OSs

Supported Linux OSs are listed in the “VMware Compatibility Guide”: https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=software

Horizon Support for Linux Guest OSs

The versions and distributions supported by Horizon are listed in the FAQ for the appropriate release e.g. for Horizon 7, here: http://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/products/horizon/vmware-horizon-for-linux-faq.pdf

Is my NVIDIA M60, K1, K2, K5000 or my AMD Firepro W7000 supported by vSphere/XenServer/Other Hypervisor?

This is a question I continually see from customers and even those involved in deploying the technologies. 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. Continue reading Is my NVIDIA M60, K1, K2, K5000 or my AMD Firepro W7000 supported by vSphere/XenServer/Other Hypervisor?

Mode switching on NVIDIA M60 (GRID 2.0) cards – modeswitch tool

modeswitchingUpdate (24th Feb 2016): Jason Southern has published an overview and how-to-guide on this tool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAQhiNNFXxQ&feature=youtu.be

 

I had an enquiry this week asking what the “modeswitch tool” is and when a user should use it. Basically a GRID 1.0 K1/K2 user had been to a demo of the new GRID 2.0 M60 GPUs. As he hadn’t got M60 boards yet he didn’t have the tool and hadn’t downloaded it (so hadn’t read the very comprehensive documentation that comes with it explain when and why to use it) but he’d remembered some information from the demo and was trying to extrapolate that to his GRID 1.0 K1/K2 cards. Continue reading Mode switching on NVIDIA M60 (GRID 2.0) cards – modeswitch tool

Scalability benchmarking – XenDesktop 7.7 and Windows 7

SSSFellerWhen I worked at Citrix one of my now colleagues at NVIDIA (Jason Southern) came to us with a proposal and PoC (you can read the blogs about that experiment, here) for us to implement templates to assist users to configure and optimize HDX graphics for XenDesktop and XenApp (Template details – here). XenDesktop/XenApp 7.6 FP3 saw the release of these templates which allowed users to configure their graphics for the specific needs of their users (user experience vs. server scalability) and network conditions (WAN/limited bandwidth etc.). Continue reading Scalability benchmarking – XenDesktop 7.7 and Windows 7

Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp: Monitoring Products Available

A while back I wrote an article: “12 Monitoring Products for Citrix XenServer – including options for hybrid infrastructure and mobile, XenDesktop, Cloud, iPad”, since then I’ve moved into working in Product Management for HDX, providing the graphics technologies for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp. I’ve had numerous requests for a similar list of monitoring options for HDX within a Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop environment. Many of those applications, which I suggested for XenServer are also appropriate, but there are also many products available which are particularly tailored to the needs of a XenDesktop or XenApp user.

So off the top-of-my-head, in alphabetical order, a non-comprehensive list of Continue reading Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp: Monitoring Products Available

Limitations in monitoring shared NVIDIA GPU technologies

gpumonitoringA physical GPU can be shared in a number of ways such as NVIDIA vGPU with Citrix XenDesktop or XenApp or GPU-sharing with XenApp (this is actually a form of pass-through with the sharing done at the RDS layer), or used 1:1 with VMs in VDI with GPU pass-through.

When using a pass-through mechanism the Continue reading Limitations in monitoring shared NVIDIA GPU technologies