HP ProLiant G9z / NVIDIA GRID K180q / XenApp 6.5 VMs / WS2008R2 / vSphere 5.5 U2 / GPU Passthrough

I am having some issues getting the NVIDIA card to work as expected in the above configuration.

In summary, the steps I have followed so far from reading forums/blog posts etc are

  • Enable VT-D in BIOS
  • Install ESXi 5.5 U2
  • Enabled Device Passhtrough in ESXi (followed by restart)
  • Updated XenApp VMs to h/w version 10
  • Allocated reserved 64GB RAM to each VM along with 10vCPU
  • Added following to VMs vmx file (pciHole.start = “2048”) / restarted VM
  • Add new PCI Devices to VMs (1 x GPU per VM)
  • Installed NVIDIA GRID Series K1 drivers / restarted VM

I then followed Jasons video here to verify configuration

From this i found the following, when logging into console via vCenter

  • as expected, in Device Manager I see "VMware SVGA 3D" Display adapter and also now one for "NVIDIA GRID K1"
  • however when I run the NVIDIA Control Panel i get an error stating that its not being used so cannot run (Error is "You are not currently using a display attached to the NVIDIA GPU"

I have attempted the install via RDP and vCenter Console Session, and attempted to run the Control Panel via a full Console session and same issue.

When I load dxdiag the NVIDIA is not being utilised,

  • when using RDP it shows RDPDD Channel DD (which is expected)
  • when using vCenter console it shows VMware SVGA 3D (rather than the NVIDIA)

I have also disabled the "VMware SVGA 3D" adapter and rebooted but still no luck with accessing the NVIDIA Control Panel, when I run dxdiag after disabling, the adapter used is blank.

Any ideas on what I may have missed or would you expect this in a vCenter Console session to VM?

There may be times when GPU acceleration does not appear in systems on Server 2008 R2. This is due to the onboard GPU becoming the primary adapter and preventing acceleration occurring.

If the CAP driver is not installed then the on board server GPU will become primary and load it’s XPD driver.
Because server 2008R2 cannot support drivers from different windows models and we need the WDDM driver this will prevent our driver from loading. The CAP driver will allow the on-board GPU to be active during boot but will then disable the on-board driver (and the console display will go dark) after boot and allow our driver to load.

Follow the Microsoft documentation when setting up RemoteFX / RDSH etc.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff817602(WS.10).aspx – this discusses the CAP driver.

With Server 2012R2 the CAP driver is no longer required because Microsoft implemented a full WDDM software driver for on-board graphics.

That should help.