Did You Know That vSphere 5.5 Supports Graphic Acceleration for Linux Guests?

Either did I! Leveraging the GPU on the vSphere host it is possible to take advantage of performance acceleration. Using a guest five the entire Linux graphics stack can benefit from this improvement. Best part of all…VMware is releasing the driver code to the open-source community allowing for out of the box support reducing the need for addition tools and package installation.

The following Linux distributions are supported (based on their “What’s New Document”)

• Ubuntu: 12.04 and later • Fedora: 17 and later
• RHEL 7

With the new guest driver, modern Linux distributions are enabled to support technologies such as the following:

• OpenGL 2.1
• DRM kernel mode setting • Xrandr
• XRender
• Xv

Now the interesting part. While 5.1 released some basic support for 3D acceleration it was only supported on NVIDIA and left out AMD and Intel. With 5.5 they have expanded support to AMD but as of yet no support for Intel. Below is the statement from the KB

Note: This Compatibility Guide will always contain the most up to date information. Use as your primary source to verify 3D support for a guest operating system. Use this article as a secondary source.

Hardware requirements

  • AMD
    • FirePro S7000 /S9000/S10000
    • FirePro v7800P/V9800P
    • Grid K1 and K2

Software requirements

  • Windows 7 or Windows 8 virtual machines:
    • VMware Horizon View 5.x or later
    • vSphere Client or VMware Workstation client
  • Linux virtual machines with the vmwgfx driver:
    • Fedora 10 or later or Ubuntu 12 or later
    • vSphere Clients or VMware Workstation clients

Note: Linux virtual machines do not include Horizon View support.

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