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I'm looking for a VM Product that has the following features:
- Being able to access the underlying hardware (GPU especially?)
- I have Virtualization Support on my CPU, so that's not a problem.
- Easily start up and manage my VMs either through a web or program interface.
- Free?
- Be able to remotely connect to my VMs (I could always use RDP, but I hear Citrix XenDesktop has the ability to do video playback?)

If Requirement #1 can't be met by any of them, what do you suggest for all of the other requirements? I was leaning towards XenDesktop until they told me the GPU can't be virtualized due to many virtualization products dealing only with server hardware...

Hardware Specs:
- AMD CPU (2.5 Ghz) with AMD-VT support.
- 4 GB of DDR2 RAM
- NVIDIA 9600 GT
- 400 GB OS HDD (WD)
- 1TB Storage HDD (WD)

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3 Answers 3

GPU Virtualization isn't here yet. At least not properly. VMWare Workstation has it as an experimental feature.

As for the rest of it - Are you able to dedicate a piece of hardware to be a VM host, or does this need to run on top of your existing operating system?

If you're dedicating some hardware, then Citrix XenServer or VMWare ESXi are excellent, comparable choices, and both are free. ESXi has a web interface which can be used for console access to VMs, and will work fine over the 'net.

If you can only run VMs on top of an existing Windows/Linux installation as you'll be using it for other tasks, then it depends on your choice of OS. VMWare Workstation is a good choice, but not free.

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1  
Hyper-V Server is also free and would be easy to learn if you're familiar with Server Core: microsoft.com/hyper-v-server/en/us/default.aspx –  Chris S Jun 22 '10 at 0:58
    
I like the idea of VMWare Workstation allowing for DirectX support. I'm going to test it out now to see if I can run Source-based games ok with it. If it does appear that it runs well, what would you recommend for streaming this out to a laptop? I hear with Windows 7 SP1 they are going to introduce a update to the RDP protocol (RemoteFX?) that allows for the rendering to be done server-side, while still allowing the client to experience it? –  Chris Jun 22 '10 at 2:42
    
Based on the RemoteFX blurbs, the server will need to be 2008 R2, and the clients Windows 7. I wouldn't hold out for a playable gaming experience over the system at this point, as MS will be targeting things like CAD systems initially where the FPS requirements are a notch lower (read: 10FPS as opposed to 30+) –  Chris Thorpe Jun 22 '10 at 4:06
    
Ah, ok. Thanks for your help guys. I think I'll go with KVM for right now, then switch to Server 2008 R2 (I have license keys from MSDN) if RemoteFX turns out to be good. –  Chris Jun 22 '10 at 4:44

Xen over Ubuntu can do that.

We were successful in our lab ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gtmwnx-k2qg

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I think latest Xen Server is your solution. I've tested GPU virtualization under Supermicro compute node with 2 NVIDIA Tesla C2050. Under the hood of Xen Server, you can create new virtual machines and forward host's PCI slot to any vm. I could connect two GPUs to two different CentOS virtual machines. But I failed to connect any GPU to Windows 7 vm.

I should notice that GPU virtualization feature in GUI is not free under the free version of Xen Server. But you can always use command line to forward PCI slot.

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