We've got a server running Windows Server 2012 r2 with two guests: another Win Server 2012 and Ubuntu Server. We have recently purchased a couple of Nvidia Titan X GPUs to accelerate deep-learning software under Ubuntu Sever, but Hyper-V has no GPU-passthrough option, so I've decided to get rid of the Windows Server host and install Ubuntu. The problem is, I still need the guest Windows machine to work under the new host with RDP access. Any recommendations?

Update 1: I forgot to mention that our machine has 2 physical CPUs. That's important, I guess.

Update 2: After several hours of research, I believe KVM is the way to go. I know it's a bad idea to use the host Ubuntu as a physical machine and a host at the same time, but I see no other option (but purchasing another machine, which is not really an option). There is ESXi with GPU-passthrough, but it has issues with non-server Nvidia GPUs and very weird licensing.

P.S. I know I can install VM Ware ESXi, that supports GPU-passthrough, but people on the web report multiple problems with Nvidia cards.

  • 1
    Which hypervisor are you going to use? Ubuntu can at most be the host OS, you'll still need a hypervisor to actually run VMs. Oh, and it's very bad practice to have the host system actually run applications while also hosting VMs; you should use it either as a physical server or as a VM host, but not both at the same time. – Massimo Mar 30 '16 at 11:52
  • @Massimo I thought of the VM Ware vSphere – Eli Korvigo Mar 30 '16 at 12:13
  • VMware vSphere is synonimous with ESXi; it's a bare-metal hypervisor, it doesn't run on another operating system; but it supports GPU pass-through. – Massimo Mar 30 '16 at 13:34
  • The VMware product which runs above an existing operating system (Windows or Linux) is WMware Workstation; but it's a type-2 hypervisor, and it's designed for consumer use (development, testing), not for production or server use. – Massimo Mar 30 '16 at 13:36
  • @Massimo I know vSphere (ESXi) is a type-1 hypervisor (just like MS Hyper-V and KVM). What I intended to say was that it has Ubuntu-client for configuration. – Eli Korvigo Mar 30 '16 at 14:46

If you want to ensure problem free use of the gpu acceleration you are probably best off getting another physical server and not virtualizing it.

Last time I checked VMware was the far ahead of everyone else when it came to gpu passthrough, so if that doesn't work properly with your cards, you are likely limited to using physical machines to run your gpu accelerated tasks.

  • I plan to use the host Ubuntu for the GPUs, so no passthrough will be required. The Windows guest doesn't need to access the GPUs for what it does. The problem is, I need a recommendation for a good hypervisor for Ubuntu, that supports Windows guests and can work with 2 physical CPUs (10 physical cores each). So far the only option I've found is the vSphere (ESXi), but it has some weird licensing. – Eli Korvigo Mar 30 '16 at 12:18
  • Again: ESXi is its own operating system, it doesn't run on Ubuntu (or on anything else). – Massimo Mar 30 '16 at 13:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.