Category Archives: VMware

Step-by-Step guide on how to configure NVIDIA graphics on XenApp 7.6 with vDGA on VMware ESXi 5.5

This technical article explains how to configure a Windows 2012 R2 virtual machine to use the NVIDIA GPU pass-through under XenApp 7.6.

Many information about GPU usage on Citrix and VMware environments are already available on the internet, but I have never been able to find a quick and practical guide that explains how to configure it, so that’s why I wrote this article.

You will go through three main steps:

  1. Configure PCI pass-through in VMware
  2. Configure the Virtual Machine
  3. Enable GPU support in RDS sessions

Environment

The NVIDIA Card model is the “729851-B21 NVIDIA Grid K2 PCIe GPU Kit”:

  • Number of GPUs: 2
  • CUDA cores: 3072 (1536/GPU)
  • Memory size per board (GDDR5): 8GB (4GB/GPU)

Compatible with ProLiant SL250s/SL270s servers with Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 processors and ProLiant WS460c Graphics Server Blades:

http://www8.hp.com/us/en/products/accelerators/product-detail.html?oid=5410610#!tab=specs

All runs on VMware ESXi 5.5.

vDGA (Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration) is used in this environment, check the following articles for more information on the other GPU sharing technologies:

http://blogs.citrix.com/2014/01/08/under-the-hood-of-gpu-sharing-technologies/

http://www.brianmadden.com/blogs/brianmadden/archive/2014/03/26/clearing-up-the-confusion-around-vmware-amp-nvidia-s-vgpu-amp-vdga-daas-announcement.aspx

 

Procedure

Step 1 – Make sure that the GPUs are configured for pass-through in VMware

Make sure that the host has the GPUs available for pass-through (view from vSphere Web Client):

1

If they are not available, edit the settings (by clicking on the pencil icon), make the available and reboot the host:

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Step 2 – Configure the virtual machine

Adjust pciHole.start. Note: This is required only if the virtual machine has more than 2GB of configured memory. For virtual machines that have more than 2GB of configured memory, add the following parameter to the .vmx file of the virtual machine (you can add this at the end of the file):

pciHole.start = “2048”

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/vmware-horizon-view-graphics-acceleration-deployment.pdf

3

Set the pass-through in the VM:

4

Install the latest VMware Tools.

Install the NVIDIA Drivers for the GRID K2 cards, the latest version at the time of this writing is 347.52-quadro-tesla-grid-winserv2008-2008r2-2012-64bit-international-whql.exe.

The drivers can be downloaded from the NVIDIA website:

http://www.nvidia.com/download/driverResults.aspx/83305/en-us

5

6

7

Restart the server.

Make sure that you can find the NVIDIA GRID K2 card in the Device Manager:

8

You can run GPU-Z in order to make sure that the card is being used by the system.

9

Now you can install the Citrix XenApp 7.6 VDA.

 

Step 3 – Enable the GPU in the RDS session

The final step in the configuration requires enabling the GPU in the RDS/Citrix session, as per Citrix:

On Windows Server 2012, Remote Desktop Services (RDS) sessions on the RD Session Host server use the Microsoft Basic Render Driver as the default adapter. To use the GPU in RDS sessions on Windows Server 2012, enable the Use the hardware default graphics adapter for all Remote Desktop Services sessions setting in the group policy Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Remote Session Environment

http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-71/hd-3d-gpu-acceleration-win-server-os.html

 

Now you are ready to GO!

VMware ESX hgfs.dat file causes Terminal Services to duplicate users’ profiles

Environment:  Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, Citrix XenApp 5 Roll Up Pack 7, Citrix User Profile Management 3.2, VMware ESX 4.0.

Problem description: in some situation, when using Terminal Server roaming profiles or Citrix UPM, users connecting to a Terminal Server may have their profile duplicated in the form of user.domain.001, user.domain.002, user.domain.003 and so on.

Problem cause: the problem is caused by a bug in the VMware tools “shared folder” feature. Such feature is installed when VMware tools are installed with the “Complete” option. When a user logs off, the Terminal Server tries to copy the hgfs.dat file back to the profiles folder but the operation fails because VMware keeps the file locked with exclusive access. When the user logs in again, a new and duplicated user profile folder is created.

Problem solution: the “shared folder” feature can be disabled by modifying a registry key (the feature is not used by ESX and GSX  Server).

  1. Disable users logons on the server;
  2. When all users are logged off delete the profiles folders in c:\Documents and Settings\;
  3. Open the registry editor: regedit;
  4. Find the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider\Order\
  5. Open the “ProviderOrder” key and delete the the words “hgfs” or “vmhgs” or “vmhgfs” present in the string ;
  6. Reboot the server.
Support Articles: http://kb.vmware.com/