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07.14.2015 - Using the Intel Xeon Phi Compute Accelerator with ESX 6.0

View VMware related news. Compute accelerators -- whether they be GPUs, Intel Xeon Phi, or FPGAs -- are increasingly common in HPC and so it is important that we assess the use of such technologies from within VMware vSphere® as part of our efforts to virtualize research computing and other HPC environments. Last year when I tested Intel Xeon Phi in passthrough mode (VM Direct Path I/O) with VMware ESX® 5.5, we found that it didn't work due to some limitations in our passthrough implementation. However, using an engineering build of ESX, I was able to successfully configure the device in passthrough mode, run Intel's bundled Phi performance tests, and demonstrate good performance. While this wasn't of practical use to customers since I was not testing with a released version of ESX, it did validate that with appropriate engineering changes it would be possible to use Intel Xeon Phi with ESX and achieve good performance. It was a promising first step. With the release of ESX 6.0, Na Zhang recently validated that, 1) ESX 6.0 does now correctly allow access to Intel Xeon Phi in passthrough mode, and 2) performance is generally very good. This blog entry shares our performance results and explains how to expose Intel Xeon Phi [...]]>...

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