When you create or edit a farm of instant clone RDS machines, you can configure 3D graphics rendering for your farm. Instant clone farms support NVIDIA GRID vGPU for 3D rendering.

Horizon does not directly control settings for 3D rendering of an instant-clone farm as it does with full-clone virtual machines. You need to configure 3D settings in the ESXi hosts, and then in your golden image using the vSphere Client. Instant-clone virtual machines will inherit those settings from the golden image. Horizon Console will display some of the settings you configured, but you cannot edit or interact with those settings.

The ESXi host assigns GPU hardware resources to virtual machines on a first-come, first-served basis as virtual machines are created. By default, the ESXi host assigns virtual machines to the physical GPU with the fewest virtual machines already assigned. This is the best performance mode. If you would rather have the ESXi host assign virtual machines to the same physical GPU until the maximum number of virtual machines is reached before placing virtual machines on the next physical GPU, you can use the GPU consolidation mode. You can configure this mode in vCenter Server for each ESXi host that has vGPU installed. For more information, see the VMware Knowledge Base (KB) article https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/55049.

If you are only using a single vGPU profile per vSphere cluster, set the GPU assignment policy for all GPU hosts within the cluster to the best performance mode in order to maximize performance. In this case, you can also have instant-clone pools and full-clone pools that use the same vGPU profile in the same vSphere cluster.

You can have a cluster with some GPU enabled hosts and some non-GPU enabled hosts.

NVIDIA GRID vGPU has these potential constraints:

  • RDP is not supported.
  • The virtual machines must be hardware version 11 or later.
  • vMotion of a VM between vGPU-enabled hosts is supported starting with vSphere 6.7. You cannot use vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) with vGPU.
  • Horizon does support creating a vGPU instant-clone farm using a cluster with some vGPU enabled hosts and non-vGPU enabled hosts, and will just ignore the non-vGPU enabled hosts when creating the farm. You can not use vMotion to move an instant-clone from a GPU-enabled ESXi host to an ESXi host that does not have GPU hardware configured.

To enable an instant-clone farm to use NVIDIA GRID vGPU:


  1. Install NVIDIA GRID vGPU in the physical ESXi hosts.
  2. In vCenter Server hardware graphics configuration, select the Host Graphics tab, and in Edit Host Graphics Settings, select Shared Direct.
    ESXi host uses the NVIDIA GRID card for vGPU.
  3. Prepare a golden image with NVIDIA GRID vGPU configured, including selecting the vGPU profile you want to use.
  4. Take a snapshot of the golden image.
  5. In Horizon Console, when you create an instant-clone farm, select this golden image and snapshot.


Horizon automatically displays NVIDIA GRID vGPU in the 3D Render field. Horizon also displays the vGPU profile you chose in the golden image. Instant clones inherit the settings configured in the vSphere Client for the golden image.

The vGPU profile cannot be edited from Horizon Console during the instant-clone farm creation process, To edit the vGPU profile for a farm once the farm has been created, you can create a new image with the updated vGPU profile, take a snapshot, and then do a push-image operation. For information on push-image operations, see the Setting Up Virtual Desktops in Horizon document.