To use a GPU in a vSphere Bitfusion server, you must enable the device in passthrough mode. The operation allows the GPU to be accessed directly by the server, bypassing the ESXi hypervisor, which provides a level of performance that is similar to the performance of the GPU on a native system.

When using passthrough mode, each GPU device is dedicated to the virtual machine (VM) of the vSphere Bitfusion server. You can use multiple physical GPUs in passthrough mode. The following procedure must be performed for all GPU devices, that you plan to use in a vSphere Bitfusion server.

Prerequisites

  • Verify that your GPU device is supported by your server vendor.
  • Verify that your GPU can be used in passthrough mode.
  • Verify you have created a virtual machine for the vSphere Bitfusion server.
  • Verify whether your GPU device maps memory regions with a total size of 16 GB or more.
    Note: Typically, high-end GPU cards need high amounts of memory mapping. These memory mappings are specified in the PCI Base Address Registers (BARs) for the device. You can find relevant information in the vendor documentation of your GPU.

Procedure

  1. If your GPU requires 16 GB or more of memory mapping, in the BIOS settings of the ESXi host, enable the GPU for passthrough.

    Typically, the name of the setting is Above 4G decoding, Memory mapped I/O above 4GB, or PCI 64-bit resource handing above 4G.

  2. Enable the GPU for passthrough on the ESXi host.
    1. In the vSphere Client, right-click on the ESXi host and select Settings.
    2. On the Configure tab, select Hardware > PCI Devices, and click Configure Passthrough.
    3. In the Edit PCI Device Availability dialog box, in the ID column, select the check box for the GPU device.
    4. Click OK.

      The GPU is displayed on the Passthrough-enabled devices tab.

    5. Reboot the ESXi host.
  3. Enable UEFI or EFI in the boot options the virtual machine.

    The VM of the vSphere Bitfusion server must boot in EFI or UEFI mode for correct GPU use.

    1. In the vSphere Client, right-click on the VM.
    2. Select Edit Settings > VM Options > Boot Options.
    3. From the Firmware drop-down menu, select UEFI or EFI.
    4. Click OK.

During the deployment process of the vSphere Bitfusion appliance, you can pass through the GPU to the VM of the vSphere Bitfusion server.