vSphere supports SR-IOV in an environment with specific configuration only. Some features of vSphere are not functional when SR-IOV is enabled.

Supported Configurations

To use SR-IOV in vSphere, your environment must meet several configuration requirements.

Table 1. Supported Configurations for Using SR-IOV

Component

Requirements

Physical host

  • Must be compatible with the ESXi release.

  • Must have an Intel or an Intel or AMD processor.

  • Must support I/O memory management unit (IOMMU), and must have IOMMU enabled in the BIOS.

  • Must support SR-IOV, and must have SR-IOV enabled in the BIOS. Contact the server vendor to determine whether the host supports SR-IOV.

Physical NIC

  • Must be compatible with the ESXi release.

  • Must be supported for use with the host and SR-IOV according to the technical documentation from the server vendor.

  • Must have SR-IOV enabled in the firmware.

  • Must use MSI-X interrupts.

PF driver in ESXi for the physical NIC

  • Must be certified by VMware.

  • Must be installed on the ESXi host. The ESXi release provides a default driver for certain NICs, while for others you must download and manually install it.

Guest OS

Must be supported by the NIC on the installed ESXi release according to the technical documentation from the NIC vendor.

VF driver in the guest OS

  • Must be compatible with the NIC.

  • Must be supported on the guest OS release according to the technical documentation from the NIC vendor.

  • Must be Microsoft WLK or WHCK certified for Windows virtual machines.

  • Must be installed on the operating system. The operating system release contains a default driver for certain NICs, while for others you must download and install it from a location provided by the vendor of the NIC or the host.

To verify that your physical hosts and NICs are compatible with ESXi releases, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

Availability of Features

The following features are not available for virtual machines configured with SR-IOV:

  • vSphere vMotion

  • Storage vMotion

  • vShield

  • NetFlow

  • VXLAN Virtual Wire

  • vSphere High Availability

  • vSphere Fault Tolerance

  • vSphere DRS

  • vSphere DPM

  • Virtual machine suspend and resume

  • Virtual machine snapshots

  • MAC-based VLAN for passthrough virtual functions

  • Hot addition and removal of virtual devices, memory, and vCPU

  • Participation in a cluster environment

  • Network statistics for a virtual machine NIC using SR-IOV passthrough

Note:

Attempts to enable or configure unsupported features with SR-IOV in the vSphere Web Client result in unexpected behavior in your environment.

Supported NICs

All NICs must have drivers and firmware that support SR-IOV. Some NICs might require SR-IOV to be enabled on the firmware. The following NICs are supported for virtual machines configured with SR-IOV:

  • Products based on the Intel 82599ES 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller Family (Niantic)

  • Products based on the Intel Ethernet Controller X540 Family (Twinville)

  • Products based on the Intel Ethernet Controller X710 Family (Fortville)

  • Products based on the Intel Ethernet Controller XL170 Family (Fortville)

  • Emulex OneConnect (BE3)