NVIDIA GRID K2 vGPU with Citrix XenServer part 2 – XenServer Installation

This post is a part of following series:

We already gathered some information about vGPU basics, so now it’s time to prepare test environment. In my case it will be (as declared before) HP ProLiant WS460c Gen8 WS Blade with Expansion Blade containing NVIDIA GRID 2 board.

1. Complete specification

Type: Server Blade
Manufacturer: HP
Product Name: ProLiant WS460c Gen8 WS Blade
ROM Version: I31 08/02/2014
CPU 1: Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650 v2 @ 2.60GHz (8 cores)
CPU 2: Not present
Memory: 32768 MB
Storage: 2x300GB 6G SAS 10K SFF (2.5) Enterprise
Smart Array Controller: HP Smart Array P230i Controller

NVIDIA GRID K2 Board:
Type: I/O Expansion Blade
Manufacturer: HP
Product Name: HP WS460 Expansion Blade
ROM Version: 2.27

2. Unboxing Server Hardware

As soon as your server is plugged in into the enclosure you should be able to see it with it’s expansion blade as partner devices over Onboard Administrator console (line 33 and line 58):

3. Installation of XenServer 6.5

Before I started installation, first step was to adjust some ROM-Based Setup Settings (F9 on boot screen) to make sure I get all available power:

  • Power Management Options -> HP Power Profile -> Maximum Performance
  • Power Management Options -> HP Power Regulator -> HP Static High Performance Mode
  • Power Management Options -> Advanced Power Management Options -> Memory Power Savings Mode -> Maximum Performance

Download latest XenServer 6.5.0 Base Installation ISO and XenCenter 6.5.0 Windows Management Console (available at: https://www.citrix.com/). Currently it is XenServer 6.5. Be aware of that you will need XenServer Enterprise Edition License to get premium features like: In-memory read caching, Dynamic Workload Balancing, GPU Virtualization (vGPU) with NVIDIA GRID, VMware vSphere to XenServer conversion utilities, Intel Secure Measured Boot (TXT) and Export Resource Data.

Good thing is that, customers who have purchased XenApp or XenDesktop continue to have an entitlement to XenServer, which includes all the features contained within the Standard Edition and many of those in the Enterprise edition, including GPU virtualization with NVIDIA GRID 😉

As soon as you boot your Server with XenServer 6.5 media installation interface will guide you step by step. You can either use static or DHCP config, you should enable thin provisioning to optimize the utilization of available storage (strongly recommended for XenDesktop in order for local caching to work properly). Below you can find small screenshots with all installation steps.

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Next step – installing HP SNMP Agents on our Server (Available at: HP SNMP Agents for Citrix XenServer). The HP SNMP Agents for Citrix XenServer utility installs HP SNMP Agents and HP System Management Home Page (SMH) on Citrix XenServer.

Problem is – there is no version for XenServer 6.5 now. Here are details for installation steps on 6.2: http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=emr_na-c03246094&sp4ts.oid=3544046

5. Installing the NVIDIA GRID vGPU Manager for XenServer

Always get latest NVIDIA GRID vGPU Software available at NVIDIA offical webpage – www.nvidia.com/drivers.

2015-02-11 19_32_51-Drivers - Download NVIDIA Drivers

The NVIDIA GRID software consists of:

  • GRID vGPU Manager (for example: NVIDIA-vgx-xenserver-6.5-341.08.i386.rpm)
  • Windows Display Driver (for example: 341.08_grid_win7_64bit_english.exe)

The GRID vGPU Manager runs in the XenServer Control Domain (dom0). It is provided as an RPM file, which must be copied to dom0 and then installed. To do so, upload your .rpm file on XenServer using for example WinSCP and follow steps shown in the codebox below:

Reboot the server:

When you server comes back online, you can verify drivers installation by typing “rpm -q NVIDIA-vgx-xenserver” or “lsmod | grep nvidia”.

Verify that the NVIDIA kernel driver can successfully communicate with the GRID physical GPUs in your system by running the nvidia-smi command, which should produce a listing of the GPUs in your platform:

To list the vgpu-type objects present on a platform, use xe vgpu-type-list. For
example, my platform contains single GRID K2 card, therefore the vGPU types
reported are solely those supported by GRID K2:

This actually ends our XenServer installation steps. I hope it was described good enough 😉 If you have any questions regarding this particular subject, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

In the next part of this article I’ll try to describe client side config (it’s actually only about drivers installation) and some tests results 😉

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