vSphere 7 Assignable Hardware and Dynamic DirectPath I/O for Latency Sensitive Applications

Lately I’ve been looking into virtualizing latency sensitive applications like the ones used in a lot of financial institutions. In vSphere 6 and below, configuring SR-IOV to hardware accelerate network traffic for latency sensitive VM’s would limit the vSphere features per the SR-IOV Support documentation. This is also true with DirectPath I/O. However, the good news is that vSphere 7 has a new feature called Assignable Hardware that has two consumers; The new Dynamic DirectPath I/O and NVIDIA vGPU. Dynamic DirectPath I/O helps by providing the same functionality as ‘legacy’ DirectPath I/O, but does not pin a workload/VM to a host. This brings back HA and DRS Initial placement to VM’s configured for latency sensitive applications. vMotion is not supported because vSphere cannot live migrate a VM that is directly tied to a physical device. SR-IOV devices are also supported by Assignable Hardware when used as pure passthrough devices.

The VMware High Performance Compute team has been working with our vSphere development teams to bring more capabilities to high performance compute and latency sensitive virtualized workloads without sacrificing bare metal performance.

For more details on Assignable Hardware, check out:

vSphere 7 – Assignable Hardware

vSphere 7 – Using Assignable Hardware with Dynamic DirectPath IO

VMware for AI & ML Workloads

28 years ago I spent a year preparing a University thesis focused on Neural Networks. Practical usage and the job market wasn’t there back then but lots has changed and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) is everywhere. VMware has been focused on AI/ML for awhile by incorporating it into its products and making it easier for customers to run those types of workloads on top of vSphere. Recently I started looking deeper into this and uncovered some great resources that I thought I would share.

This is a good blog summarizing VMware’s strategic direction: VMware’s AI/ML direction and Hardware Acceleration with vSphere Bitfusion

AI/ML was popular at VMworld 2020 and you can see a list of the focused sessions here: Your Guide to AI/ML Content at VMworld 2020. To view the recorded session, you can go to the VMworld On-Demand Video Library. If you don’t have an account already, you can create one.

Some of the announcements at VMworld 2020:

To keep up to date check out the VMware ML/AI BLOG: VMware Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence