The "Use my ESXi host for multiple HTPC's using passtrough" project

Discussion in 'Virtualized Computing' started by Zarathustra[H], Jan 11, 2016.

  1. 0ptional

    0ptional Don't Trust Your Friends with Your Decanter

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    This is pretty interesting to hear, I have a setup with a virtual HTPC and a bunch of other VM's for a home lab I've got going on, but I use separate USB controllers for the VM's I need hardware access to. I use an AMD R5 230 (HD6450 essentially) passed through and have no issues at all.

    I rolled my own ESXi ISO by using the powershell script from v-front: http://www.v-front.de/p/esxi-customizer-ps.html

    Should download the latest build including the correct patch (I've checked, mine is 3380124, same as update 1b released January 7th), and you can update from the repo's there to get access to the 'esx-ui' web based management tool, avoiding using the java appliance all the time, most updated cpu-microcode and support for non-native/HCL sata controllers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  2. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    Hmm..

    Maybe all is not lost after all...

    Do you know if this will work with just the hypervisor?

    I'd hate to roll my own ISO, upgrade my hypervisor, and then have the license not work anymore...
     
  3. 0ptional

    0ptional Don't Trust Your Friends with Your Decanter

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    You should just be able to upgrade from the esxi cli. Enable ssh within vsphere then you can update the hypervisor from the cli.
     
  4. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    Yeah, I tried that based on the guide here, but I wound up with an error message no one else on there seems to be getting:

    Code:
    [root@localhost:~] esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
    
    [root@localhost:~] esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.0.0-20160104001-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/...
    
    [MetadataDownloadError]
    
    Could not download from depot at https://hostupdate.vmware.com/..., skipping (('https://hostupdate.vmware.com/..., '', '[Errno 4] IOError: <urlopen error="" [errno="" -2]="" name="" or="" service="" not="" known="">'))
    
    url = https://hostupdate.vmware.com/...
    
    Please refer to the log file for more details.
    So I did some poking aropund in the logs, and this was the most detail I was able to find:

    Code:
    Accepted password for user root from 127.0.0.1
    2016-01-31T04:10:37.072Z info hostd[FFF5CA80] [Originator@6876 sub=Vimsvc.ha-eventmgr opID=be858a37] Event 157 : User root@127.0.0.1 logged in as
    2016-01-31T04:10:37.195Z error hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.VmwareCLI opID=be858a3d user=root] GetPrimitiveParam: Cannot find (help)
    2016-01-31T04:10:37.195Z info hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.VmwareCLI opID=be858a3d user=root] Dispatch update
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.089Z info hostd[25503B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Hostsvc.VmkVprobSource] VmkVprobSource::Post event: (vim.event.EventEx) {
    -->    key = -1,
    -->    chainId = 1634953472,
    -->    createdTime = "1970-01-01T00:00:00Z",
    -->    userName = "",
    -->    datacenter = (vim.event.DatacenterEventArgument) null,
    -->    computeResource = (vim.event.ComputeResourceEventArgument) null,
    -->    host = (vim.event.HostEventArgument) {
    -->       name = "localhost.localdomain",
    -->       host = 'vim.HostSystem:ha-host'
    -->    },
    -->    vm = (vim.event.VmEventArgument) null,
    -->    ds = (vim.event.DatastoreEventArgument) null,
    -->    net = (vim.event.NetworkEventArgument) null,
    -->    dvs = (vim.event.DvsEventArgument) null,
    -->    fullFormattedMessage = <unset>,
    -->    changeTag = <unset>,
    -->    eventTypeId = "esx.audit.net.firewall.config.changed",
    -->    severity = <unset>,
    -->    message = <unset>,
    -->    arguments = (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) [
    -->       (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) {
    -->          key = "1",
    -->          value = "enable"
    -->       },
    -->       (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) {
    -->          key = "2",
    -->          value = "esxupdate"
    -->       }
    -->    ],
    -->    objectId = "ha-eventmgr",
    -->    objectType = "vim.HostSystem",
    -->    objectName = <unset>,
    -->    fault = (vmodl.MethodFault) null
    --> }
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.090Z info hostd[25503B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Vimsvc.ha-eventmgr] Event 158 : Firewall configuration has changed. Operation 'enable' for rule set esxupdate succeeded.
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.332Z info hostd[24DD2B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Hostsvc.VmkVprobSource] VmkVprobSource::Post event: (vim.event.EventEx) {
    -->    key = 0,
    -->    chainId = 0,
    -->    createdTime = "1970-01-01T00:00:00Z",
    -->    userName = "",
    -->    datacenter = (vim.event.DatacenterEventArgument) null,
    -->    computeResource = (vim.event.ComputeResourceEventArgument) null,
    -->    host = (vim.event.HostEventArgument) {
    -->       name = "localhost.localdomain",
    -->       host = 'vim.HostSystem:ha-host'
    -->    },
    -->    vm = (vim.event.VmEventArgument) null,
    -->    ds = (vim.event.DatastoreEventArgument) null,
    -->    net = (vim.event.NetworkEventArgument) null,
    -->    dvs = (vim.event.DvsEventArgument) null,
    -->    fullFormattedMessage = <unset>,
    -->    changeTag = <unset>,
    -->    eventTypeId = "esx.audit.net.firewall.config.changed",
    -->    severity = <unset>,
    -->    message = <unset>,
    -->    arguments = (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) [
    -->       (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) {
    -->          key = "1",
    -->          value = "disable"
    -->       },
    -->       (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) {
    -->          key = "2",
    -->          value = "esxupdate"
    -->       }
    -->    ],
    -->    objectId = "ha-eventmgr",
    -->    objectType = "vim.HostSystem",
    -->    objectName = <unset>,
    -->    fault = (vmodl.MethodFault) null
    --> }
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.333Z info hostd[24DD2B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Vimsvc.ha-eventmgr] Event 159 : Firewall configuration has changed. Operation 'disable' for rule set esxupdate succeeded.
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.462Z info hostd[235D3B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Hostsvc.VmkVprobSource] VmkVprobSource::Post event: (vim.event.EventEx) {
    -->    key = 0,
    -->    chainId = 0,
    -->    createdTime = "1970-01-01T00:00:00Z",
    -->    userName = "",
    -->    datacenter = (vim.event.DatacenterEventArgument) null,
    -->    computeResource = (vim.event.ComputeResourceEventArgument) null,
    -->    host = (vim.event.HostEventArgument) {
    -->       name = "localhost.localdomain",
    -->       host = 'vim.HostSystem:ha-host'
    -->    },
    -->    vm = (vim.event.VmEventArgument) null,
    -->    ds = (vim.event.DatastoreEventArgument) null,
    -->    net = (vim.event.NetworkEventArgument) null,
    -->    dvs = (vim.event.DvsEventArgument) null,
    -->    fullFormattedMessage = <unset>,
    -->    changeTag = <unset>,
    -->    eventTypeId = "esx.audit.net.firewall.config.changed",
    -->    severity = <unset>,
    -->    message = <unset>,
    -->    arguments = (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) [
    -->       (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) {
    -->          key = "1",
    -->          value = "enable"
    -->       },
    -->       (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) {
    -->          key = "2",
    -->          value = "esxupdate"
    -->       }
    -->    ],
    -->    objectId = "ha-eventmgr",
    -->    objectType = "vim.HostSystem",
    -->    objectName = <unset>,
    -->    fault = (vmodl.MethodFault) null
    --> }
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.462Z info hostd[235D3B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Vimsvc.ha-eventmgr] Event 160 : Firewall configuration has changed. Operation 'enable' for rule set esxupdate succeeded.
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.609Z info hostd[235D3B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Hostsvc.VmkVprobSource] VmkVprobSource::Post event: (vim.event.EventEx) {
    -->    key = 0,
    -->    chainId = 0,
    -->    createdTime = "1970-01-01T00:00:00Z",
    -->    userName = "",
    -->    datacenter = (vim.event.DatacenterEventArgument) null,
    -->    computeResource = (vim.event.ComputeResourceEventArgument) null,
    -->    host = (vim.event.HostEventArgument) {
    -->       name = "localhost.localdomain",
    -->       host = 'vim.HostSystem:ha-host'
    -->    },
    -->    vm = (vim.event.VmEventArgument) null,
    -->    ds = (vim.event.DatastoreEventArgument) null,
    -->    net = (vim.event.NetworkEventArgument) null,
    -->    dvs = (vim.event.DvsEventArgument) null,
    -->    fullFormattedMessage = <unset>,
    -->    changeTag = <unset>,
    -->    eventTypeId = "esx.audit.net.firewall.config.changed",
    -->    severity = <unset>,
    -->    message = <unset>,
    -->    arguments = (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) [
    -->       (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) {
    -->          key = "1",
    -->          value = "disable"
    -->       },
    -->       (vmodl.KeyAnyValue) {
    -->          key = "2",
    -->          value = "esxupdate"
    -->       }
    -->    ],
    -->    objectId = "ha-eventmgr",
    -->    objectType = "vim.HostSystem",
    -->    objectName = <unset>,
    -->    fault = (vmodl.MethodFault) null
    --> }
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.610Z info hostd[235D3B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Vimsvc.ha-eventmgr] Event 161 : Firewall configuration has changed. Operation 'disable' for rule set esxupdate succeeded.
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z info hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.VmwareCLI opID=be858a3d user=root] Dispatch update done
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z info hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.VmwareCLI opID=be858a3d user=root] Dispatch update failed
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z info hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Default opID=be858a3d user=root] AdapterServer caught exception: vim.EsxCLI.CLIFault
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z info hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Activation [N5Vmomi10ActivationE:0x24483ee0] : Invoke done [update] on [vim.EsxCLI.software.profile:ha-cli-handler-software-profile]
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z verbose hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Arg allowdowngrades:
    --> (null)
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z verbose hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Arg depot:
    --> (string) [
    -->    "https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml"
    --> ]
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z verbose hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Arg dryrun:
    --> (null)
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z verbose hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Arg force:
    --> (null)
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z verbose hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Arg maintenancemode:
    --> (null)
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z verbose hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Arg noliveinstall:
    --> (null)
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z verbose hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Arg nosigcheck:
    --> (null)
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z verbose hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Arg profile:
    --> "ESXi-6.0.0-20151004001-standard"
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z verbose hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Arg proxy:
    --> (null)
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.771Z info hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Throw vim.EsxCLI.CLIFault
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.772Z info hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Solo.Vmomi opID=be858a3d user=root] Result:
    --> (vim.EsxCLI.CLIFault) {
    -->    faultCause = (vmodl.MethodFault) null,
    -->    errMsg = (string) [
    -->       " [MetadataDownloadError]",
    -->       " Could not download from depot at https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml, skipping (('https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml', '', '[Errno 4] IOError: <urlopen error [Errno -2] Name or service not known>'))",
    -->       "        url = https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml",
    -->       " Please refer to the log file for more details."
    -->    ],
    -->    msg = ""
    --> }
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.772Z warning hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Locale opID=be858a3d user=root] Resource module 'EsxCLI' not found for locale 'en', using from default locale...
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.772Z warning hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Locale opID=be858a3d user=root] Resource module 'EsxCLI' not found.
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.772Z warning hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Locale opID=be858a3d user=root] Resource module 'EsxCLI' not found.
    2016-01-31T04:10:38.777Z info hostd[25544B70] [Originator@6876 sub=Vimsvc.ha-eventmgr opID=be858a3f user=root] Event 162 : User root@127.0.0.1 logged out (login time: Sunday, 31 January, 2016 04:10:37, number of API invocations: 0, user agent: )
    I'm not fluent in esxcli, but I see nothing here that gives me any hint as to why it won't work for me, when it seems to be working for everyone else...


    I would greatly appreciate any thoughts toy might have.
     
  5. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    So this was good info.

    I was able to get the Update 1b ISO like this. Now I just need to figure out how to to the update.

    I'll probably wind up DD:ing an image of my boot drive just in case, so that if I run the update, and suddenly it thinks it is a full fledged vpshere install, and my key ceases to work, I can revert.
     
  6. 0ptional

    0ptional Don't Trust Your Friends with Your Decanter

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    Your best bet might be just installing to a new flash drive and importing your datastores and VM's to the new software stack prior to applying your license.

    I get away with the free licensed version of ESXi 6 as I've only got 1 CPU socket, similarly I also fall within the parameters of a free licensed version of ESXi 5.5 as I'm capped at 32GB RAM due to my platform.

    You will require licensing for either version as you've got greater than 1 CPU socket and greater than 32GB RAM.

    I can't however think of any reason why whatever license you're using now, so long as it allows you access to the hardware you have listed wouldn't work on the updated base image profile for 6.0 U1b
     
  7. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    Well, honestly I'm confused about their different product lines.

    I'm running a single standalone hypervisor, and that's all my license works on. It would not work on a Vsphere installation, only Vsphere Hypervisor. It is a free license I've just been reusing since I originally installed ESXi 5.0

    It doesn't seem to limit me on the sockets or on the RAM (I have two sockets, 6 cores with hyperthreading each, and 96GB of RAM). Maybe I'm grandfathered in somehow?

    The truth is, I find VMWares different products more confusing than any product lineup of any other company I have ever seen, and their disaster of a confusing mess of a website doesn't really help either.
     
  8. 0ptional

    0ptional Don't Trust Your Friends with Your Decanter

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    Yeah, they generally expect to have someone on their end doing the licensing for you.
     
  9. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich Gawd

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    The 32GB limit for free tier was removed with one of the 5.5 versions. IIRC, u1 in 2013.

    I had to get a new free license for 6.0. Haven't run into any related issues so far, but it's on an E3 with 24GB, so...
     
  10. speedyrazor

    speedyrazor n00bie

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    Hi, I know this threads been dead for a while, but I am at the point of wanting to do exactly this. I have been using an i5 Desktop with Linux running TVHeadend and Kodi, then Odroids (Like Pi's) in the kitchen, bedroom, etc. I use Vsphere and VM's in my work, so am now at the stage where I would like to combine the lot into one main Server, using ESXi and passthrough to multiple graphics cards. I would like some advice on a good 'budget' setup (Motherboard and Xeon CPU's), nothing new, good and cheap. Any advice would be very welcome please.

    Regards.
     
  11. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    Well, I was never really able to make this work properly, either with ESXi or Proxmox. I eventually abandoned this project in favor of individual HTPC's in each room. My problem was that I needed Nvidia support, and it is much trickier to get Nvidia passthrough working than it is with AMD GPU's.

    My system was a great bang for the buck with older Westmere-EP Xeons and a new old stock Supermicro X8DTE motherboard on eBay, but I picked that up in the summer of 2014, so it's getting a bit old and slow by modern standards.

    I'm sure others here, or in the Virtualization subforum can help with recommendations of what the current bang for the buck setup might be.
     
  12. speedyrazor

    speedyrazor n00bie

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    Hi Zarathustra[H], thanks for your reply. I'm hoping things have changed over the past year and more Nvidia cards are cpabale of passthrough (or just wishfull thinking). How can I tell if an Nvidia card is capable of passthrough?
     
  13. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    My understanding is that it simply can not be done in ESXi due to Nvidia blocking it in their driver. If they discover they are passed through, the driver refused to work.

    Nvidia wants to sell expensive professional GPU's for passthrough purposes.

    If - however - you go with KVM and some other third party hypervisors, there are workarounds, but nothing that is guaranteed to work. You need to doit in UEFI mode, which isn't always fully supported in the bios of the system or the firmware ofthe GPU, so it may be on a Case by case basis.

    Try googling for Nvidia passthrough and UEFI and limit your search time wise to the last year or two and see what you can find. Things may have changed since I did it.
     
  14. metril

    metril Limp Gawd

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    You can passthrough Nvidia GPUs now. You need to add an additional parameter to the VMX file that effectively hides the hypervisor from the guest OS. Then, Nvidia drivers will work.
     
    LTROI likes this.
  15. speedyrazor

    speedyrazor n00bie

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    Hi metril, that's excellent news. Do you know of a good tutorial on how to do this please?

    Regards.
     
  16. rtangwai

    rtangwai [H]ard|Gawd

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  17. speedyrazor

    speedyrazor n00bie

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    Indeed,I'll give it a try,thanks.
     
  18. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    Just coming back to this one, as i recently tried to run an AMD 380 under ESXi 6.5 but get ESXi rebooting, similar to this person's issue.
    https://communities.vmware.com/thread/549146

    Sounds like the same pass-off issue you noted which some internet folk noted only went away if they went all the way back to 5.5
     
  19. speedyrazor

    speedyrazor n00bie

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    I have just tried this with ESXi 6.5, Nvidia GT710 on Ubuntu 16.04, but as soon as I intall the Nvidia drivers and reboot, I get to the login screen and get stuck there, login in just returns me to the login screen, unable to login.
    Any ideas please?
     
  20. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    I want to lean towards 6.5 having some internal problems with GPU pass through..
     
  21. rtangwai

    rtangwai [H]ard|Gawd

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    No ideas - I don't passthrough GPUs anymore because I found its usefulness limited compared to even cheap GPUs on workstations.

    One way to test if it is ESXi or Ubuntu is to try to create a Windows VM and see if it uses the nVidia GPU correctly. If it fails it's ESXi acting up, otherwise it's Ubuntu.

    Some motherboards are more sensitive to passthrough than others - what are you using?
     
  22. bman212121

    bman212121 Gawd

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    I can say that I've been attempting GPU pass through on and off for more than 5 years and I've not seen a stable system yet. If I had to guess the people who are getting this working, are spending a lot of time tweaking things. Years ago it used to require firmware flashes to even get something that worked well, and oddly enough Nvidia used to be better luck than AMD. The couple of people who are actually using this setup and not scrapping are probably developers and have a much deeper understanding of what's going on with their system and can debug at a lower level. I don't think GPU passthrough is a priority for VMware, so I'd guess KVM might be the most likely route we might see an easier path with. Right now, I would say without a doubt that the UnRaid guys have the best solution. I was able to go through their web interface and setup GPU passthrough quite easily and actually get it to work. But I don't recall if that system stayed working either after a few reboots. That and for an all in one solution I was concerned with the security / flexibility of the hypervisor.

    There are three solutions that I know work and I've thought about how to set them up. One is HyperV. Rather than doing the whole GPU passthrough, you can use GPU acceleration in an RDP session. That actually works and is stable, but required extra licensing to use. The tradeoff is that it's definitely not bare metal performance, so DX11 / 12 of modern titles isn't going to happen. Another possibility is Virtualbox. You can pass GPU performance to the VM, and that works fairly well. It might be possible to figure out a way to access the console of your VM in a way that would allow you to just run multiple VMs side by side. The last one I haven't tried, but it should work is using ESX, but with VMware View. Once again hardware accelerated clients that you access through a protocol remotely, and give you 3d accelerated graphics on the other side.

    Personally I'm more hopefully the open source guys will try to chase the GPGPU crowd and come up with a free solution to Microsoft and Vmware's solutions so we can just divide GPU time between VMs. Performance wouldn't be quite as high as native, but it would probably work well enough and be less complicated than try to give a physical piece of hardware to a virtual machine.
     
  23. InorganicMatter

    InorganicMatter Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    So I am looking at doing a project like this, but haven't purchased the hardware for it yet. Am I correct in understanding that I can avoid all the woes in this thread if I just buy an AMD GPU?
     
  24. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    Not really, i am using an AMD gpu (380)and under ESXi 6.5 January update GPU pass through fails and hangs ESXi requiring a force reboot.