Intel Pushes XenGT For GPU Access To Virtual Machines
Written by Michael Larabel in Virtualization on 27 March 2014 at 02:27 AM EDT. 8 Comments
Last month on Phoronix I wrote about Intel's new XenGT project as a means of mediated GPU pass-through to Xen-based guests. Today at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit is an update by an Intel engineer on the XenGT technology.

XenGT is a full GPU virtualization solution with mediated pass-through and on the VM side runs the system's native graphics driver for the targeted hardware. When it comes to Intel hardware, Haswell's Iris Graphics is their main focus along with next-generation Broadwell processors.

XenGT is designed just not for 3D graphics acceleration within guest instances but also for media acceleration and GPGPU compute acceleration. There's use-cases for XenGT within cloud computing, data centers, rich virtual clients, multi-screen infotainment, and other areas. With other Xen GPU pass-through solutions there is no ability for both the host and guest operating systems to each access the same GPU simultaneously but they must be independently assigned at this time as there isn't a guest virtual GPU driver as in the case of VMware SVGA2 or VirtualBox Chromium. With Intel's XenGT solution, however, there is sharing support -- multiple VMs can access the same graphics processor due to its full virtualization. XenGT is pushed as offering performance, features, and sharing capabilities.

Intel made a new release of XenGT this month that has stability improvements, supports guest resolution changes, enhances support for multiple displays and hot-plugs, and there is initial support for GPU recovery. For many OpenGL workloads, the performance of XenGT is 80%+ the host's solution while for some games it was just 60%+.

Those users of Xen virtualization that want to learn more about Intel's XenGT solution that will be presented in a few hours at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, the slides can be viewed right now in PDF form via this link. I'm in Napa Valley at this annual, invite-only summit so stay tuned for additional coverage later today as the more exciting talks get underway.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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