We plan to purchase an Intel server for our customer, who has the need for OpenGL support on one of its VM. Usually we would buy the vSphere Essential Kit and for OpenGL the PNY Quadro P620 - without installing a vCSA. It does not need to look pretty or render fast awesome effects. Is it as easy as plugging the graphics card into the server, enable it in the VM and run the simulation software within? Or do I need special cards or special licenses?
We talked a lot to Wortmann, our favorite server manufacturer, and PNY, our #1 vendor for CAD graphic cards. We were all sure, this SHOULD be possible. After it was not possible for us three to find out for SURE, Wortmann and PNY sent me test samples to try it. Here's the setup:
Terra Server 7420 G3 (2x Xeon Gold 5122 on S2600ST with 96GB RAM)
PNY Quadro P1000
Host: ESXi 7.0.1
Guest: Windows Server 2019 Standard
It was very tricky to get this to work, but since there are many people out there who spent a lot of time getting this running on desktops (with Workstation Player), I've got an idea of some considerations. A few essential benefits of virtualization have to be disabled (e.g. cpu nesting, snapshots, vm security) and some side effects make life harder (e.g. remote console can't display the output of the graphics card), so it's only a solution in special cases. But in those cases it's really cool having accelerated graphics on virtualized servers and desktops without the need of upgrading to Horizon / GRID / Tesla. On the picture you can see the native ESXi-output on the right display, the output of the Quadro on the large display and my tiny notebook running the VM within RDP. You can see Unigine Heaven benchmark with 40-60 fps at 1920x1080 in OpenGL. D3D9, 10, 11 and 12 were also possible with different apps. Surprisingly the 3D graphics result of Passmark was 20% higher than the reference for a P1000 (tested twice).
The result of this thread: IT DEFINITELY WORKS! Feel free to contact me on Xing for further questions.