VMware Prepares Linux Driver For Next-Gen Virtual GPU

Written by Michael Larabel in Virtualization on 5 May 2021 at 05:49 AM EDT. 37 Comments
While physical GPUs may be in short supply right now, VMware is preparing for "SVGA v3" as their next-gen virtual PCI graphics adapter for use within VMware virtual machines for graphics acceleration backed by the host.

VMware has long provided reliably Linux graphics acceleration to their virtual machines under Linux with their "SVGA" graphics adapter backed by a mainline, open-source driver stack. That's worked out well and is now being extended for VMware's forthcoming third iteration of SVGA.

The SVGA v3 virtual device aims for efficiency and modernization improvements. VMware v3 now uses MMIO for register accesses, MSI-X support, and deprecating or removing lots of old functionality. In addition to modernizing the virtual device and resulting driver code, some performance improvements can be expected from this work.

With SVGA v3 also comes the ability to enjoy 3D guest acceleration on 64-bit ARM. The initial ARM64 changes were sent out for the Linux kernel driver in preparing for that ARM64 3D support.

The initial kernel patches for bringing up SVGA v3 within their Linux kernel DRM driver and also beginning preparations for 64-bit ARM support can be found via this patch series. Hopefully with SVGA v3 will ultimately come Vulkan driver support for VMware guests.
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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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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