MacStadium Blog

GPU Passthrough & Virtualization with Mac Private Clouds

Do you need to configure GPU passthrough for your virtual machine? Our recent webinar includes step-by-step instructions for Orka, VMware, and Anka.

Are you a developer who requires direct access to your GPU with virtual machines? If so, then you might be interested in MacStadium’s recent webinar, “GPU Passthrough & Virtualization with Mac Private Clouds.”

GPU passthrough is now available in each of MacStadium’s macOS virtualization solutions, but what does GPU passthrough capability mean for you? How is it done with virtual machines?

In this webinar, our Systems Engineering Manager Max Kelley explains how to directly access GPU with Orka, VMware, and Anka.

Why GPU Passthrough with Virtual Machines?

Because virtual machines use different variations of emulation to display graphics, most virtual platforms have some means of allowing virtual machines direct access to the GPU instead of using emulation. It is important for a virtual machine to have direct access to the GPU in order to enable Apple’s Metal API. Apple’s Metal API provides a significant performance improvement for games and video-related software requiring complex scenes to be rendered on screen.

Benefits for Performance and Graphics Rendering

GPU passthrough will benefit developers and teams that are doing any kind of graphics rendering, as it allows 3D hardware acceleration generally. It will also provide a significant performance boost for applications that require access to GPU for memory-intensive parallel computations, such as those called for in machine learning.

Requirements and Limitations for Each Platform

Whether you’re using Orka, VMware, or Anka, it’s important to remember that each platform has its own unique requirements and limitations when it comes to GPU passthrough.

For developers working with VMware or Orka, GPU passthrough can only be configured for a single VM per host/node. Running multiple VMs with GPU passthrough enabled on the same host is not currently supported with either of these two platforms. Anka, on the other hand, does currently support multiple VMs with GPU passthrough enabled on a single host.

But, it is important to note that performance will vary between the different platforms based on supported hardware and macOS models.

During this webinar, we provide step-by-step instruction to properly configure GPU passthrough for Orka, VMware, and Anka. We recommend viewing the relevant section of the above webinar video to follow along as you set up your configuration for your VM.

Want to learn more about Mac virtualization?

MacStadium currently offers the widest variety of solutions for teams targeting iOS or macOS, ranging from truly diverse hardware configurations to three distinct Mac virtualization options – OrkaVMware, and Anka.

If you have any questions about MacStadium’s virtualization options or GPU passthrough, our team of experts is always here to help. Also, if you’re not a current Orka user and are eager to learn more, you can give Orka a try with a free two-hour Orka demo environment.


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