[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xen-users] PCI Passthrough

  • To: xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • From: Paul Schulze <avlex@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 24 May 2008 04:57:50 +0200
  • Delivery-date: Fri, 23 May 2008 19:58:26 -0700
  • Domainkey-signature: a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws; d=googlemail.com; s=gamma; h=mime-version:content-transfer-encoding:message-id:content-type:to:from:subject:date:x-pgp-agent:x-mailer:sender; b=C8eDZb/aeeT4sCIlq7uusAM8hOCT125YeAQ2XFe724vl5oxBjW9D9fXdHaIISxCuOLHV50rZo5/ik+yYd/4D7MclIch81LPqohgrQR5eAVBRlwOeAUQ+LpJY6qWSrSLA09OFgwD9qwj7vs+8XN0N4zoQb1K6dA+lzc7etKhyRmw=
  • List-id: Xen user discussion <xen-users.lists.xensource.com>

Hash: SHA1

Hello everyone,

I am currently in the planning phase for a new HTPC system, I want to set up and there are several questions related to Xen that I was not able to find answers to. The goal of that system in the long run is to replace not only my server and TV receiver, but also my primary desktop and access point for several LAN and Wifi clients. Though this might sound rather simple, the solution I am hoping for has to separate all these tasks in virtual machines, leaving the Dom0 strictly as a controller for those and only accessible by SSH from one virtual machine (probably the Desktop). This would ensure that I can work on one instance (which might need tinkering with the kernel for example) while all other services are still available and it would help me sandbox all the components, so none of them directly influences the other. The system would be an AMD Athlon X2 4850e CPU on an Asus M3A-H mainboard (AMD 780G chipset).

The questions I have now are:
1. Is it possible to successfully pass through a graphics adapter, in this case probably an onboard ATI HD 3200 PCIe (currently only supported with the non-free fglrx driver), so that the Desktop/TV virtual machine has exclusive use of the hardware including (future) 3D support? I would also like to try other systems that can not be paravirtualized, while the other services have to still be running. In some of these systems I would like to have 3D hardware acceleration support (Desktop VM would have to be shut down as I understand it), since they heavily depend on it (like Vista or maybe Mac OS X). Is that possible? I already read that it is rather problematic to pass through the primary VGA adapter, because Xen itself will always claim it for console output at boot time, but wouldn't it be possible to use a serial port for that instead? Are there any other pitfalls that will not permit me to achieve this?

2. Is it possible to have a virtual machine hosting a MythTV backend, that has exclusive use of a PCI(e) or PCMCIA DVB-T/S/S2 adapter. This backend should not run in the Desktop instance, because I would prefer it if the Desktop doesn't have to be running for other clients to use it. This would also come in handy, because not running a full blown desktop while using the MythTV backend from another client could possibly save a bit on the energy bill (and the whole system is supposed to help me reduce that at least a bit)

3. I would like to pass 3 NICs (HP 4 port gbit switch pci card, D- Link 4x T100Base card and a Ralink pci 802.11n draft 2.0 adapter) directly to an AP/Router virtual maschine, so the Dom0 is not connected directly to the network, but only to the Desktop VM by a separate bridge and the onboard gbit adapter (for backups/failover).

Is that possible and am I really gaining security for the whole system or is this just my imagination and doesn't make any sense at all? How about the performance, especially for the graphics adapter, do I have to factor in bigger losses there (maybe because PCI passthrough doesn't support the full PCIe 16x speed)? Has anyone tried something similar yet or am I the first to think this might be a good idea?

I hope someone can give me an answer or at least a hint on how far I am from reality.


- --
Paul Schulze
Public Key: http://solaris-net.dyndns.org/keys/key_avlex.asc

"Making mistakes is human,
but to really fuck things up you need Computers"

Version: GnuPG v1.4.1 (Darwin)


Xen-users mailing list



Lists.xenproject.org is hosted with RackSpace, monitoring our
servers 24x7x365 and backed by RackSpace's Fanatical Support®.