For years I’ve had a dream of building a rack mounted PC capable of splitting its resources to host multiple GPU intensive VMs:

  • a few gaming VMs
  • a VM for work that can run Davinci Resolve and Blender renders
  • an LLM server
  • a Stable Diffusion server
  • media server

Just to name a few possibilities…

Everytime I’ve looked into it, it seemed like the technology just wasn’t there yet. I remember a few years ago Linus TT took a shot at it, but in the end suggested the technology (for non-commercial entities) just wasn’t in a comfortable spot yet.

So how far off are we? Obviously AI focused companies seem to make it work, but what possibilities exist for us self-hosters who might also want to run multiple displays in addition to the web gui LLM servers? And without forking out crazy money for GPU virtualization software licenses?

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[-] TCB13@lemmy.world 48 points 1 month ago

The technology has "been there" for a while, it's trivial do setup what you're asking for, the issue is that games have anti cheat engines that will get triggered by the virtualization and ban you.

[-] socphoenix@midwest.social 8 points 1 month ago

Which games do that? Running pasthrough gpu on windows for destiny and halo at least gave me 0 issues for years

[-] You999@sh.itjust.works 14 points 1 month ago

Anything using vanguard such as valorant and league of legends, battleye such as pubg, destiny 2, and rainbow 6 siege, and easy anti cheat such as fortnight blocks virtual machines. Vanguard is especially bad because it will not allow to run the game with Intel-VT/AMD-V enabled even if you are running bare metal as of its last update.

[-] umbrella@lemmy.ml 8 points 1 month ago

this just makes me wanna install bare-metal goody-2-shoes windows and cheat using a 5$ arduino

[-] socphoenix@midwest.social 7 points 1 month ago

That’s weird destiny 2 has never given me issue, though I don’t play super frequently so maybe I’m just lucky

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[-] Dark_Arc@social.packetloss.gg 5 points 1 month ago

I'm surprised, I was pretty sure anything with Battleye flat out rejected virtualization.

I thought Destiny used Battleye but I must be mistaken on one of these points.

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[-] Decipher0771@lemmy.ca 22 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

I’ve been doing exactly that at home for a couple years now. First with Parsec, now Sunshine/Moonlight.

Host is Proxmox on Ryzen 5800x, 64gm RAM GPU is 2070 Super, with VGPU patched drivers from https://gitlab.com/polloloco/vgpu-proxmox

When I’m gaming I’ll dedicate the full 8Gb to my windows Vm, otherwise I split it in 2 or 4Gb chunks to Jellyfin or my home camera monitoring. 8gb can’t split very many ways, and most things require at least 2 to run.

Locally at home I can run 1440p 60fps rock solid over wifi on any device, from my phone/old laptop/apple tv/raspberry pi. Remote I can do 1080p60, but a bit more hit or miss depending on my network connection.

Experimenting with LLMs I’ve done through the same windows VM, or to a ubuntu dev VM. Works the same way. I’m thinking of transitioning my gaming VM to Linux too.

The amount of VRAM is the hard limitation to get past, the virtualization tech itself has been there for a while.

But to be perfectly honest……it really was just a “let’s see if I could do this” type task, direct GPU pass though is more straightforward and it’s not really worth splitting 8Gb these days. Unless you get a card with significantly more VRAM passthrough is much less work.

[-] Lem453@lemmy.ca 6 points 1 month ago

This is really amazing! In theory, can you can use 2gb with 4 different VMs?

[-] Decipher0771@lemmy.ca 5 points 1 month ago

Sure, but you’ll get diminishing returns most likely as consumer hardware doesn’t really have the resources to scale that way very well if all the VMs are running demanding apps simultaneously.

Even for something like 4 VMs that just do NVenc, there are limits for how many streams the GPU can do. I think there’s another patch that lets you raise that, but at some point you’ll run out of resources quick. Even powerful consumer gear isn’t really designed to be used by more than one user/app and it starts to show the more you virtualize and split those resources.

How does the vGPU compare to running it on the bare metal? Last I tried things were painful but technically usable.

[-] Decipher0771@lemmy.ca 3 points 1 month ago

I don’t see any performance differences with the vgpu actually. I have more performance bottlenecks with the CPU, and my RAM isn’t the fastest, so I think I’m more CPU limited. Benchmarks I have run that are GPU focused seem to show little to no difference from what the physical card would do.

[-] brownmustardminion@lemmy.ml 3 points 1 month ago

Hmm. I’m running a 3090 and 4090. Looks like vgpu is not possible yet for those cards.

[-] Decipher0771@lemmy.ca 4 points 1 month ago

Yeah unfortunately. 20xx is last generation supported so far via the patch, not sure if support for later cards is coming or not.

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[-] LrdThndr@lemmy.world 14 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

I bought a cheap used Dell R710 on Facebook marketplace for like $100 or so, as well as an ups, rack, 10g switch, etc, from various other sellers. All told, I’ve got about $500 in my server setup.

Installed proxmox on it. It’s “free” if you don’t buy a license. You just have to put up with a little nag screen when you open the control panel but it still works 100%, much like winrar.

Works great.

Edit: just realized this is in c/selfhosted AND I misunderstood the post. I’m gonna leave it here just on the off chance it’s useful to somebody, but I acknowledge it’s not what you’re looking for.

[-] lupec@lemm.ee 10 points 1 month ago

Btw just in case you aren't aware, the nag can be done away with. I don't have a link off the top of my head but it's out there.

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[-] monomon@programming.dev 10 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

I know you asked about VMs, but fwiw there are GPU-capable containers now: https://docs.nvidia.com/datacenter/cloud-native/container-toolkit/latest/install-guide.html

Used one of these and the setup is as easy as it sounds. It can run Houdini, Stable Diffusion.

[-] Byter@lemmy.one 10 points 1 month ago

I've also wanted to do this for a while, but there were always a few too many barriers to actually spin up the project. Here's just a brain dump of things I've seen recently.

vGPUs continue to be behind a license. But there is now vgpu_unlock.

L1T just showed off PCIe "fabric" from Liqid that can switch physical devices between machines.

Turning VMs on and off isn't as slick as either of the above, but that is doable today. You'll just have to build all the switching automation yourself. That could just be a shell script running QEMU/libvirt commands, at a minimum.

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[-] Presi300@lemmy.world 9 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

GPU passthrough has been pretty good for a while. The reason why Linus couldn't get it working reliably was because iirc, he tried to do it on windows... I've done it before with a single gpu and have very recently set it up again, now that I have a 2nd one and gotta say, it's pretty damn good...

[-] brownmustardminion@lemmy.ml 4 points 1 month ago

How are you handling displays and keyboard/mouse? Also what VM software?

[-] Presi300@lemmy.world 3 points 1 month ago

Check out this video

It goes over all of the steps of setting it up.

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[-] just_another_person@lemmy.world 9 points 1 month ago

You're not really describing your use-case here. Are you just trying to run a server that does all your rendering for you so you can play games elsewhere? Yes, that's totally possible.

If you're trying to describe a business...no, it's not possible, scalable, or profitable.

I'm curious as to what your intentions are here though.

[-] brownmustardminion@lemmy.ml 6 points 1 month ago

I have a workstation I use for video editing/vfx as well as gaming. Because of my work, I'm fortunate to have the latest high end GPUs and a 160" projector screen. I also have a few TVs in various rooms around the house.

Traditionally, if I want to watch something or play a video game, I have to go to the room with the jellyfin/plex/roku box to watch something and am limited to the work/gaming rig to play games. I can't run renders and game at the same time. Buying an entire new pc so I can do both is a massive waste of money. If I want to do a test screening of a video I'm working on to see how it displays on various devices, I have to transfer the file around to these devices. This is limiting and inefficient to me.

I want to be able to go to any screen in my house: my living room TV, my large projector in my studio room, my tablet, or even my phone and switch between:

  • my workstation display running on a Window 10 VM
  • my linux VM with youtube or jellyfin player I use as a daily driver
  • a fedora or Windows VM dedicated to gaming, maybe SteamOS
  • maybe a friend comes over for a LAN party and we both can game without having to set up a 2nd rig
  • I want to host an LLM or stablediffusion server without having to buy a new GPU with enough VRAM to run SDXL
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[-] Sethayy@sh.itjust.works 8 points 1 month ago

I currently have a setup exactly like this, with a threadripper 2950x, an RX 6600, and a 2070 super.

Let me know if you have any questions in the specifics, but its 100% possible

Best part of this setup is being able to connect to both via sunshine on many displays at once

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[-] MudMan@fedia.io 8 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

OK, but why?

Well, for fun and as a cool hobby project, I get that. That is enough to justify it, like any other crazy hobbyist project. Don't let me stop you.

But in the spirit of practicality and speaking hypothetically: Why set it up that way?

For self-hosting why not build a few standalone machines and run off that instead? The reason to do this large scale is optimizing resources so you can assign a smaller pool of hardware to users as they need it, right? For a home set of two or three users you'd probably notice the fluctuations in performance caused by sharing the resources on the gaming VMs and it would cost you the same or more than building a couple reasonable gaming systems and a home server/NAS for the rest. Way less, I bet, if you're smart about upgrades and hand-me-downs.

[-] Catsrules@lemmy.ml 4 points 1 month ago

Yep this has been my hold up. It is mostly just a solution in search of a problem.

The best use case I have come up with is if you have an nice computer and an extra GPU laying around. You could turn the single computer into two workstation/gaming computers.

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[-] zelifcam@lemmy.world 8 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Everytime I’ve looked into it, it seemed like the technology just wasn’t there yet. I remember a few years ago Linus TT took a shot at it, but in the end suggested the technology (for non-commercial entities) just wasn’t in a comfortable spot yet.

I had a sever in my basement running proxmox ( actually ended up doing it all manually eventually ), with a windows gaming VM and handful of utility Linux servers in 2015? The only problem being Windows games using kernel level anti cheat.

I get it really comes down to GPU sharing and I think it’s doable on consumer GPUs now but I’m not sure about gaming. Honestly the tech has been here for a long time. But companies like NVIDIA held on forever to the GPU resource sharing features and kept it away from consumer cards.

I’m a bit older these days and have gone through many generations of hardware with a different setup. I keep two or more GFX cards on hand. Latest always goes to my workstation while last gen is thrown in my sever and used by all my docker containers. Then have an older Xeon with 24 bays that I use for storage.

[-] pepperprepper@lemmy.world 8 points 1 month ago

You can use proxmox to do most of this. Currently my set will only pass-through the gpu to one VM. I have heard of splitting the power among VMs but I have not gone down that rabbit hole. If I want to play with llms I fire up that server, if I want to game, I shut that down and fire up my windows 10 vm.

[-] mikyopii@programming.dev 9 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

In Proxmox they have VirGL-GPU and Virtio-GPU. They allow VMs to pass work to the GPU without being dedicated to one VM. I don't think gaming was the intended use case and don't know what kind of performance you would get. My uninformed guess is that it would not be great.

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[-] Trincapinones@lemmy.dbzer0.com 7 points 1 month ago

I've recently tried to do that using sunsine and different linux gaming distros and it was awful, the VM was working great for a few minutes and then suddenly crashes and I have to hard stop it.

All the people that I've seen talking about it on the internet are using Windows VMs so I guess that I'm doing something wrong or the only way to do it is through a Windows VM, which I'll not even try.

[-] Sebbe@lemmy.sebbem.se 6 points 1 month ago

I run a gaming Linux VM on my server and it works fine.

[-] Trincapinones@lemmy.dbzer0.com 4 points 1 month ago

Could you explain how? I'm pretty lost in this situation...

[-] Sebbe@lemmy.sebbem.se 2 points 4 days ago* (last edited 4 days ago)

Hey, sorry I didn't reply until now but life has been pretty hectic and I also kinda borked my streaming VM right at the same time as I wrote that. I ran Nobara Linux for a while with KDE on Xorg and it actually worked pretty well. Then I decided I wanted to give Bazzite a try but I didn't like the whole immutable thing. I went back to Nobara just to find that Steam Remote Play straight up didn't work and I couldn't know if I had failed to set up something properly or Valve just broke it while I was "away". A couple of days ago I decided to just abandon Remote Play for the time being and deployed Games on Whales and it seems very promising so far. Much easier than fiddling with VM:s and GPU passthrough and Sunshine/Moonlight has never failed me.

[-] Trincapinones@lemmy.dbzer0.com 1 points 4 days ago

No worries, LOL we followed exactly the same steps with the same problems, in fact, I was procrastinating documenting my problems in my Logseq and I think I'll copy your explanation because it's exactly my case in everything xd thanks ^^

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[-] DaGeek247@fedia.io 6 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Craft computing has been chasing this for several years now. His most recent attempt being the most successful one. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RvpAF77G8_8

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[-] voklen@programming.dev 6 points 1 month ago

I've never done anything like this myself but maybe Sunshine with Moonlight might be worth a look

[-] mesamunefire@lemmy.world 3 points 1 month ago

I got stardew working on a local network and playing on the miyoo mini. It was cool for the novelty, but had terrible performance outside a local network. After only a couple of hops it's unplayable and will disconnect.

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[-] diminou@lemmy.zip 5 points 1 month ago

You should take a look at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp3yVOm6A55nx65STpm3tXQ he does have a serie about doing something like this and go in depth in it

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[-] Codilingus@sh.itjust.works 3 points 1 month ago

Unraid does an excellent job at this. I helped a friend setup a rack mounted server, it runs home assistant, some other containers, and a VM for him to work in, or play games. AMD GPU being passed through.

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this post was submitted on 15 Jun 2024
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