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Any news on discoverability and usability of SR-IOV in IaaS Stacks (OpenStack, CloudStack) ?


Can you report on progress with SR-IOV discoverability across the existing IaaS Stacks beyond VMware / ESXi?

We are working with OpenStack and CloudStack setups, and try to assure VMs can get set up that predictably deliver a high I/O load by means of using the respective orchestration functions, but we seem to see that pattern repeat that I/O and networking is somewhat underrepresented in the FOSS IaaS Stacks. We are trying to run several VMs with I/O rich workload and bandwidth requirements above 1Gb on servers equipped with multiple 10GbE ports.

It seems that support of SR-IOV is currently restricted to VMware only, and even there they say you need the most recent ESXi v5.1 [1] before you can hope to do anything with it, plus you loose ability to migrate the virtual machine using their vMotion. Some material at Microsoft suggests their HyperV can handle by a short period of switching from SR-IOV to fully virtualised I/O (before migration) and back (after migration) [2].

Neverthelsss, both offers not too much help if you want to run OpenStack or CloudStack and KVM, and I am of course wondering if and when the most Linux distributions (beyond RedHat that is) offer a verified SR-IOV support, and a KVM with full support for SR-IOV including live migration

Overall, it seems that creating a rather detailed inventory of the available resources, INCLUDING I/O may be a functional precondition to discover the capabilities of the underlying hardware that an IaaS management stack has to do to make proper placement decisions for creating VMs. To then offer such discovered I/O resources in an abstracted way to a party requesting a VM (through UI or API) - but that both may not be part of the general IaaS concepts (yet ?!).

If I am just mistaken (which can easily be) and all that already exists, I'd be very happy if you could point me to folks at Intel and/or (or at the large Intel NIC-I/O chip customers) who are currently working in the OpenStack Community on making discovery, differentiation and abstraction of underlying I/O properties a regular feature of IaaS, KVM and the Ubuntu LTS Linux distribution.

One also should think HP as a prime partner of Intel in NICs, servers and now as well with an OpenStack based Cloud DC offering could easily have a vested interest on bringing this forward…. well, maybe we just need pointers to the right folks at HP.

So, if there are any interesting signals on anyone's radar on this, please share !

Thank you !




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SR-IOV is supported by Microsoft, VMware and of course Open Source, by more than just Red Hat.

The type of discoverability you are asking for would of course be very useful. On a per OS basis it is fairly easy to discover is SR-IOV is available and configured. However abstracting this out to a generic non OS specific discovery and configrability (such as assigning a VM to a VF) is beyond the scope of the Network Device provider.

I would suggest you take your very reasonable request to the OpenStack and OpenCloud communities.

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