Teradici APEX 2800: how can I quickly confirm if the offloading works or not.

I recently got my hands on teradici’s 2800-lp (low profile) offloading card for the a Horizon view 7 VDI PoC implementation. The one I am using is a PCI Express version of the card that can be installed on any server with PCIe gen2 x4/x8 or x16 slot.

There are also MXM Type A with Mezzanine Adapter and an Amulet Hotkey DXM-A versions. They are designed for HP’s Gen8 and 9 blade servers, and for Dell M Series blades respectively. In either case, standalone, mezzanine adapter, or an amulet hot key, you can install up to 2 of such cards per server.

There are plenty of choices on the market for a GPU offloading, some of which are Nvidia’s Grid K1/K2, Nvidia Tesla K40 /K80, and AMD’s FirePro S7150 (x2) GPU cards.

This specific card does not serve as a GPU accelerator, but rather offloads CPU resources to the card itself. As Teradici explains it on their website “Dynamically allocating resources; Hardware Accelerator reduces peaks in CPU utilization and creates virtual CPU ‘headroom’, allowing CPU intensive applications to run smoothly, avoiding cases where the CPU would otherwise starve”.

I did not run any major tests, but overall I did find Win7 VM much more responsive while the offloading was turned on. CPU usage inside the VM itself has dropped a few notches and  was not bouncing up and down like a ping pong when opening Outlook/Word/Excel.   MS Office hardware acceleration was already disabled in the gold image.

The commands below can be found on teradici’s website. Yet as every IT Sysadmin knows, you can never locate them when you are under a “gun” and need to identify one or another setting on the spot.

Q:How do I know if the card works or not:A 1:  Check the CPU usage. The cpu usage  on the host with APEX 2800 card will  increase when you disable the card on the host:

A 1:  Check the CPU usage. The cpu usage  on the host with APEX 2800 card will  increase when you disable the card on the host:

"/opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -d 133 -x DISABLE"
 "/opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -d 133 -e ENABLE"

Number  “133” above is the bus  number for the APEX 2800 hard

         A 2: Check the “/opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -V” output to confirm which VMs are being offloaded. The “++” sign next to the VMs shows that the APEX driver ( you must install it inside your GOLD IMAGE) has successfully initialized the connection , and double asterisk “**” next to a display number and screen size shows which display its offloading. In my case below, Display [0] on VM “Win7-4” with screen size of 1104×639 is being currently offloaded.

[root@vdi:~] /opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -V
 (4) VMs found!
   -- (Win7-1) Searching
   -- (Win7-2) PCoIP Session Closed
   -- (Win7-3) PCoIP Session Closed
   ++ (Win7-4)[46443][E] **[0](1104x639) --[1](N/A) --[2](N/A) --[3](N/A)


Q: How do I find the APEX 2800 bus # ?
A: the following command will show the APEX card model number and bus its running on:

[root@vdi:~] /opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -I |  grep -i "bus"
 -- APEX2800-LP PCIe (Bus 133) (IN_SERVICE)


Q: How do I find card’s serial number, driver version, number of displays supported:
A:  The “/opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -I” command should provide a quick summary for the card.

APEX2800 Driver Information:
     - SVN revision (45408), Built Apr 12 2015 : 14:22:41
     - Display Manager is (ENABLED)
     - Display Portrait Mode is (DISABLED)
     - Maximum Resolution Supported: 1920 x 1200
     - Number of displays supported: 64

 APEX2800 Device Summary:
    (1) APEX2800 device present
       -- APEX2800-LP PCIe (Bus 133) (IN_SERVICE)
       ++ Serial Number (XXXXXXXXXXXX)
       ++ Firmware SVN revision (45408), Built Apr 12 2015 : 14:22:33
       ++ CPU Temperature (36c), Ambient/Board Temperature (34c)
       ++ Device Util (0), Image Pipeline (49) Kpps

 Virtual Machine Summary:
     -- (15) Virtual Machines Found
     -- (2) PCoIP Sessions Found
     -- (1) PCoIP Display Offloaded

Q: How can I see which VM is being offloaded from the host’s CPU to the APEX 2800 card?
A: A small red square shows up on the top left corner of a VM when it’s being offloaded. You can turn on/off the offload indicator (the red dot) using commands below:

/opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -P "offload_indicator 1"
/opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -P "offload_indicator 0"


Q: How many VM’s can I offload using the card?
A: The answer is, It depends. It depends on variables such as how many Displays you have assigned to a VM, and the screen size you chose for your displays. More info on it could be found there –> http://www.teradici.com/products-and-solutions/pcoip-products/hardware-accelerator

At the time of this writing I am using the 2.5.3 version of the driver packages, which includes support for esxi 6.x and Horizon view 7.


Sources used: