VMware Bitfusion and Tanzu – Part 2 : Bitfusion server setup

This will be a multi-part post focused on the VMware Bitfusion product. I will give an introduction to the technology, how to set up a Bitfusion server and how to use its services from Kubernetes pods.

Bitfusion Server setup preparation

A Bitfusion Server Cluster must meet the following requirements:

  • vSphere 7 or later
  • 10 GBit LAN at least for the Bitfusion data traffic for smaller or PoC deployments. High bandwidth and low latency are essential. 40 Gbit or even 100 Gbit are recommended.
  • Nvidia GPU with CUDA functionality and DirectPath I/O support:
    • Pascal P40
    • Tesla V100
    • T4 Tensor
    • A100 Tensor
  • At least 3 Bitfusion server per cluster for high availability

This setup guide assumes that the graphics cards have been deployed to the ESXi 7+ servers and the hosts have joined a cluster in vCenter.

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Veeam – Manage your AWS Data like a Hero

IDC research shows that the top three trigger events leading to a need for cloud services are: growing data, constrained IT budgets and the rise of digital transformation initiatives. The shift to public cloud providers like AWS offers many advantages for organizations but does not come without risks and vulnerabilities when it comes to data.

Veeam has provided several small comic book eBooks that illustrate issues such as ransomware, data sprawl, cloud costs, and data loss in an entertaining way.

Get your copy of this interactive “Choose Your Own Cloud Adventure” e-book.

VMware Bitfusion and Tanzu – Part 1: A primer to Bitfusion

This will be a multi-part post focused on the VMware Bitfusion product. I will give an introduction to the technology, how to set up a Bitfusion server and how to use its services from Kubernetes pods.

What is Bitfusion?

In August 2019, VMware acquired BitFusion, a leader in GPU virtualization. Bitfusion provides a software platform that decouples specific physical resources from compute servers. It is not designed for graphics rendering, but rather for machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). Bitfusion systems (client and server) only run on selected Linux platforms as of today and support ML applications such as TensorFlow.

Why are GPUs so important for ML/AI applications?

Processors (Central Processing Unit / CPU) in current systems are optimized to process serial tasks in the shortest possible time and to switch quickly between tasks. GPUs (Graphics Processor Units), on the other hand, can process a large number of computing operations in parallel. The original intended application is in the name of the GPU. The CPU was to be offloaded by GPU in graphics rendering by outsourcing all rendering and polygon calculations to the GPU. In the mid-90s, some 3D games could still choose to render with CPU or GPU. Even then, it was a difference like night and day. GPU could calculate the necessary polygon calculations much faster and smoother.

A fine comparison of GPU and CPU architecture is described by Niels Hagoort in his blog post “Exploring the GPU Architecture“.

However, due to their architecture, GPUs are not only ideal for graphics applications, but for all applications where a very large number of arithmetic operations have to be executed in parallel. This includes blockchain, ML, AI and any kind of data analysis (number crunching).

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vCenter Server update planner at work

I’d like to point your attention to a new and useful feature which was introduced with vSphere 7 update 2. It is easily being overlooked in the abundance of new features, but it does a very good job in the prior to a vCenter update.

A requirement for the Update Planner is participation in the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).

The first sign of a new vCenter update is a notification banner at the top of vSphere Client.

Clicking on “View Updates” will take you directly to the Update Planner. This can also be found in the menu. To do this, select the vCenter in the Hosts & Clusters view and select “Updates” > vCenter Server > Update Planner in the menu bar at the top right.

All currently available updates are being displayed. In the case shown below, the vCenter is already at 7.0 Update 2, so only one possible update is listed. If several possible updates are available, the Update Planner can check the compatibility against all of them. To do this, select the radio button of the desired update (red box).

Once an update is selected, the action field “Generate Report” turns blue and shows the two possible sub-items “Interoperability” and “Pre-Update Checks“.

Interoperabilty Checks

The Interoperability Check verifies not only the ESXi hosts but also the compatibility with other VMware products registered in vCenter.

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