vSphere 5.1 supports SR-IOV. However, some features of vSphere are not functional when SR-IOV is enabled.

To use SR-IOV, your environment must meet the following configuration requirements:

Supported Configurations for Using SR-IOV

Component

Requirements

vSphere

Hosts with Intel processors require ESXi 5.1 or later.

Hosts with AMD processors are not supported with SR-IOV.

Physical host

Must be compatible with the ESXi release.

Must have an Intel processor.

Must not have an AMD processor.

Must support input/output memory management unit (IOMMU), and must have IOMMU enabled in the BIOS.

Must support SR-IOV, and must have SR-IOV enabled in the BIOS. Contact the server vendor to determine whether the host supports SR-IOV.

Physical NIC

Must be compatible with the ESXi release.

Must be supported for use with the host and SR-IOV according to the technical documentation from the server vendor.

Must have SR-IOV enabled in the firmware.

PF driver in ESXi for the physical NIC

Must be certified by VMware.

Must be installed on the ESXi host. The ESXi release provides a default driver for certain NICs, while for others you must download and manually install it.

Guest OS

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x

Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP2

VF driver in the guest OS

Must be compatible with the NIC.

Must be supported on the guest OS release according to the technical documentation from the NIC vendor.

Must be Microsoft WLK or WHCK certified for Windows virtual machines.

Must be installed on the OS. The OS release contains a default driver for certain NICs, while for others you must download and install it from a location provided by the vendor of the NIC or of the host.

To verify compatibility of physical hosts and NICs with ESXi releases, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

The following features are not available for virtual machines configured with SR-IOV:

vMotion

Storage vMotion

vShield

Netflow

Virtual Wire

High Availability

Fault Tolerance

DRS

DPM

Suspend and resume

Snapshots

MAC-based VLAN for passthrough virtual functions

Hot addition and removal of virtual devices, memory, and vCPU

Participation in a cluster environment

Note

Attempts to enable or configure unsupported features with SR-IOV in the vSphere Web Client result in unexpected behavior in your environment.

The following NICs are supported for virtual machines configured with SR-IOV. All NICs must have drivers and firmware that support SR-IOV. Some NICs might require SR-IOV to be enabled on the firmware.

Products based on the Intel 82599ES 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller Family (Niantic)

Products based on the Intel Ethernet Controller X540 Family (Twinville)

Emulex OneConnect (BE3)

If you upgrade from vSphere 5.0 or earlier to vSphere 5.1 or later, SR-IOV support is not available until you update the NIC drivers for the vSphere release. NICs must have firmware and drivers that support SR-IOV enabled for SR-IOV functionality to operate.