What is SR-IOV and how we can use it?

Do you know your physical server has more capabilities than you think? and “How to use SR-IOV” is big question for most of the techs

Most of the cases we found that Administrators don’t use Physical server resources completely and effectively. It directly mean to improve the performance of Virtual machine. It can create major difference in current virtualization in which you are looking to improve network performance.

Let’s know what is it in simple words.

SR-IOV enables network traffic to bypass the software switch layer of the Hyper-V virtualization stack. Because the VF is assigned to a child partition, the network traffic flows directly between the VF and child partition. As a result, the I/O overhead in the software emulation layer is diminished and achieves network performance that is nearly the same performance as in non-virtualized environments.

It is hardware specific feature which is related to Network interface card. Not every NIC supports this, but yes now a days most of NICs are capable to enable SR-IOV to use in virtualization. It can be used in VMware, Hyper-V and other major hyper visors.

Important points to note:

  • It should be supported by NIC card.
  • It should be supported by motherboard chipset
  • In most of the Hypervisors we have to enable it during adding or adding virtual switch.
  • In Hyper-V, it should be running on 2012 R2 or later.
  • Not all operating systems support this, please check your operating system specifications to know more about SR-IOV support.
  • Hyper-V and VMware vSphere, both support SR-IOV.
  • In Hyper-V, you can only enable it for Windows gusts VMs.
  • VMware supports it for both Windows and Linux.
  • In vSphere, vMotion may get impact if we enable SR-IOV for specific VM but in Windows Hyper-V there is no impact.

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