Monday March 06, 2017

AMD Ryzen with VMWare ESXi: A Pink Screen of Death

Here's one for those of you who hang out in our Virtualized Computing subforum. With all of those cores for not very much money, many of us have been secretly thinking about whether or not Ryzen would make for a good ESXi server. The answer right now is, probably not. At least not in 6.5, until VMWare adds some compatibility updates to ESXi.

Personally I switched my server over to Proxmox about a year ago, and have been very happy with it, but it doesn't have a new enough kernel for Ryzen either, at least not in the stable repository. For now a Linux system running on kernel 4.10 or later, and KVM might be the best way to use Ryzen as a virtualization server.

The good news is that AMD-V extensions are present on the AMD Ryzen CPUs. Furthermore, virtualization does work using KVM using the newer Linux kernels. We even have AMD Ryzen systems in our Docker Swarm cluster. You can see our CentOS and Ubuntu guides for getting Kernel 4.10.1 installed with Ryzen.

VMware is not known for leading hardware support so this result should be little surprise to most in the industry. We suspect that as the AMD Naples platform is released we will see VMware support Zen virtualization.