What is the APEX 2800 Offload Card?
The Teradici APEX 2800 is a PCoIP Offload card for your compute nodes. What this means is when PCoIP traffic is detected on your nodes, each node that has a properly configured APEX card installed, the PCoIP software encoding compute cycles can be offloaded (read: dynamically moved) to this card. This benefits the amount of VDI machines (more importantly your displays) from being crunched by the processors to produce visuals.
Is there a benefit? Absolutely! We have roughly 40-75 Task Worker profiles on each host, that’s 80-150 displays being crunched by the processor on top of Windows, Office and other applications. That is a big load on the processor, by moving the PCoIP processing onto the APEX we can save time and resources for those items that really need the speed of the Xeon platform. For the current firmware only 100 displays can be offloaded, still that is a ton of compute processing saved by moving to this card!
Install the APEX 2800
So now that we understand what it does, let’s get one physically installed into a host and then install the VIB file and enable the offloading.
- If this Host is in production, move all powered on/off VM’s to another available host.
- Put Host in Maintenance Mode, Shutdown Host, disconnect all cables (power, etc)
- Install APEX 2800 card to available PCIe slot (document slot location, try and make location consistent for all hosts in cluster)
- Reconnect cables and power Host up
- Confirm Host is at DCUI ready screen
- Enable SSH on Host, leave in Maintenance Mode
Install APEX 2800 Drivers into ESXi
For this part make sure you have a SSH client like Putty and a SFTP client like WinSCP to transfer the VIB package to your host. Go to Teradici My Support (requires login) to download the latest verified VIB package for your version of Horizon View (we will be using the package for View 5.2) Now that we have all of our stuff, lets load up the VIB package!
- SSH has been enabled from the prior steps, SSH into host
- Fire up WinSCP and start a session to the host.
- In WinSCP browse to the location where you downloaded the ZIP package (i.e. Downlads) on the left pane, on the right pane browse to /tmp/ and move that package in that folder
- Back in Putty lets verify the file is there by entering this command: “cd tmp” then “ls” you should now see the .zip file in that folder
- To install the VIB package enter this command: ” esxcli software vib install -d /tmp/apex2800-version-esxi-version–xxxxxx.zip” hit enter
- After installation it will spit out an install summary, if you had an existing version that was upgraded it will tell you here
- Close WinSCP and Putty and reboot the Host from vSphere
- When the Host become available again, enable SSH and exit Maintenance Mode
Install APEX 2800 Drivers for Windows
At this point we have physically installed the APEX 2800 card, installed the VIB package to ESXi, the last piece is to install the OS aware agent . Go to Teradici My Support (requires login) to download the latest version of the OS Agent. Let’s get started!
- The VM can be on the Host we just installed the VIB package on.
- On your VM locate the OS Agent download and run the “apex2800-version-rel-xxxxx.exe” install package.
- Next, next, next!
- Finish and Reboot
- Time to verify the PCoIP processing is being offloaded!
APEX 2800 Commandlets
Each of these commands can be run from a SSH session, so fire up Putty and let’s verify that it’s working!
View APEX 2800 Status
View VM Usage and Monitoring Status
Enable/Disable APEX 2800
/opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -d <device number> -e /opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -d <device number> -x
Displaying VM Property Values