Configuring VMDirectPath I/O pass-through devices on a VMware ESX or VMware ESXi host
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Configuring VMDirectPath I/O pass-through devices on a VMware ESX or VMware ESXi host


Article ID: 309986


Updated On:


VMware vSphere ESXi


This article provides information on configuring VMDirectPath I/O direct PCI device connections for virtual machines.


VMware vSphere ESXi 8.0.0
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.5
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7
VMware vSphere ESXi 7.0.x
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Installable
VMware ESX 4.1.x
VMware ESX 4.0.x
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Installable
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Embedded
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Embedded


About VMDirectPath I/O passthrough devices

The supported maximums for passthrough devices per VMs are:
  • ESX\ESXi 4.0: 2 Devices
  • ESX\ESXi 4.1: 4 Devices
  • ESX\ESXi 5.0: 4 Devices
  • ESX\ESXi 5.1: 4 Devices
  • ESX\ESXi 5.5: 16 Devices
  • ESX\ESXi 6.x: 16 Devices
  • ESX\ESXi 7.x: 16 Devices

For more information, see Hardware Features Available with Virtual Machine Compatibility Settings

Configuring passthrough devices

Before configuring a device for PCI Passthrough, ensure that platform and device meets the PCI Passthrough requirements, see VMware vSphere VMDirectPath I/O: Requirements for Platforms and Devices (2142307).
To configure passthrough devices on an ESX/ESXi host:
  1. Select an ESX\ESXi host from the Inventory of VMware vSphere Client.
  2. In the Configuration tab, click Hardware Advanced Settings. The passthrough Configuration page lists all available pass-through devices.

    Note: A green icon indicates that a device is enabled and active. An orange icon indicates that the state of the device has changed and the host must be rebooted before the device can be used.
  3. Click Edit.
  4. Select the devices and click OK.
  5. When the devices are selected, they are marked with an orange icon. Reboot for the change to take effect. After rebooting, the devices are marked with a green icon and are enabled.

    Note: The configuration changes are saved in the /etc/vmware/esx.conf file.

    The PCI slot number where the device was connected is 00:0b:0. It is recorded as:

    /device/000:11.0/owner = "passthru"

    Note: 11 is the decimal equivalent of the hexadecimal 0b.
To configure a PCI device on a virtual machine:
  1. From the Inventory in vSphere Client, right-click the virtual machine and click Edit Settings.
  2. Click the Hardware tab.
  3. Click Add.
  4. Choose the PCI Device.
  5. Click Next.

    Note: When the device is assigned, the virtual machine must have a memory reservation for the full configured memory size.

Additional Information

For more information, see Configuration Examples and Troubleshooting for VMDirectPath Guide.
For HP Proliant servers experiencing issues with VMDirectPath, this is a known issue in VMware ESXi 5.1, Patch Release ESXi510-201307001 (2052143) and later. These issues are addressed in VMware ESXi 5.5, Patch Release ESXi550-201501001 (2099265). For more information, see HP Advisory c03835455.
Note: The preceding link was correct as of July 9, 2014. If you find the link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.

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