I could use some advice

I’m a map guy. I work in ArcGIS Pro primarily, along with QGIS, STK and Cesium, and Safe FME Workstation. I’ve also been spinning up with machine learning (outside of the inferencing and classification I do in arcgis). I’ve been around linux since the mid to late 90s and it has been a love hate relationship. I love linux, and I hate that I can’t do everything on it. And here I am ages later had a daughter that’s grown married and now I’m a grandpa and I am still stuck in windows running Linux in a VM and longing for life to be back to like it was in school (so long ago) where I lived in Linux for years and was SO MUCH HAPPIER.

Life is too short. And I want to use windows like a tool e.g. run my mapping workflows, develop what I have to there, do work basically… but not get my ass blown up with some random update forced down my neck in the middle of a tight schedule.

What I want is to have linux as my host OS with GPU acceleration for Nvidia Rapids (a learning environment so this doesn’t have to be seriously awesome), and Windows in a VM with GPU acceleration for ArcGIS Pro (where I make a living and does need to be really awesome). The thing is ideally I could use 3 gpus. ArcGIS will use a GPU when I’m using arcgis.learn or several other operations like doing 3d viewshed analysis with lidar data. If you have two GPUs available for ArcGIS you can configure one for analysis and the other will be used for 3d rendering. This means that while an operation (like creating a geodesic viewshed from a few observer points against a lidar layer) is progressing I can still mess around in the map and not get stutters or slowness or worse while panning and navigating around in 3d.

3 times in the last year a Windows update has left me struggling. The last one had everything I use in Windows working fine except ArcGIS Pro which had rendering issues (all of the menus would go blank, icons disappear until I mouse back over them forcing a redraw, etc.). I’m sick of this. It knows when I am on the hook and seems to prefer acting up right in the middle of a Zoom where I’m presenting to the customer and sharing my screen to demo something.

I take bare metal backups to a NAS but it still sucks losing time to a restore to get back to full speed. I want a performant windows vm for arcgis with a decent gpu for 3d map rendering/navigation and a strong cuda gpu for use in analysis. And I want it on Linux where I’m safer from being blown up by updates outside of my control and where I can revert a windows vm to a pre-update snapshot quickly and not get blown up in a demo.

Is this doable now? I have one 3090 (does really well in most arcgis workflows, could use more memory for some cases but I get by just fine). I was considering a second GPU and the more I’ve been thinking on it the more I’d prefer to add two GPUs and I don’t know how, or if it’s possible. e.g. if I sold the 3090 (because after months I’d still actually make money selling it) and bought say two a4000s and an a6000 could I use an a4000 for linux and pass the other a4000 to windows along with the a6000 so I can set those up one for rendering the other for compute?

Cant you just get multiple desktop computers? If your use case in Linux is simple enough, maybe get a small SBC, maybe a Raspberry Pi4 or a small x86 based SBC for all your Linux needs (which you didnt seem to specify a use case for?). Alternatively, get a Pinebook Pro and tinker away all you Linux stuff there.

The next alternative is to suck it up and just dual boot.

Setting up VM with passthrough is currently beyond me (I dont have a use case to drive me to learn) and maybe other folks can help you in this matter.

Also, your NAS is a separate machine too, right?

Yes, I could get a second computer. I’d prefer not to (am on a threadripper with enough memory and storage to cover both easily).

My use case for linux is not light use. I pull and prepare large amounts of data for analysis in arcgis. There are some tools I use that are linux-only and some that are available for windows as well but way slower when on windows. This would mainly be pulling and prepping weather model data or flight tracking / position update data. e.g. selecting and grabbing data from grib2 and netcdf files where linux tooling is light years better than windows. Certainly not something I could create a vm for on the nas (no gpu there, and not nearly enough memory) or run on a pi (I do have a few other things I full time on pi and I am very much in love with them). I have taken some thought towards a linux vm on the NAS running some cron python just to fetch the data to the IN folders so that other parts of my process aren’t waiting on downloads.

Of those programs I listed I run almost everything from Linux except for ArcGIS Pro. I use the NAS to have a working folder both see and I am currently dual-booting. The hangup is that I go between them often and would really like to get arcgis pro in the VM with enough GPU to be productive and avoid having to boot back and forth just to pull and process some data then bring it up in arcgis.

I’m no longer really looking at passing multiple GPUs for arcgis, I’d be quite happy just to assign one to linux and pass one through to have arcgis pro running well in a VM.

I’ll let you know how I progress with this as I’m basically going to work towards what Wendell showed in the ‘seamless’ video. If I had a seamless arcgis pro accessible to me from Linux I’d be pretty set. I could manipulate data in linux save it to the shared folder pop it open in arcgis and keep going…

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Making progress. I’m typing this with one arm because I had to trade the other one in to get the second 3090. I’m kidding, I had to spend a leg as well. But, I have a second 3090 sitting here. I’m waiting on cooling that I ordered to show up. Otherwise the two cards will basically be back to back and I’ve already had this one alone throttle during some workloads. Also finally got off my butt and bought a nice sit/stand desk from uplift. Embarrassing to admit but my desk the last few years has been on the cheap… basically a solid core door blank on file cabinets. Once the cooling shows up I’ll post more progress…

cooling is in, preparing some simulation/animation stuff for the media and once that’s good i am doing backups and giving a first attempt at this.

i’m been with red hat since way way before they had enterprise so i think i’ll put RHEL as the host and then do a win10 vm for arcgis with the 2nd gpu.

i may want one of your cool kvms Wendell. We’ll see.