The vast majority of VMware Homelabs is still Intel-based today but I have been seeing a slow rise of AMD-based kits being adopted, especially with AMD's desktop line of CPUs known as Ryzen. One of the considerations on whether you could use an AMD processor was whether you were planning to deploy NSX-T and in earlier releases, only Intel was supported as the NSX-T Edge required support for Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) and this was only supported with Intel-based processors.
With the latest NSX-T 3.0 release, AMD-based processors are now supported and per the release notes, the following CPUs can be used:
- AMD EPYC 7xx1 Series (Naples)
- AMD EPYC 3000 Embedded Family and newer
- AMD EPYC 7xx2 Series (Rome)
You will notice that only AMD's server line of CPUs known as EPYC are currently supported, which makes sense for running Production workloads. If you attempt to deploy an NSX-T Edge Node running on a non-EPYC platform, you will get an error message stating the CPU is not supported and I figured this was probably due to the lack of DPDK support in the consumer CPUs.
Yesterday, in our internal "Homelab" Slack channel, I came across an interesting tidbit from Andrea Spagnolo, a Sr. Field Engineer in our Cloud Native Business Unit who shared a pretty neat trick on how to get latest NSX-T 3.0 release to work with a Ryzen-based CPU.
Disclaimer: This is not officially supported by VMware. The behaviors described here can change in the future
First off, I want to thank Andrea for sharing but also credit to Beniamino Guarnaschelli and his blog post here which actually gave Andrea the idea to take a closer look as he was trying to get this setup in his own personal homelab.