Are NI Products Supported on Virtual Machines (VMs)?

Updated Oct 17, 2018

Reported In

Operating System

  • Windows

Other

  • Virtual Machine
  • VMWare
  • VirtualBox
  • Parallels
  • Windows Virtual PC

Issue Details

I'm trying to use NI hardware with a virtual machine and I'm seeing a consistent presence of variable errors including NI MAX not being able to identify my hardware. Is this expected behavior?  Is NI hardware supported on VMs?

Solution

NI Software with Virtual Machines:

  • NI Software should generally run as expected on VMs (though not officially supported in most cases, see note below). 

NI Hardware with Virtual Machines:

  • NI hardware is not supported on VMs due to communication challenges and the possibility of incorrect data. Virtual machines generally cannot access the PCI bus. As such, PCI- and PCIe-based instruments are inherently incompatible with VMs, as are MXI connected PXI and PXIe chassis. Modern VMs often allow access to USB ports (known as USB pass-through). Given the hosted nature of the VM, the variable speed of data transfer associated with USB pass-through may cause varying errors when communicating with DAQ devices. Ethernet pass-through is fairly ubiquitous on VMs, and should allow for communication with remote devices.

NI Volume License Manager (VLM) with Virtual Machines:

  • In general, NI VLM is supported in virtualized environments as long as the virtual machine is running an operating system that is supported by NI VLM. For more information and considerations when running NI VLM on a VM, see Volume License Manager on a Virtual Machine.

Additional Information

A virtual machine (VM) is an isolated guest operating system (OS) running within a host OS. VMs virtualize the hardware platform, allowing the guest OS to run using a non-native instruction set, in isolation from the host OS. 
A Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) is also a similar concept and is likewise only supported as a VM.

NI does support virtualization in some cases, such as when using NI Real-Time Hypervisor.

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