(BETA) Virtual GPU Accelerated instance (vGPU)

Last changed: 2024-05-02


vGPU infrastructure upgrade Thursday, February 15, 2024

The vGPU hypervisors will be upgraded with new NVIDIA vGPU drivers and software. After this upgrade, it will be necessary to update the drivers in running instances. See Upgrading the instance drivers for how to upgrade the driver.


This document is a work in progress. More information to come.

This document describes the use of Virtual GPU accelerated instances in NREC.


The vGPU service in NREC is in a beta stage. The stability in this service may be lacking compared to the standard NREC services.

Getting Access

Please use the normal form to apply for an vGPU project, for access to the GPU infrastructure. If you have any questions, please use the normal support channels as described on our support page. You will not be able to use an existing project with vGPU.


The following are the preliminary policies that are in effect for access and use of the vGPU infrastructure. The main purpose of the policies is to ensure that resources aren’t wasted. The policies may change in the future:

  • We want “pure” vGPU projects for easier resource control. To use the vGPU infrastructure, apply for an vGPU project.

  • The vGPU resources must be used. Having instances running idle is not acceptable in the vGPU infrastructure.

  • Delete the instance when it’s no longer needed.

If you paid for the hardware yourself only the first two policies apply.


There will be different types of hardware used in vGPU but this is the initial setup:


  • GPU: NVIDIA Tesla V100 PCIe 16GB (each split between 2 instances)

  • CPU: Intel Xeon Gold 5215 CPU @ 2.50GHz


  • GPU: NVIDIA Tesla P40 PCIe 24GB (each split between 2 instances)

  • CPU: Intel Xeon Gold 6226R CPU @ 2.90GHz


We currently have the following flavors for use with vGPU:

Flavor name

Virtual CPUs



Virtual GPU (BGO)

Virtual GPU (OSL)



50 GB

8 GiB

V100 8 GiB

P40 12 GiB



50 GB

16 GiB

V100 8 GiB

P40 12 GiB



50 GB

32 GiB

V100 8 GiB

P40 12 GiB

Prebuilt images

The NREC Team provides prebuilt images with the vGPU driver already installed. We strongly recommend using these, as vGPU drivers are not publicly available. These images become available to your project when you are granted access to the vGPU resources.


Image name

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

vGPU Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

vGPU Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

Ubuntu 24.04 LTS

vGPU Ubuntu 24.04 LTS

Alma Linux 8.x

vGPU Alma Linux 8

Alma Linux 9.x

vGPU Alma Linux 9

vGPU type

Only the vGPU Compute Server type is available, so vGPU for graphics acceleration and visualization is not available.

vGPU software product version

The current version of the NVIDIA Grid Software is 15 (driver 525 series). When the product version in the NREC infrastructure is upgraded, an upgrade of the software in the running instances may be required. We will provide information on how to upgrade running instances when necessary.

Testing basic vGPU funtionality

When you login to your newly created vGPU instance, you can verify that the vGPU device is present:

$ sudo lspci | grep -i nvidia
05:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation GV100GL [Tesla V100 PCIe 16GB] (rev a1)

From this output it seems like you have got the whole PCIe card. However, running the vGPU software reveals that you have only got a partition of the card:

$ nvidia-smi
| NVIDIA-SMI 470.63.01    Driver Version: 470.63.01    CUDA Version: 11.4     |
| GPU  Name        Persistence-M| Bus-Id        Disp.A | Volatile Uncorr. ECC |
| Fan  Temp  Perf  Pwr:Usage/Cap|         Memory-Usage | GPU-Util  Compute M. |
|                               |                      |               MIG M. |
|   0  GRID V100-8C        On   | 00000000:05:00.0 Off |                    0 |
| N/A   N/A    P0    N/A /  N/A |    592MiB /  8192MiB |      0%      Default |
|                               |                      |                  N/A |

| Processes:                                                                  |
|  GPU   GI   CI        PID   Type   Process name                  GPU Memory |
|        ID   ID                                                   Usage      |
|  No running processes found                                                 |

Now that we have verified that the vGPU is available and ready for use, we are ready to install software that can utilize the accelerator. Only the drivers are preinstalled in the NREC provided images.

Installation of CUDA libraries


Do not use the package repositories provided by NVIDIA to install CUDA libraries. The dependency chain in these repositories forces the installation of generic NVIDIA display drivers witch removes the vGPU drivers provided by the NREC Team. Only install drivers and driver updates provided by the NREC Team.


The CUDA library installation require a huge amount of space in addition to the instalaltion file itself. If you have a root disk of 20 GB, you will probably run into a full file system during the process. We recommend that you create a volume of at least 20 GB, create a filesystem on it and mount it temporarily somewhere, where you downlaod the file and perform the installation. This volume can be removed afterwards.

NREC is considering creating vGPU flavors with a large root disk due to this issue.

Now head over to the download page on the NVIDIA website and select Drivers->All NVIDIA Drivers. Search for Linux 64-bit drivers in the “Data Center / Tesla” product type. Download and install the package installing only the CUDA libraries, excluding the driver, but including samples for this example:

$ curl -O https://developer.download.nvidia.com/compute/cuda/12.2.2/local_installers/cuda_12.2.2_535.104.05_linux.run
$ chmod +x cuda_12.2.2_535.104.05_linux.run
$ sudo ./cuda_12.2.2_535.104.05_linux.run --silent --no-drm --samples --toolkit

After a while the installation is finished. Next step is to install a compiler and test one of the samples. For Alma Linux 8 we install the compiler with yum:

$ dnf install -y gcc-c++

In Ubuntu we use apt-get:

$ apt-get install 'g++'

Finally run some provided demo applications to verify the system.

$ /usr/local/cuda/extras/demo_suite/deviceQuery
$ /usr/local/cuda/extras/demo_suite/bandwidthTest

The commands should both produce output showing it find a GPU device.

Upgrading the instance drivers

The drivers of the hypervisor (the physical host containing the GPU cards the instances utilizes) and those of the instances themselves, must correspond. Thus the instances must have new drivers installed whenever the host is upgraded. We attempt to minimize the number of such occurences, but for instance new kernels might require updated drivers from the hardware vendor. All our GOLD offerings have the up-to-date and correct version pre-installed, but any existing instances must be updated as well. When this is the case, the users of any such affected instance are notified and referred to this section for instructions on how to perform this action.

In order to update or reinstall the vGPU drivers we need to determine the newest installed kernel and build the driver for this kernel version. Below are shell script snippets for Ubuntu and AlmaLinux, which you can simply cut and paste and run in your instance to make this work.

# Get latest NVIDIA GRID package and build with dkms
cd /tmp
curl -O https://download.iaas.uio.no/nrec/nrec-resources/files/nvidia-vgpu/linux-grid-latest
chmod +x linux-grid-latest
sudo ./linux-grid-latest --dkms --no-drm -n -s

# Clean up
rm -f ./linux-grid-latest

After running the shell snippet you may need to reboot the instance.

Verify that the driver works by running nvidia-smi. The output should look like the example below (it varies slightly between the OSL and BGO regions):

$ nvidia-smi
| NVIDIA-SMI 535.154.05             Driver Version: 535.154.05   CUDA Version: 12.2     |
| GPU  Name                 Persistence-M | Bus-Id        Disp.A | Volatile Uncorr. ECC |
| Fan  Temp   Perf          Pwr:Usage/Cap |         Memory-Usage | GPU-Util  Compute M. |
|                                         |                      |               MIG M. |
|   0  GRID P40-12Q                   On  | 00000000:05:00.0 Off |                  N/A |
| N/A   N/A    P8              N/A /  N/A |   2318MiB / 12288MiB |      0%      Default |
|                                         |                      |             Disabled |

| Processes:                                                                            |
|  GPU   GI   CI        PID   Type   Process name                            GPU Memory |
|        ID   ID                                                             Usage      |
|    0   N/A  N/A      1104      C   python3                                    2318MiB |

Known issues

  • Drivers: you should use the official NREC vGPU images with preinstalled drivers. These drivers must not be changed or updated without instructions from the NREC Team. Specifically; never install stock NVIDIA Drivers found on the NVIDIA web page or those drivers found in the CUDA repositories. Those drivers do not support vGPU and will break the vGPU functionality. If you do not have access to the NREC vGPU images, please contact support and ask for access.

  • Starting more than one instance with vGPU at the same time might result in some of them ending in an error state. This can be solved by deleting them and try to starting again. We recommend only starting one at the time to avoid this bug.