Using NVIDIA GPUs on Flatcar


    Flatcar Container Linux offers support for the installation and customization of NVIDIA drivers for Tesla GPUs (both in VMs and on bare metal). Please take note that NVIDIA drivers have been migrated from being solely available on AWS and Azure to being accessible on all platforms with the release of version 3637.0.0. If you are using an older version, please be aware that it is restricted to AWS and Azure only.

    During the initial boot, the nvidia.service automates hardware detection and triggers driver installation within a dedicated Flatcar developer container, ensuring a streamlined process. The current version of the installed NVIDIA driver can be found in the /usr/share/flatcar/nvidia-metadata file, assuming it’s a vanilla installation and the version hasn’t been customized (see below).

    It’s important to note that Flatcar Container Linux adheres strictly to NVIDIA’s distribution terms, and therefore does not include pre-installed support for NVIDIA drivers. However, Flatcar simplifies the installation process by seamlessly integrating it into the first boot experience. This approach allows users to quickly and effortlessly set up the NVIDIA driver environment, aligning with NVIDIA’s guidelines for driver distribution.

    Since the installation is triggered after boot, the overall installation time is around 5-10 minutes. To check the installation status, use the following command:

    # journalctl -u nvidia -f

    Once the installation is complete, you will have access to various NVIDIA commands. To verify the installation, run the command:

    # nvidia-smi


    To customize the version number of the NVIDIA driver, you can override the value in the /etc/flatcar/nvidia-metadata file by specifying the desired version in the NVIDIA_DRIVER_VERSION. However, it’s important to ensure that the chosen driver version is compatible with the GPU hardware present in the instance. E.g., for older GPUs the 460 driver series is needed because the latest drivers dropped support for them.

    echo "NVIDIA_DRIVER_VERSION=460.106.00" | sudo tee /etc/flatcar/nvidia-metadata
    sudo systemctl restart nvidia

    Butane Config

    variant: flatcar
    version: 1.0.0
        - path: /etc/flatcar/nvidia-metadata
          mode: 0644
            inline: |