NVIDIA Driver Containers

About the Driver Containers


The NVIDIA GPU driver container allows the provisioning of the NVIDIA driver through the use of containers. This provides a few benefits over a standard driver installation, for example:

  • Ease of deployment

  • Fast installation

  • Reproducibility

The driver container can be used in standard Linux distributions and container operating system distributions such as Red Hat CoreOS, Flatcar Linux or others that have immutable read-only file systems.

For more details on the internals of the driver container, see this presentation.


The list of prerequisites for running a driver container is described below:

  • Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04 or Centos 7 with the IPMI driver enabled and the Nouveau driver disabled

  • NVIDIA GPU with Architecture > Fermi (2.1)

  • The NVIDIA Container Toolkit for Docker configured with the root option. See below for configuration.

  • If you are running Ubuntu 18.04 with an AWS kernel, you also need to enable the i2c_core kernel module


You will need to update the NVIDIA Container Toolkit config file (/etc/nvidia-container-runtime/config.toml) so that the root directive points to the driver container as shown below:

disable-require = false
#swarm-resource = "DOCKER_RESOURCE_GPU"

root = "/run/nvidia/driver"
#path = "/usr/bin/nvidia-container-cli"
environment = []
#debug = "/var/log/nvidia-container-toolkit.log"
#ldcache = "/etc/ld.so.cache"
load-kmods = true
#no-cgroups = false
#user = "root:video"
ldconfig = "@/sbin/ldconfig.real"

#debug = "/var/log/nvidia-container-runtime.log"


Ubuntu 18.04

Follow the guide to get started with the NVIDIA Container Toolkit for Docker.

Now modify the configuration to update the root directive:

$ sudo sed -i 's/^#root/root/' /etc/nvidia-container-runtime/config.toml

Disable the Nouveau driver modules:

$ sudo tee /etc/modules-load.d/ipmi.conf <<< "ipmi_msghandler" \
  && sudo tee /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nouveau.conf <<< "blacklist nouveau" \
  && sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nouveau.conf <<< "options nouveau modeset=0"

If using an AWS kernel, ensure that the i2c_core kernel module is enabled:

$ sudo tee /etc/modules-load.d/ipmi.conf <<< "i2c_core"

Update the initramfs:

$ sudo update-initramfs -u

Optionally, if the kernel is not up to date

$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Reboot your system (or VM) if required:

$ sudo reboot

Run the driver container:

$ sudo docker run --name nvidia-driver -d --privileged --pid=host \
  -v /run/nvidia:/run/nvidia:shared \
  -v /var/log:/var/log \
  --restart=unless-stopped \

Once the driver container is running, try running a GPU container:

$ sudo docker run --gpus all nvidia/cuda:11.0-base nvidia-smi

Container Images

Driver containers are released for the NVIDIA datacenter driver releases.

The following tags are available on both NVIDIA DockerHub and NGC.

Licenses and Contributing

By downloading and using the driver container, you accept the terms and conditions of these licenses:

  • NVIDIA Driver The license for the NVIDIA datacenter drivers is available at this link.

Since the underlying images may include components licensed under open-source licenses such as GPL, the sources for these components are archived on the CUDA opensource index.