NVIDIA Datacenter GPU Driver Software Lifecycle Policy

This document describes the software lifecycle policy of NVIDIA® Datacenter (previously Tesla®) Drivers for supported Linux and Windows distributions.

Introduction

Starting in 2019, NVIDIA has introduced a new enterprise software lifecycle for datacenter GPU drivers. To download the latest datacenter GPU drivers (or access older versions of the driver), visit NVIDIA Driver Downloads (and choose "Tesla/Datacenter" from the "Product Type" dropdown box).

For getting started with installing NVIDIA drivers, refer to the quickstart guide.

1.1. Definitions

This section includes some definitions of the NVIDIA datacenter driver releases.

New Feature Branch (NFB) Release

Major feature release, indicated by a new branch X number.

Release cadence: twice a year.

Minor Release

Release that updates an NFB release, indicated by the Y version number (in X.Y) within a given branch.

Release cadence: regular bug fix releases and critical security updates at approx. every quarter. See also Note below.

Long Term Service Branch (LTSB) Release

NFB release that will be supported and maintained for a much longer time than a normal NFB is supported. Every LTSB is an NFB, but not every NFB is an LTSB.

Note: General guidance only. The actual security update and release cadence can change at NVIDIA’s discretion.

2. Driver Releases

NFB Releases

Customers who are looking to pick up new features (e.g. new CUDA releases that introduce new APIs) as they become available will do so through the NFB releases.

NFB releases will receive regular bug and security updates, through minor releases, during the 1 year that they are supported.

LTSB Releases

Customers who are looking for a longer cycle of support from their deployed branch will gain that support through LTSB releases. LTSB releases will receive bug updates and critical security updates, on a reasonable effort basis, through minor releases during the 3 years that they are supported.

Note that new CUDA releases will be supported on LTSBs via the CUDA Compatibility Platform.

Evaluation/Developer Releases

NVIDIA also make rolling driver releases to support consumer products. These drivers can be used for evaluation but are not recommended for deployment in production (datacenter) environments. Either NFB or LTSB releases are recommended for this purpose. In some cases, CUDA Toolkit releases may be done in conjunction with evaluation/developer drivers.

Note that new CUDA Toolkit releases will be supported on NFBs and LTSBs via CUDA Compatiblity.

Comparison of Evaluation/Developer, NFB and LTSB Releases

Table 1.
  New Feature Branch (NFB) Long Term Service Branch (LTSB) Evaluation/Developer Branch
Length of support 1 year 3 years N/A
Minor release (bug updates and critical security updates) Yes Yes N/A
Major release cadence Twice a year. See also note below. At least once per hardware architecture. See also note below. At least once every 3 months.
Note: General guidance only. The actual security update and release cadence can change at NVIDIA’s discretion.

Notices

Notice

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