1. Introduction to NVIDIA vGPU Software Licensing

The following products are available as licensed products on NVIDIA Tesla™ GPUs:

  • NVIDIA® Quadro® Virtual Data Center Workstation (Quadro vDWS)
  • NVIDIA GRID™ Virtual PC
  • GRID Virtual Applications

This guide describes these licensed products and how to enable and use them on supported hardware.

1.1. How NVIDIA vGPU Software Licensing Works

Figure 1 provides an overview of NVIDIA vGPU software licensing:

Figure 1. NVIDIA vGPU Software Licensing Architecture

Diagram showing how the licensed products Quadro vDWS, GRID Virtual PC, and GRID Virtual Applications borrow and return licenses from the license server

When enabled on Tesla GPUs, licensed editions of Quadro vDWS or GRID Virtual PC are activated by obtaining a license over the network from an NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. The license is “checked out” or “borrowed” at the time the Virtual Machine (VM) is booted, and returned when the VM is shut down.

Note: Information on setting up and running the NVIDIA vGPU software License Server is provided in Virtual GPU License Server User Guide.

1.2. NVIDIA vGPU Software License Editions

NVIDIA vGPU software licenses come in three editions that enable different classes of features. The NVIDIA vGPU software automatically selects the right license edition based on the features being used:

Table 1. NVIDIA vGPU Software License Editions
NVIDIA vGPU Software License Edition NVIDIA vGPU Software Features vGPU Types Supported
GRID Virtual Application
  • Virtual GPUs for PC-level applications and server-based desktops that use Citrix XenApp, VMware Horizon, or other RDSH solution
A-series
GRID Virtual PC
  • Virtual GPUs for users of business virtual desktops who require a great user experience with PC applications for Windows, web browsers, and high-definition video
B-series
Quadro vDWS
  • Virtual GPUs for users of mid-range and high-end workstations who require access to remote professional graphics applications with full performance on any device anywhere
  • Workstation graphics on GPU pass through
Q-series, B-series

1.3. How this Guide Is Organized

The remainder of this guide is organized as follows:

2. Licensing NVIDIA vGPU

NVIDIA vGPU is a licensed product. When booted on a supported GPU, a vGPU runs at reduced capability until a license is acquired.

  • Screen resolution is limited to no higher than 1280×1024.
  • Frame rate is capped at 3 frames per second.
  • GPU resource allocations are limited, which will prevent some applications from running correctly.

These restrictions are removed when a license is acquired.

After you license NVIDIA vGPU, the VM that is set up to use NVIDIA vGPU is capable of running the full range of DirectX and OpenGL graphics applications.

If licensing is configured, the virtual machine (VM) obtains a license from the license server when a vGPU is booted on these GPUs. The VM retains the license until it is shut down. It then releases the license back to the license server. Licensing settings persist across reboots and need only be modified if the license server address changes, or the VM is switched to running GPU passthrough.

2.1. NVIDIA vGPU License Requirements

The license edition that you require to use NVIDIA vGPU depends on the vGPU type.

The Quadro vDWS license edition includes the GRID Virtual PC license edition: virtual GPUs that require a GRID Virtual PC license can also be used with a Quadro vDWS license.

Note: For more information on NVIDIA vGPU types, refer to Virtual GPU Software User Guide.

2.2. Licensing NVIDIA vGPU on Windows

  1. Open NVIDIA Control Panel:
    • Right-click on the Windows desktop and select NVIDIA Control Panel from the menu.
    • Open Windows Control Panel and double-click the NVIDIA Control Panel icon.
  2. In NVIDIA Control Panel, select the Manage License task in the Licensing section of the navigation pane.
    Note: If the Licensing section and Manage License task are not displayed in NVIDIA Control Panel, the system has been configured to hide licensing controls in NVIDIA Control Panel. For information about registry settings, see Applying Windows License Settings Through the Windows Registry.
    The Manage License task pane shows that NVIDIA vGPU is currently unlicensed.
    Figure 2. Managing vGPU licensing in NVIDIA Control Panel

    Screen capture showing the Manage License option in NVIDIA Control Panel for a vGPU license

  3. In the Primary License Server field, enter the address of your primaryNVIDIA vGPU software License Server. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense1.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.45. If you have only one license server configured, enter its address in this field.
  4. Leave the Port Number field under the Primary License Server field unset. The port defaults to 7070, which is the default port number used by NVIDIA vGPU software License Server.
  5. In the Secondary License Server field, enter the address of your secondary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. If you have only one license server configured, leave this field unset. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense2.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.46.
  6. Leave the Port Number field under the Secondary License Server field unset. The port defaults to 7070, which is the default port number used by NVIDIA vGPU software License Server.
  7. Click Apply to assign the settings. The system requests the appropriate license for the current vGPU from the configured license server.

The vGPU within the VM should now exhibit full frame rate, resolution, and display output capabilities. The VM is now capable of running the full range of DirectX and OpenGL graphics applications.

If the system fails to obtain a license, see Troubleshooting for guidance on troubleshooting.

2.3. Licensing NVIDIA vGPU on Linux

  1. Start NVIDIA X Server Settings by using the method for launching applications provided by your Linux distribution. For example, on Ubuntu Desktop, open the Dash, search for NVIDIA X Server Settings, and click the NVIDIA X Server Settings icon.
  2. In the NVIDIA X Server Settings window that opens, click Manage GRID License. The License Edition section of the NVIDIA X Server Settings window shows that NVIDIA vGPU is currently unlicensed.
  3. In the Primary Server field, enter the address of your primary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense1.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.45. If you have only one license server configured, enter its address in this field.
  4. Leave the Port Number field under the Primary Server field unset. The port defaults to 7070, which is the default port number used by NVIDIA vGPU software License Server.
  5. In the Secondary Server field, enter the address of your secondary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. If you have only one license server configured, leave this field unset. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense2.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.46.
  6. Leave the Port Number field under the Secondary Server field unset. The port defaults to 7070, which is the default port number used by NVIDIA vGPU software License Server.
  7. Click Apply to assign the settings. The system requests the appropriate license for the current vGPU from the configured license server.
The vGPU within the VM should now exhibit full frame rate, resolution, and display output capabilities. The VM is now capable of running the full range of DirectX and OpenGL graphics applications.
If the system fails to obtain a license, see Troubleshooting for guidance on troubleshooting.

3. Licensing Quadro vDWS with Pass-Through

Quadro vDWS is available on supported GPUs running in GPU pass-through mode to Windows and Linux VMs. Quadro vDWS requires a Quadro vDWS edition license.

Quadro vDWS provides these features:

  • Up to four virtual display heads at 4K resolution (unlicensed GPUs support a single virtual display head with maximum resolution of 2560×1600)
  • Workstation-specific graphics features and accelerations
  • Certified drivers for professional applications

3.1. Licensing Quadro vDWS on Windows

  1. Open NVIDIA Control Panel:
    • Right-click on the Windows desktop and select NVIDIA Control Panel from the menu.
    • Open Windows Control Panel and double-click the NVIDIA Control Panel icon.
  2. In NVIDIA Control Panel, select the Manage License task in the Licensing section of the navigation pane.
    Note: If the Licensing section and Manage License task are not displayed in NVIDIA Control Panel, the GPU or driver you are using do not support NVIDIA vGPU software licensed features.
    The Manage License task pane shows the current License Edition being used.

    Since 5.2: The default is GRID Virtual Apps.

    5.0, 5.1: The default is unlicensed.

    Figure 3. Managing Quadro vDWS Licensing in NVIDIA Control Panel

    Screen capture showing the Manage License option in NVIDIA Control Panel for a Quadro vDWS license

  3. Select Quadro vDWS.
  4. In the Primary License Server field, enter the address of your primary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense1.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.45. If you have only one license server configured, enter its address in this field.
  5. Leave the Port Number field under the Primary License Server field unset. It will default to 7070, which is the default port number used by NVIDIA vGPU software License Server.
  6. In the Secondary License Server field, enter the address of your secondary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. If you have only one license server configured, leave this field unset. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense2.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.46.
  7. Leave the Port Number field under the Secondary License Server field unset. The port defaults to 7070, which is the default port number used by NVIDIA vGPU software License Server.
  8. Click Apply to assign the settings. The License Edition section will indicate that your system is running in Quadro vDWS mode. The system will also request the appropriate license for the current GPU from the configured license server. If unsuccessful, the system warns you that it could not obtain a license. If necessary, refer to Troubleshooting for guidance on troubleshooting.
Once configured in NVIDIA Control Panel, licensing settings persist across reboots and need only be modified if the license server address changes, or the VM is switched to running NVIDIA vGPU.

3.2. Disabling Quadro vDWS on Windows

  1. Open NVIDIA Control Panel.
  2. Since 5.2: In the Manage License task, select GRID Virtual Apps.5.0, 5.1: In the Manage License task, select Tesla (unlicensed).
  3. Click Apply.
The setting does not take effect until the next time the system is shut down or rebooted. Quadro vDWS features remain available until then.

3.3. Licensing Quadro vDWS on Linux

  1. Start NVIDIA X Server Settings by using the method for launching applications provided by your Linux distribution. For example, on Ubuntu Desktop, open the Dash, search for NVIDIA X Server Settings , and click the NVIDIA X Server Settings icon.
  2. In the NVIDIA X Server Settings window that opens, click Manage GRID License. The License Edition section of the NVIDIA X Server Settings window shows the current License Edition being used.

    Since 5.2: The default is GRID Virtual Apps.

    5.0, 5.1: The default is unlicensed.

    Figure 4. Managing Quadro vDWS Licensing in NVIDIA X Server Settings

    Screen capture showing the Manage GRID License option in NVIDIA X Server Settings for a Quadro vDWS license

  3. Select Quadro vDWS.
  4. In the Primary Server field, enter the address of your primary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense1.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.45. If you have only one license server configured, enter its address in this field.
  5. Leave the Port Number field under the Primary Server field unset. The port defaults to 7070, which is the default port number used by NVIDIA vGPU software License Server.
  6. In the Secondary Server field, enter the address of your secondary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. If you have only one license server configured, leave this field unset. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense2.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.46.
  7. Leave the Port Number field under the Secondary Server field unset. The port defaults to 7070, which is the default port number used by NVIDIA vGPU software License Server.
  8. Click Apply to assign the settings. The License Edition section will indicate that your system is running in Quadro vDWS mode. The system will also request the appropriate license for the current GPU from the configured license server. If unsuccessful, the system warns you that it could not obtain a license. If necessary, refer to Troubleshooting for guidance on troubleshooting.
Once configured in NVIDIA X Server Settings, licensing settings persist across reboots and need only be modified if the license server address changes, or the VM is switched to running NVIDIA vGPU.

4. Advanced Topics

This chapter discusses advanced topics and settings for NVIDIA vGPU software licensing.

4.1. Licenses Obtained After Boot

Under normal operation, an NVIDIA vGPU software license is obtained by a platform during boot, before user login and launch of applications. If a license is not available, the system will periodically retry its license request to the license server. During this time, NVIDIA vGPU runs at reduced capability as described in Licensing NVIDIA vGPU. Similarly, Quadro vDWS features described in Licensing Quadro vDWS with Pass-Through are not available.

On Windows, unavailability of a license is indicated by a pop-up window or by the license status on the Licensing tab of the NVIDIA Control Panel. On Linux, unavailability of a license is indicated by log messages.

When a license is obtained, the licensed features are dynamically enabled and become available for immediate use. However, any application software launched before the license became available may need to be restarted in order to recognize and utilize the licensed features.

4.2. Operating with Intermittent Connectivity to the License Server

To check out a license, Quadro vDWS, GRID Virtual PC, and GRID Virtual Applications clients require connectivity to a license server when booting.

Since 5.2: After they have booted, clients may operate without connectivity to the license server for a period of up to 1 day, after which time the client will be warned of license expiration.

5.0, 5.1: After they have booted, clients may operate without connectivity to the license server for a period of up to 7 days, after which time the client will be warned of license expiration.

4.3. Applying Windows License Settings Through the Windows Registry

NVIDIA vGPU software licensing settings can be controlled via the Windows Registry, removing the need for manual interaction with NVIDIA Control Panel. Settings are stored in this registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\NVIDIA Corporation\Global\GridLicensing

Registry values are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2. Licensing Registry Settings
Name Type Description
ServerAddress

String (REG_SZ)

License server address

ServerPort

String (REG_SZ)

License server port number

(Optional: defaults to 7070)

FeatureType

DWord (REG_DWORD)

Since 5.2: 0: GRID Virtual Apps

5.0, 5.1: 0: Unlicensed (Tesla edition)

1: NVIDIA vGPU

2: Quadro vDWS

All other values reserved.

NvCplDisableManageLicensePage

DWord (REG_DWORD)

If this regkey is absent, licensing controls are shown in NVIDIA Control Panel for GPUs supporting licensing. When present:

0: Show licensing controls in NVIDIA Control Panel

1: Hide licensing controls in NVIDIA Control Panel

All other values reserved.

LicenseInterval

DWord (REG_DWORD)

An integer in the range 10-10080 that specifies the period of time in minutes for which a license can be borrowed after it is checked out

After this period has elapsed, the client must obtain a new license from the server.

Since 5.2: The default is 1440 minutes, which corresponds to a period of 1 day.

5.0, 5.1: The default is 10080 minutes, which corresponds to a period of 7 days.

Since 5.2: LingerInterval DWord (REG_DWORD)

An integer in the range 0–10080 that specifies the period of time in minutes for which a license will remain checked out against a client VM after the VM is shut down.

During this period, a VM that is rebooting can reclaim the same license after the reboot is complete.

After this period has elapsed, the license is freed and available for use by other clients.

The default is 0 minutes, which instantly frees licenses from a VM that is shut down cleanly.

If you oversubscribe your licenses and want to protect against accidental loss of a license during a reboot, increase the LingerInterval to a value that reflects the amount of time required for a reboot.

DisableExpirationPopups DWord (REG_DWORD)

Disables or enables pop-up notifications for NVIDIA vGPU software license expiration.

0: Enable license expiration pop-up notifications

1: Disable license expiration pop-up notifications

(Optional: defaults to 0)

Figure 5 shows an example of configuring virtual GPU licensing settings in the registry. Note it is sufficient to simply configure FeatureType = 1 (NVIDIA vGPU) and set the license server address in ServerAddress.

Figure 5. Configuring vGPU Licensing Through Windows Registry Settings

Screen capture of the Registry Editor window showing NVIDIA vGPU licensing settings

5. Troubleshooting

This chapter describes basic troubleshooting steps.

5.1. Known Issues

Before troubleshooting or filing a bug report, review the release notes that accompany each driver release, for information about known issues with the current release, and potential workarounds.

5.2. Troubleshooting Steps

If an NVIDIA vGPU software system fails to obtain a license, investigate the following as potential causes for the failure:

  • Check that the license server address and port number are correctly configured.
  • Run a network ping test from the NVIDIA vGPU software system to the license server address to verify that the system has network connectivity to the license server.
  • Verify that the date and time are configured correctly on the NVIDIA vGPU software system. If the time is set inaccurately or is adjusted backwards by a large amount, the system may fail to obtain a license.
  • Verify that the license server in use has available licenses of the type required by the NVIDIA vGPU software feature the NVIDIA vGPU software system is configured to use.

A. Licensing NVIDIA vGPU Software Software on Linux by Using a Configuration File

As an alternative to using NVIDIA X Server Settings, you can license NVIDIA vGPU software on Linux by using the configuration file /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf.

A.1. Licensing NVIDIA vGPU on Linux by Using a Configuration File

  1. As root, open the file /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf in a plain-text editor, such as vi.
    [nvidia@localhost ~]$ sudo vi /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf
    Note: You can create the /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf file by copying the supplied template file /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf.template.
  2. Set ServerAddress to the address of your primary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense1.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.45. If you have only one license server configured, set ServerAddress to the address of the server.
  3. Optional: Set ServerPort to the port number of your primary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. If you do not set ServerPort, it will default to 7070, which is the default port number that is used by the NVIDIA vGPU software License Server.
  4. Set BackupServerAddress to the address of your secondary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense2.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.46. If you have only one license server configured, do not set BackupServerAddress.
  5. Optional: Set BackupServerPort to the port number of your secondary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. If you do not set BackupServerPort, it will default to 7070, which is the default port number that is used by the NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. If you have only one license server configured, do not set BackupServerPort.
  6. Set FeatureType to 1, to license vGPU.
  7. Save your changes to the /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf file.
  8. Restart the nvidia-gridd service:
    [nvidia@localhost ~]$  sudo service nvidia-gridd restart
    The nvidia-gridd service requests the appropriate license for the current vGPU from the configured license server.
  9. Optional: Confirm that the service has obtained a license by examining the log messages written to /var/log/messages:
    [nvidia@localhost ~]$ sudo grep gridd /var/log/messages
    …
    Aug 5 15:40:06 localhost nvidia-gridd: Started (4293)
    Aug 5 15:40:24 localhost nvidia-gridd: License acquired successfully.
The vGPU within the VM should now exhibit full frame rate, resolution, and display output capabilities.

gridd.conf File for NVIDIA vGPU

The following example shows a gridd.conf file for NVIDIA vGPU in which options are set as follows:

  • ServerAddress is set to gridlicense1.example.com.
  • BackupServerAddress is set to gridlicense2.example.com.
  • ServerPort and BackupServerPort are both set to 7070.
  • FeatureType is set to 1.
# /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf.template - Configuration file for NVIDIA Grid Daemon

# This is a template for the configuration file for NVIDIA Grid Daemon.
# For details on the file format, please refer to the nvidia-gridd(1)
# man page.

# Description: Set License Server Address
# Data type: string
# Format:  "<address>"
ServerAddress= gridlicense1.example.com

# Description: Set License Server port number
# Data type: integer
# Format:  <port>, default is 7070
ServerPort=7070

# Description: Set Backup License Server Address
# Data type: string
# Format:  "<address>"
BackupServerAddress= gridlicense2.example.com

# Description: Set Backup License Server port number
# Data type: integer
# Format:  <port>, default is 7070
BackupServerPort=7070

# Description: Set Feature to be enabled
# Data type: integer
# Possible values:
#    0 => for unlicensed state
#    1 => for GRID vGPU
#    2 => for Quadro Virtual Datacenter Workstation
FeatureType=1

# Description: Parameter to enable or disable Grid Licensing tab in nvidia-settings
# Data type: boolean
# Possible values: TRUE or FALSE, default is FALSE
#EnableUI=TRUE

# Description: Set license borrow period in minutes
# Data type: integer
# Possible values: 10 to 10080 mins(7 days), default is 1440 mins(1 day)
#LicenseInterval=1440

# Description: Set license linger period in minutes
# Data type: integer
# Possible values: 0 to 10080 mins(7 days), default is 0 mins
#LingerInterval=10
If the system fails to obtain a license, see Troubleshooting for guidance on troubleshooting.

A.2. Licensing Quadro vDWS on Linux by Using a Configuration File

  1. As root, open the file /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf in a plain-text editor, such as vi.
    [nvidia@localhost ~]$ sudo vi /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf
    Note: You can create the /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf file by copying the supplied template file /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf.template.
  2. Set ServerAddress to the address of your primary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense1.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.45. If you have only one license server configured, set ServerAddress to the address of the server.
  3. Optional: Set ServerPort to the port number of your primary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. If you do not set ServerPort, it will default to 7070, which is the default port number that is used by the NVIDIA vGPU software License Server.
  4. Set BackupServerAddress to the address of your secondary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. The address can be a fully-qualified domain name such as gridlicense2.example.com, or an IP address such as 10.31.20.46. If you have only one license server configured, do not set BackupServerAddress.
  5. Optional: Set BackupServerPort to the port number of your secondary NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. If you do not set BackupServerPort, it will default to 7070, which is the default port number that is used by the NVIDIA vGPU software License Server. If you have only one license server configured, do not set BackupServerPort.
  6. Set FeatureType to 2, to license Quadro vDWS.
  7. Save your changes to the /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf file.
  8. Restart the nvidia-gridd service:
    [nvidia@localhost ~]$ sudo service nvidia-gridd restart
    The service should automatically obtain a license.
  9. Optional: Confirm that the service has obtained a license by examining the log messages written to /var/log/messages:
     [nvidia@localhost ~]$ sudo grep gridd /var/log/messages
    …
    Aug 5 17:12:15 localhost nvidia-gridd: Started (10430)
    Aug 5 17:12:34 localhost nvidia-gridd: License acquired successfully.
Once configured in gridd.conf, licensing settings persist across reboots and need only be modified if the license server address changes, or the VM is switched to running NVIDIA vGPU.

gridd.conf File for Quadro vDWS

The following example shows a gridd.conf file for Quadro vDWS in which options are set as follows:

  • ServerAddress is set to gridlicense1.example.com.
  • BackupServerAddress is set to gridlicense2.example.com.
  • ServerPort and BackupServerPort are both set to 7070.
  • FeatureType is set to 2.
# /etc/nvidia/gridd.conf.template - Configuration file for NVIDIA Grid Daemon

# This is a template for the configuration file for NVIDIA Grid Daemon.
# For details on the file format, please refer to the nvidia-gridd(1)
# man page.

# Description: Set License Server Address
# Data type: string
# Format:  "<address>"
ServerAddress= gridlicense1.example.com

# Description: Set License Server port number
# Data type: integer
# Format:  <port>, default is 7070
ServerPort=7070

# Description: Set Backup License Server Address
# Data type: string
# Format:  "<address>"
BackupServerAddress= gridlicense2.example.com

# Description: Set Backup License Server port number
# Data type: integer
# Format:  <port>, default is 7070
BackupServerPort=7070

# Description: Set Feature to be enabled
# Data type: integer
# Possible values:
#    0 => for unlicensed state
#    1 => for GRID vGPU
#    2 => for Quadro Virtual Datacenter Workstation
FeatureType=2

# Description: Parameter to enable or disable Grid Licensing tab in nvidia-settings
# Data type: boolean
# Possible values: TRUE or FALSE, default is FALSE
#EnableUI=TRUE

# Description: Set license borrow period in minutes
# Data type: integer
# Possible values: 10 to 10080 mins(7 days), default is 1440 mins(1 day)
#LicenseInterval=1440

# Description: Set license linger period in minutes
# Data type: integer
# Possible values: 0 to 10080 mins(7 days), default is 0 mins
#LingerInterval=10

Notices

Notice

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