GPU Support (NVIDIA CUDA & AMD ROCm)

SingularityCE natively supports running application containers that use NVIDIA’s CUDA GPU compute framework, or AMD’s ROCm solution. This allows easy access to users of GPU-enabled machine learning frameworks such as tensorflow, regardless of the host operating system. As long as the host has a driver and library installation for CUDA/ROCm then it’s possible to e.g. run tensorflow in an up-to-date Ubuntu 20.04 container, from an older RHEL 7 host.

Applications that support OpenCL for compute acceleration can also be used easily, with an additional bind option.

With SingularityCE 3.9 experimental support has been introduced to use Nvidia’s nvidia-container-cli tooling for GPU container setup. This functionality, accessible via the new --nvccli flag, improves compatibility with OCI runtimes and exposes additional container configuration options.

NVIDIA GPUs & CUDA (Legacy)

Commands that run, or otherwise execute containers (shell, exec) can take an --nv option, which will setup the container’s environment to use an NVIDIA GPU and the basic CUDA libraries to run a CUDA enabled application. The --nv flag will:

  • Ensure that the /dev/nvidiaX device entries are available inside the container, so that the GPU cards in the host are accessible.

  • Locate and bind the basic CUDA libraries from the host into the container, so that they are available to the container, and match the kernel GPU driver on the host.

  • Set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH inside the container so that the bound-in version of the CUDA libraries are used by applications run inside the container.

Requirements

To use the --nv flag to run a CUDA application inside a container you must ensure that:

  • The host has a working installation of the NVIDIA GPU driver, and a matching version of the basic NVIDIA/CUDA libraries. The host does not need to have an X server running, unless you want to run graphical apps from the container.

  • The NVIDIA libraries are in the system’s library search path.

  • The application inside your container was compiled for a CUDA version, and device capability level, that is supported by the host card and driver.

These requirements are usually satisfied by installing the NVIDIA drivers and CUDA packages directly from the NVIDIA website. Linux distributions may provide NVIDIA drivers and CUDA libraries, but they are often outdated which can lead to problems running applications compiled for the latest versions of CUDA.

SingularityCE will find the NVIDIA/CUDA libraries on your host using the list of libraries in the configuration file etc/singularity/nvbliblist, and resolving paths through the ldconfig cache. At time of release this list is approriate for the latest stable CUDA version. It can be modified by the administrator to add additional libraries if necessary. See the admin guide for more details.

Example - tensorflow-gpu

Tensorflow is commonly used for machine learning projects but can be diffficult to install on older systems, and is updated frequently. Running tensorflow from a container removes installation problems and makes trying out new versions easy.

The official tensorflow repository on Docker Hub contains NVIDA GPU supporting containers, that will use CUDA for processing. You can view the available versions on the tags page on Docker Hub

The container is large, so it’s best to build or pull the docker image to a SIF before you start working with it:

$ singularity pull docker://tensorflow/tensorflow:latest-gpu
...
INFO:    Creating SIF file...
INFO:    Build complete: tensorflow_latest-gpu.sif

Then run the container with GPU support:

$ singularity run --nv tensorflow_latest-gpu.sif

________                               _______________
___  __/__________________________________  ____/__  /________      __
__  /  _  _ \_  __ \_  ___/  __ \_  ___/_  /_   __  /_  __ \_ | /| / /
_  /   /  __/  / / /(__  )/ /_/ /  /   _  __/   _  / / /_/ /_ |/ |/ /
/_/    \___//_/ /_//____/ \____//_/    /_/      /_/  \____/____/|__/


You are running this container as user with ID 1000 and group 1000,
which should map to the ID and group for your user on the Docker host. Great!

Singularity>

You can verify the GPU is available within the container by using the tensorflow list_local_devices() function:

Singularity> python
Python 2.7.15+ (default, Jul  9 2019, 16:51:35)
[GCC 7.4.0] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> from tensorflow.python.client import device_lib
>>> print(device_lib.list_local_devices())
2019-11-14 15:32:09.743600: I tensorflow/core/platform/cpu_feature_guard.cc:142] Your CPU supports instructions that this TensorFlow binary was not compiled to use: AVX2 FMA
2019-11-14 15:32:09.784482: I tensorflow/core/platform/profile_utils/cpu_utils.cc:94] CPU Frequency: 3292620000 Hz
2019-11-14 15:32:09.787911: I tensorflow/compiler/xla/service/service.cc:168] XLA service 0x565246634360 executing computations on platform Host. Devices:
2019-11-14 15:32:09.787939: I tensorflow/compiler/xla/service/service.cc:175]   StreamExecutor device (0): Host, Default Version
2019-11-14 15:32:09.798428: I tensorflow/stream_executor/platform/default/dso_loader.cc:44] Successfully opened dynamic library libcuda.so.1
2019-11-14 15:32:09.842683: I tensorflow/stream_executor/cuda/cuda_gpu_executor.cc:1006] successful NUMA node read from SysFS had negative value (-1), but there must be at least one NUMA node, so returning NUMA node zero
2019-11-14 15:32:09.843252: I tensorflow/compiler/xla/service/service.cc:168] XLA service 0x5652469263d0 executing computations on platform CUDA. Devices:
2019-11-14 15:32:09.843265: I tensorflow/compiler/xla/service/service.cc:175]   StreamExecutor device (0): GeForce GT 730, Compute Capability 3.5
2019-11-14 15:32:09.843380: I tensorflow/stream_executor/cuda/cuda_gpu_executor.cc:1006] successful NUMA node read from SysFS had negative value (-1), but there must be at least one NUMA node, so returning NUMA node zero
2019-11-14 15:32:09.843984: I tensorflow/core/common_runtime/gpu/gpu_device.cc:1618] Found device 0 with properties:
name: GeForce GT 730 major: 3 minor: 5 memoryClockRate(GHz): 0.9015
...

Multiple GPUs

By default, SingularityCE makes all host devices available in the container. When the --contain option is used a minimal /dev tree is created in the container, but the --nv option will ensure that all nvidia devices on the host are present in the container.

This behaviour is different to nvidia-docker where an NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES environment variable is used to control whether some or all host GPUs are visible inside a container. The nvidia-container-runtime explicitly binds the devices into the container dependent on the value of NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES.

To control which GPUs are used in a SingularityCE container that is run with --nv you can set SINGULARITYENV_CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES before running the container, or CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES inside the container. This variable will limit the GPU devices that CUDA programs see.

E.g. to run the tensorflow container, but using only the first GPU in the host, we could do:

$ SINGULARITYENV_CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES=0 singularity run --nv tensorflow_latest-gpu.sif

# or

$ export SINGULARITYENV_CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES=0
$ singularity run tensorflow_latest-gpu.sif

Troubleshooting

If the host installation of the NVIDIA / CUDA driver and libraries is working and up-to-date there are rarely issues running CUDA programs inside of SingularityCE containers. The most common issue seen is:

CUDA_ERROR_UNKNOWN when everything seems to be correctly configured

CUDA depends on multiple kernel modules being loaded. Not all of the modules are loaded at system startup. Some portions of the NVIDA driver stack are initialized when first needed. This is done using a setuid root binary, so initializing can be triggered by any user on the host. In SingularityCE containers, privilege escalation is blocked, so the setuid root binary cannot initialize the driver stack fully.

If you experience CUDA_ERROR_UNKNOWN in a container, initialize the driver stack on the host first, by running a CUDA program there or modprobe nvidia_uvm as root, and using nvidia-persistenced to avoid driver unload.

NVIDIA GPUs & CUDA (nvidia-container-cli)

SingularityCE 3.9 introduces the --nvccli option, which will instruct SingularityCE to perform GPU container setup using the nvidia-container-cli utility. This utility must be installed separately from SingularityCE. It is available in the repositories of some distributions, and at: https://nvidia.github.io/libnvidia-container/

Warning

This feature is considered experimental in SingularityCE 3.9. It cannot not replace the legacy NVIDIA support in all situations, and should be tested carefully before use in production workflows.

Using nvidia-container-cli to configure a container for GPU operation has a number of advantages, including:

  • The tool is maintained by NVIDIA, and will track new features / libraries in new CUDA releases closely.

  • Support for passing only specific GPUs / MIG devices into the container.

  • Support for providing different classes of GPU cabability to the container, e.g. compute, graphics, and display functionality.

  • Configuration via the same environment variables that are in use with OCI containers.

Requirements & Limitations

  • nvidia-container-cli must be installed on your host, owned by the root user. Its path must be set in singularity.conf. This value will be set at build time if nvidia-container-cli is found on the search $PATH.

  • Your system should support the overlay filesystem if you will be running SIF containers in set-uid mode.

  • --nvccli cannot currently be used in combination with --fakeroot in a set-uid install of Singularity. Use the traditional binding method with --nv only.

  • There are known problems with library discovery for the current nvidia-container-cli in recent Debian distributions. See this GitHub issue

Example - tensorflow-gpu

Tensorflow can be run using --nvccli in the same manner as the legacy --nv binding approach. Pull the large container to a SIF file:

$ singularity pull docker://tensorflow/tensorflow:latest-gpu
...
INFO:    Creating SIF file...
INFO:    Build complete: tensorflow_latest-gpu.sif

Then run the container with nvidia-container-cli GPU support:

$ singularity run --nv --nvccli tensorflow_latest-gpu.sif
INFO:    Setting --writable-tmpfs (required by nvidia-container-cli)

________                               _______________
___  __/__________________________________  ____/__  /________      __
__  /  _  _ \_  __ \_  ___/  __ \_  ___/_  /_   __  /_  __ \_ | /| / /
_  /   /  __/  / / /(__  )/ /_/ /  /   _  __/   _  / / /_/ /_ |/ |/ /
/_/    \___//_/ /_//____/ \____//_/    /_/      /_/  \____/____/|__/


You are running this container as user with ID 1000 and group 1000,
which should map to the ID and group for your user on the Docker host. Great!

Singularity>

Note that --writable--tmpfs was automatically set, which allows files to be written inside the container to an ephemeral overlay that will be discarded on exit. This is required for the nvidia-container-cli functionality.

You can verify the GPU is available within the container by using the tensorflow list_local_devices() function:

Singularity> python
Python 2.7.15+ (default, Jul  9 2019, 16:51:35)
[GCC 7.4.0] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> from tensorflow.python.client import device_lib
>>> print(device_lib.list_local_devices())
...
device_type: "GPU"
memory_limit: 14474280960
locality {
  bus_id: 1
  links {
  }
}
incarnation: 13349913758992036690
physical_device_desc: "device: 0, name: Tesla T4, pci bus id: 0000:00:1e.0, compute capability: 7.5"
...

GPU Selection

When running with --nvccli, by default SingularityCE will expose all GPUs on the host inside the container. This mirrors the functionality of the legacy GPU support for the most common use-case.

Setting the SINGULARITY_CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES environment variable before running a container is still supported, to control which GPUs are used by CUDA programs that honor CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES. However, more powerful GPU isolation is possible using the --contain flag and NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES environment variable. This controls which GPU devices are bound into the /dev tree in the container.

For example, to pass only the 2nd and 3rd GPU into a container running on a system with 4 GPUs, run the following:

$ export NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES=1,2
$ singularity run --contain --nv --nvccli mycontainer.sif

Note that:

  • NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES is not prepended with SINGULARITY_ as this variable controls container setup, and is not passed into the container.

  • The GPU device identifiers start at 0, so 1,2 refers to the 2nd and 3rd GPU.

  • You can use GPU UUIDs in place of numeric identifiers. Use nvidia-smi -L to list both numeric IDs and UUIDs available on the system.

  • all can be used to pass all available GPUs into the container.

If you use --contain without setting NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES, no GPUs will be available in the container, and a warning will be shown:

$ singularity run --contain --nv --nvccli mycontainer.sif
WARNING: When using nvidia-container-cli with --contain NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES
must be set or no GPUs will be available in container.

To restore the behaviour of the legacy GPU handling, set NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES=0 when running with --contain.

If your system contains Ampere or newer GPUs that support virtual MIG devices, you can specify MIG identifiers / UUIDs.

$ export NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES=MIG-GPU-5c89852c-d268-c3f3-1b07-005d5ae1dc3f/7/0

SingularityCE does not configure MIG partitions. It is expected that these would be statically configured by the system administrator, or setup dynamically by a job scheduler / workflow system according to the requirements of the job.

Other GPU Options

In --nvccli mode, SingularityCE understands the following additional environment variables. Note that these environment variables are read from the environment where singularity is run. SingularityCE does not currently read these settings from the container environment.

  • NVIDIA_DRIVER_CAPABILITIES controls which libraries and utilities are mounted in the container, to support different requirements. The default value under SingularityCE is compute,utility, which will provide CUDA functionality and basic utilities such as nvidia-smi. Other options include graphics for OpenGL/Vulkan support, video for the codecs SDK, and display to use X11 from a container.

  • NVIDIA_REQUIRE_* variables allow specifying requirements, which will be checked by nvidia-container-cli prior to starting the container. Constraints can be set on cuda, driver, arch, and brand values. Docker/OCI images may set these variables inside the container, to indicate runtime requirements. However, these container variables are not yet interpreted by SingularityCE.

  • NVIDIA_DISABLE_REQUIRE will disable the enforcement of any NVIDIA_REQUIRE_* requirements that are set.

Full details of the supported values for these environment variables can be found in the container-toolkit guide:

https://docs.nvidia.com/datacenter/cloud-native/container-toolkit/user-guide.html#environment-variables-oci-spec

AMD GPUs & ROCm

SingularityCE 3.5 adds a --rocm flag to support GPU compute with the ROCm framework using AMD Radeon GPU cards.

Commands that run, or otherwise execute containers (shell, exec) can take an --rocm option, which will setup the container’s environment to use a Radeon GPU and the basic ROCm libraries to run a ROCm enabled application. The --rocm flag will:

  • Ensure that the /dev/dri/ device entries are available inside the container, so that the GPU cards in the host are accessible.

  • Locate and bind the basic ROCm libraries from the host into the container, so that they are available to the container, and match the kernel GPU driver on the host.

  • Set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH inside the container so that the bound-in version of the ROCm libraries are used by application run inside the container.

Requirements

To use the --rocm flag to run a CUDA application inside a container you must ensure that:

  • The host has a working installation of the amdgpu driver, and a compatible version of the basic ROCm libraries. The host does not need to have an X server running, unless you want to run graphical apps from the container.

  • The ROCm libraries are in the system’s library search path.

  • The application inside your container was compiled for a ROCm version that is compatible with the ROCm version on your host.

These requirements can be satisfied by following the requirements on the ROCm web site

At time of release, SingularityCE was tested successfully on Debian 10 with ROCm 2.8/2.9 and the upstream kernel driver, and Ubuntu 18.04 with ROCm 2.9 and the DKMS driver.

Example - tensorflow-rocm

Tensorflow is commonly used for machine learning projects, but can be difficult to install on older systems, and is updated frequently. Running tensorflow from a container removes installation problems and makes trying out new versions easy.

The rocm tensorflow repository on Docker Hub contains Radeon GPU supporting containers, that will use ROCm for processing. You can view the available versions on the tags page on Docker Hub

The container is large, so it’s best to build or pull the docker image to a SIF before you start working with it:

$ singularity pull docker://rocm/tensorflow:latest
...
INFO:    Creating SIF file...
INFO:    Build complete: tensorflow_latest.sif

Then run the container with GPU support:

$ singularity run --rocm tensorflow_latest.sif

You can verify the GPU is available within the container by using the tensorflow list_local_devices() function:

Singularity> ipython
Python 3.5.2 (default, Jul 10 2019, 11:58:48)
Type 'copyright', 'credits' or 'license' for more information
IPython 7.8.0 -- An enhanced Interactive Python. Type '?' for help.
>>> from tensorflow.python.client import device_lib
...
>>> print(device_lib.list_local_devices())
...
2019-11-14 16:33:42.750509: I tensorflow/core/common_runtime/gpu/gpu_device.cc:1651] Found device 0 with properties:
name: Lexa PRO [Radeon RX 550/550X]
AMDGPU ISA: gfx803
memoryClockRate (GHz) 1.183
pciBusID 0000:09:00.0
...

OpenCL Applications

Both the --rocm and --nv flags will bind the vendor OpenCL implementation libraries into a container that is being run. However, these libraries will not be used by OpenCL applications unless a vendor icd file is available under /etc/OpenCL/vendors that directs OpenCL to use the vendor library.

The simplest way to use OpenCL in a container is to --bind /etc/OpenCL so that the icd files from the host (which match the bound-in libraries) are present in the container.

Example - Blender OpenCL

The Sylabs examples repository contains an example container definition for the 3D modelling application ‘Blender’.

The latest versions of Blender supports OpenCL rendering. You can run Blender as a graphical application that will make use of a local Radeon GPU for OpenCL compute using the container that has been published to the Sylabs library:

$ singularity exec --rocm --bind /etc/OpenCL library://sylabs/examples/blender blender

Note the exec used as the runscript for this container is setup for batch rendering (which can also use OpenCL).