GPU-enabled clusters


Some GPU-enabled instance types are in Beta and are marked as such in the drop-down list when you select the driver and worker types during cluster creation.


Databricks supports clusters accelerated with graphics processing units (GPUs). This article describes how to create clusters with GPU-enabled instances and describes the GPU drivers and libraries installed on those instances.

To learn more about deep learning on GPU-enabled clusters, see Deep learning.

Create a GPU cluster

Creating a GPU cluster is similar to creating any Spark cluster (See Clusters). You should keep in mind the following:

  • The Databricks Runtime Version must be a GPU-enabled version, such as Runtime 8.3 ML (GPU, Scala 2.12, Spark 3.1.1).
  • The Worker Type and Driver Type must be GPU instance types.
  • For single-machine workflows without Spark, you can set the number of workers to zero.

Databricks supports the following GPU-accelerated instance types:

  • P2 instance type series: p2.xlarge, p2.8xlarge, and p2.16xlarge

  • P3 instance type series: p3.2xlarge, p3.8xlarge, and p3.16xlarge.

    • P3 instances are available only in select AWS regions. For information, see Amazon EC2 Pricing. Your Databricks deployment must reside in a supported region to launch GPU-enabled clusters.
  • G4 instance type series, which are optimized for deploying machine learning models in production.

    To use TensorRT on G4 instance types with the releases of Databricks Runtime for Machine Learning available as of June 2, 2020, you must manually install libnvinfer using an init script. We anticipate that future GPU-enabled versions of Databricks Runtime ML will come with this package already installed.

For all GPU-accelerated instance types, bear the following in mind:

  • Due to Amazon spot instance price surges, GPU spot instances are difficult to retain. Use on-demand if needed.
  • You might need to request a limit increase in order to create GPU-enabled clusters.

See Supported Instance Types for a list of supported GPU instance types and their attributes.

GPU scheduling

Databricks Runtime 7.0 ML and above support GPU-aware scheduling from Apache Spark 3.0. Databricks preconfigures it on GPU clusters for you.

GPU scheduling is not enabled on Single Node clusters.

spark.task.resource.gpu.amount is the only Spark config related to GPU-aware scheduling that you might need to change. The default configuration uses one GPU per task, which is ideal for distributed inference workloads and distributed training, if you use all GPU nodes. If you want to do distributed training on a subset of nodes, which helps reduce communication overhead during distributed training, Databricks recommends setting spark.task.resource.gpu.amount to the number of GPUs per worker node in the cluster Spark configuration.

For PySpark tasks, Databricks automatically remaps assigned GPU(s) to indices 0, 1, …. Under the default configuration that uses one GPU per task, your code can simply use the default GPU without checking which GPU is assigned to the task. If you set multiple GPUs per task, for example 4, your code can assume that the indices of the assigned GPUs are always 0, 1, 2, and 3. If you do need the physical indices of the assigned GPUs, you can get them from the CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES environment variable.

If you use Scala, you can get the indices of the GPUs assigned to the task from TaskContext.resources().get("gpu").

For Databricks Runtime releases below 7.0, in order to avoid conflicts among multiple Spark tasks trying to use the same GPU, Databricks automatically configures GPU clusters such that there is at most one running task per node. In this case, the task can use all GPUs on the node without running into conflicts with other tasks.

NVIDIA GPU driver, CUDA, and cuDNN

Databricks installs the NVIDIA driver and libraries required to use GPUs on Spark driver and worker instances:

  • CUDA Toolkit, installed under /usr/local/cuda.
  • cuDNN: NVIDIA CUDA Deep Neural Network Library.
  • NCCL: NVIDIA Collective Communications Library.

The version of the NVIDIA driver included is 450.80.02, which supports CUDA 11.0. For the versions of the libraries included, see the release notes for the specific Databricks Runtime version you are using.


This software contains source code provided by NVIDIA Corporation. Specifically, to support GPUs, Databricks includes code from CUDA Samples.

NVIDIA End User License Agreement (EULA)

When you select a GPU-enabled “Databricks Runtime Version” in Databricks, you implicitly agree to the terms and conditions outlined in the NVIDIA EULA with respect to the CUDA, cuDNN, and Tesla libraries, and the NVIDIA End User License Agreement (with NCCL Supplement) for the NCCL library.

Databricks Container Services on GPU clusters


This feature is in Public Preview.

You can use Databricks Container Services on clusters with GPUs to create portable deep learning environments with customized libraries. See Customize containers with Databricks Container Services for instructions.

To create custom images for GPU clusters, you must select a standard runtime version instead of Databricks Runtime ML for GPU. When you select Use your own Docker container, you can choose GPU clusters with a standard runtime version. The custom images for GPU clusters are based on the official CUDA containers, which is different from Databricks Runtime ML for GPU.

When you create custom images for GPU clusters, you cannot change the NVIDIA driver version, because it must match the driver version on the host machine, which is 450.80.02.

The databricksruntime Docker Hub contains example base images with GPU capability. The Dockerfiles used to generate these images are located in the example containers GitHub repository, which also has details on what the example images provide and how to customize them.