GPU-accelerated computing is the employment of a graphics processing unit (GPU), along with a computer processing unit (CPU), to facilitate processing-intensive operations such as analytics, machine learning, and engineering applications. It is becoming much more popular due to the larger number of applications where it can be used: Artificial Intelligence (AI) being one example.
Azure virtual machines can now be GPU Accelerated with NVIDIA cards. There are several virtual machine sizes with several NVIDIA GPU Accelerators to choose from: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/sizes-gpu
Even when the proper drivers are installed, your application still may not utilize the GPU. This blog provides some steps to assist with that issue.
Install the driver
You can install the NVIDIA GPU Driver Extension when you provision the new virtual machine. Or drivers may be selected from here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/n-series-driver-setup. Once your machine is provisioned and you have the drivers installed, verify the driver by checking Device Manager.
Verify your application utilizes the GPU resources
Some applications, including those that are browser-based, may not use the GPU accelerator. Run the following command to check the driver and check the value GPU-Util.
If your GPU-Util is “0” when running the application, you may need to force driver mode for the NVIDIA GPU accelerator.
C:\ProgramFiles\NVIDIA Corporation\NVSMI>nvidia-smi-fdm 0
Set driver model to WDDM for GPU 00000001:00:00.0.
Now you can sample applications like FishGL, Google Earth, https://earth.google.com/web/, and the Nvidia Island Demo, https://www.geforce.com/games-applications/pc-applications/fermi-water-demo/downloads, to check to make sure that they all work fine and correctly use the GPU. When using Google Earth and Fish GL we can see that GPU is being utilized.
CPU utilization is lower, and now we can see GPU utilization.
| NVIDIA-SMI398.75 Driver Version:398.75 |
| GPU Name TCC/WDDM| Bus-Id Disp.A | Volatile Uncorr.ECC |
| Fan Temp Perf Pwr:Usage/Cap| Memory-Usage | GPU-Util Compute M.|
| 0 TeslaK80 WDDM |00000001:00:00.0 Off| 0 |
| N/A 58C P0 66W / 149W | 553MiB / 11520MiB | 20% Default |
Get the most out of your GPU Accelerated Azure virtual machines. If you would like to learn more about how Azure can help provide your organization with a competitive advantage, email email@example.com. We are happy to help!