If you need to use GPU-accelerated instances in graphics computing scenarios such as Open Graphics Library (OpenGL) and Direct3D scenarios, we recommend that you install GRID drivers that support graphics processing on the instances. You can purchase images configured with GRID drivers that support automatic installation from Alibaba Cloud Marketplace and use the images to create GPU-accelerated instances. This topic describes how to create Windows GPU-accelerated instances that are configured with GRID drivers.

Background information

If NVIDIA GRID licenses are not activated for GPUs that GPU-accelerated instances use, some GPU-related features may be unavailable on the instances. Therefore, you must obtain the required GRID licenses before you use the GRID drivers. Alibaba Cloud Marketplace provides Windows images that are configured with GRID drivers whose licenses are activated. If you use these images to create GPU-accelerated instances, you do not need to perform additional operations to install the drivers on the instances.

If you need to purchase Linux GPU instances and install Linux GRID drivers, you must create Linux GPU-accelerated instances that are not configured with drivers and apply for GRID licenses. To apply for a GRID license, submit a ticket. For more information about how to create the Linux GPU-accelerated instances, see Create a GPU-accelerated instance that is not configured with a driver.

The driver installation methods may vary based on individual use cases or the types of drivers that you want to install. For more information, see Install NVIDIA drivers.

Preparations

  1. Create an Alibaba Cloud account and complete the account information.
  2. Go to the Custom Launch tab in the ECS console.

Procedure

Step 1: Configure the parameters in the Basic Configurations step

In the Basic Configurations step, you can configure basic parameters that are required to purchase an instance and basic resources that are required by the instance. The basic parameters include the billing method, region, and zone. The basic resources include the instance type, image, and storage size. After you configure the parameters in the Basic Configurations step, click Next.

  1. Select a billing method.
    The billing method determines how the billing and charging rules are applied to an instance and how the status of the resources that are deployed on the instance is changed at different points of the resource lifecycle.
    Billing method Description References
    Subscription You pay for resources before you use the resources. Subscription
    Pay-As-You-Go You pay for resources after you use the resources. The billing cycles of pay-as-you-go instances are accurate to the second. You can purchase and release instances based on your business requirements.
    Note We recommend that you use this billing method with savings plans to reduce costs.
    Preemptible Instance You pay for resources after you use the resources. The price of a preemptible instance is lower than that of a pay-as-you-go instance. However, the system may release preemptible instances due to fluctuations in the market price or insufficient resources of instance types. Preemptible instances
  2. Select a region and a zone.
    Select a region that is close to your geographical location to reduce latency. After an instance is created, the region and the zone of the instance cannot be changed. For more information, see Regions and zones.
  3. Select an instance type and complete the relevant configurations.
    1. Set Architecture to Heterogeneous Computing, set Category to Compute Optimized Type with GPU or Visualization Compute Optimized Type with GPU, and then select an instance type.
      Note
      • The available instance types vary based on the region. To view the instance types that are available in each region, go to the ECS Instance Types Available for Each Region page.
      • If you have specific configuration requirements for the instance, for example, you want to bind multiple elastic network interfaces (ENIs), or use enhanced SSDs (ESSDs) or local disks for the instance, make sure that the instance type that you select meets the requirements. For information about the features, scenarios, and specifications of each instance type, see Instance families.
      • If you want to create instances that are used for specific scenarios, click the Scenario-based Selection tab to view the instance types that are recommended for different scenarios. For example, you can set Business Scenario to AI Machine Learning to view the GPU-accelerated instance types that are suitable for AI machine learning scenarios.
    2. Check whether the value of the Selected Instance Type parameter is consistent with the instance type that you select.
    3. If you set Billing Method to Preemptible Instance, configure the Use Duration and Maximum Price for Instance Type parameters.
      The use duration is the protection period of a preemptible instance. After the protection period ends, the instance may be released due to insufficient resources or lower bids than the market price. The following table describes the valid values of the Use Duration parameter.
      Value Description
      One Hour After the preemptible instance is created, it enters a 1-hour protection period during which it cannot be automatically released.
      None The preemptible instance is created without a protection period. Preemptible instances without a protection period are less expensive than preemptible instances with a protection period.
      The following table describes the valid values of the Maximum Price for Instance Type parameter.
      Value Description
      Use Automatic Bid Uses the real-time market price of the instance type. The price never exceeds the price of the corresponding pay-as-you-go instance. Automatic bidding can prevent the preemptible instance from being released due to lower bids than the market price, but cannot prevent the instance from being released due to insufficient resources.
      Set Maximum Price Sets a maximum price. If the real-time market price exceeds the maximum price or if resources are insufficient, the preemptible instance is released.
    4. Specify the number of instances to create.
      You can create a maximum of 100 instances each time by using the wizard. In addition, the number of instances within your account cannot exceed the quota. The quota displayed on the buy page prevails. For more information, see View and increase instance quotas.
  4. Select an image.
    1. In the Image section, select Marketplace Image and click Select from Alibaba Cloud Marketplace (including operating system).
    2. In the Image Marketplace dialog box, enter the GRID keyword in the search box and click Search.
    3. Find the Windows image that you want to purchase and click Use.

      We recommend that you search for an image configured with a GRID driver whose license is activated. For example, you can search for Windows Server 2019 DataCenter 64-bit (English) Preinstalled GRID 13 Driver Image or Windows Server 2016 DataCenter 64-bit (English) Preinstalled GRID 13 Driver Image. You do not need to perform additional operations to install the driver. In this example, Windows Server 2019 DataCenter 64-bit (English) Preinstalled GRID 13 Driver Image is used.

      Go back to the Image section in the Basic Configurations step.

  5. Complete the storage and related settings.
    Instances obtain storage capabilities by attaching system disks, data disks, and Apsara File Storage NAS file systems. ECS provides cloud and local disks to meet the requirements of different scenarios.
    Cloud disks can be used as system disks or data disks and include ESSDs, standard SSDs, and ultra disks. For more information, see Disks.
    Note The billing method of a cloud disk that is created along with an instance is the same as that of the instance.
    Local disks can be used only as data disks. If an instance family (such as instance family with local SSDs and big data instance family) is equipped with local disks, the information of the local disks is displayed. For more information, see Local disks.
    Note Local disks cannot be attached to instances on your own.
    1. Select a system disk.
      System disks are used to install operating systems. The default capacity of a system disk is 40 GiB. However, the actual minimum capacity is related to the image. The following table describes the capacities of system disks for different images.
      Image System disk capacity (GiB)
      Linux (excluding CoreOS and Red Hat) [max{20, Image size}, 500]
      FreeBSD [max {30, Image size}, 500]
      CoreOS [max {30, Image size}, 500]
      Red Hat [max {40, Image size}, 500]
      Windows [max {40, Image size}, 500]
    2. Optional:Select a data disk.
      You can create an empty disk or create a disk from a snapshot. A snapshot is a point-in-time backup of a disk. You can import data in a quick manner by creating a disk from a snapshot. When you choose a data disk, you can encrypt the disk to meet the requirements of scenarios such as data security and regulatory compliance. For more information about data encryption, see Encryption overview.
      Note The number of data disks that can be attached to a single instance is limited. For more information, see the "Elastic Block Storage (EBS) limits" section in Limits.
    3. Optional:Select a NAS file system.
      If you have a large amount of data for sharing by multiple instances, we recommend that you use a NAS file system to reduce costs in data transmission and synchronization.

      Select an existing NAS file system or click Create a file system to go the NAS console to create a NAS file system. For more information about how to create a NAS file system, see Create a General-purpose NAS file system in the NAS console. After a NAS file system is created, go back to the ECS instance creation wizard and click the refresh icon to query the most recent NAS file system list. For more information about how to mount NAS file systems, see Mount NAS file systems when you purchase an ECS instance.

  6. Optional:Configure the snapshot service.
    You can use automatic snapshot policies to periodically back up disks to prevent risk such as accidental data deletion.

    Select an existing snapshot policy or click Create Automatic Snapshot Policy to create an automatic snapshot policy on the Snapshots page. For more information about how to create an automatic snapshot policy, see Create an automatic snapshot policy. After an automatic snapshot policy is created, go back to the ECS instance creation wizard and click the refresh icon to query the most recent automatic snapshot policy list.

Step 2: Configure the parameters in the Networking step

In the Networking step, you can configure parameters to allow instances to access the Internet and other Alibaba Cloud resources. This ensures the security of your instances. After you configure the parameters in the Networking step, click Next.

  1. Specify parameters in the Network Type and Public IP Address sections.
    Parameter Description References
    Network Type Select VPC.

    A virtual private cloud (VPC) is a logically isolated virtual network in Alibaba Cloud. You have full control over VPCs that belong to you. For example, you can specify a CIDR block and configure route tables and gateways for the VPC.

    If you do not want to use a custom VPC or vSwitch in the specified region when you create an instance, you can skip this operation. Then, the system creates a default VPC and a default vSwitch.
    Note You can skip this operation only if no available VPCs exist in the region where the instance is deployed.

    Select an existing VPC and vSwitch. You can also click go to the VPC console to create a VPC and a vSwitch in the VPC console. After the VPC and the vSwitch are created, go back to the ECS instance creation wizard and click the refresh icon to view the VPC and the vSwitch that you created.

    Public IP Address If you select an image of Windows 2008 R2 or earlier in the Basic Configurations step, you can select Assign Public IPv4 Address, or you can associate an elastic IP address (EIP) with the instance after the instance is created. This way, you can connect to the instance over other protocols such as the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) built into Windows, PC over IP (PCoIP), and XenDesktop HDX 3D. Otherwise, you cannot connect to the instance from a Virtual Network Console (VNC) client after the GPU driver is installed. A persistent black screen or startup interface appears when you attempt to connect to the instance.
    Note RDP does not support some applications such as DirectX and OpenGL applications. If you want to use these applications, you must manually install the VNC service and client.
    To assign a public IP address, perform the following operations:
    1. Select Assign Public IPv4 Address.
    2. Specify the Bandwidth Billing parameter.
      • Pay-By-Bandwidth: You are charged based on the specified bandwidth. This billing method is suitable for the scenarios that require stable network bandwidth.
      • Pay-By-Traffic: You are charged based on the traffic that you use. You can configure a peak bandwidth value to avoid excessive fees due to sudden traffic spikes. This billing method is suitable for scenarios that require highly variable bandwidth, such as the scenarios where traffic is low in most cases but spikes occasionally occur.
    3. Set Bandwidth or Peak Bandwidth based on your requirements.
    What is an EIP?
  2. Select a security group.
    A security group is a virtual firewall that is used to control the inbound and outbound traffic of instances in the security group. For more information, see Overview.

    If you do not configure parameters in a security group when you create an instance, you can skip the step. The system creates a default security group. The default security group allows inbound traffic over Secure Shell Protocol (SSH) port 22, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) port 3389, and Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP). You can modify the security group configurations after the security group is created.

    1. To create a security group, click create a security group.
      For more information about how to configure the security group, see Create a security group.
    2. Click Reselect Security Group.
    3. In the Select Security Group dialog box, select one or more security groups and click Select.
  3. Configure an ENI
    ENIs include primary ENIs and secondary ENIs. Primary ENIs cannot be unbound from instances. They can be created and released only along with instances. Secondary ENIs can be bound to or unbound from instances to allow traffic to be switched between instances. To create a secondary ENI when you create an instance, click the add-nic icon and select a vSwitch to which the secondary ENI belongs.
    Note You can bind only one secondary ENI when you create an instance. You can also create secondary ENIs and bind them to an instance after the instance is created. For more information about the number of ENIs that can be bound to an instance of each instance type, see Instance families.

Step 3: (Optional) Complete the settings in the System Configurations (Optional) step

The system configurations include the logon credentials, instance name, and user data, which are used to customize the information or use of the instance in the ECS console and operating system. After you complete the settings in the System Configurations (Optional) step, click Next.

  1. Configure logon credentials.
    Logon credentials are used to log on to instances. For more information about how to connect to instances, see Connection methods.
    Logon credential Description
    Key Pair Select an existing key pair or click Create Key Pair to create a key pair. After a key pair is created, go back to the ECS instance creation wizard and click the refresh icon to query the most recent key pair list. For more information, see Create an SSH key pair.
    Note Key pairs can be used to log on only to Linux instances.
    Password Enter and confirm the password. When you log on to an instance by using a username and password, the default username for Linux is root and that for Windows is administrator.
    Set Later After the instance is created, bind the key pair or reset the instance password. For more information, see Bind an SSH key pair to an instance and Reset the logon password of an instance.
  2. Specify the instance name that you want to display in the ECS console and the hostname that can be obtained from within the operating system.
    If you want to create multiple instances, you can set sequential instance names and hostnames to facilitate management. For more information about how to configure sequential instance names and hostnames, see Batch configure sequential names or hostnames for multiple instances.
  3. Configure advanced options.
    1. Select an instance Resource Access Management (RAM) role.
      Instance RAM roles enable ECS instances to assume roles with specific access permissions. The instance can access the APIs of specific Alibaba Cloud services and manage specific Alibaba Cloud resources based on a Security Token Service (STS) temporary credential. This ensures security.

      Select an existing instance RAM role or click Create Instance RAM Role to go to the RAM console to create an instance RAM role. After an instance RAM role is created, go back to the ECS instance creation wizard and click the refresh icon to query the most recent instance RAM role list. For more information, see Bind an instance RAM role.

    2. Select an instance metadata access mode.
      ECS instance metadata contains the information of instances in Alibaba Cloud. You can view the metadata of running instances and configure or manage the instances based on their metadata. You can view instance metadata in normal or security hardening mode. For more information, see View instance metadata.
      Instance metadata access mode Description
      Normal Mode (Compatible with Security Hardening Mode) After the instance is created, you can view the instance metadata in normal mode or in security hardening mode.
      Security Hardening Mode After the instance is created, you can view the instance metadata only in security hardening mode.
      Warning If you select Security Hardening Mode, the components of cloud-init may fail to be initialized, which affects the configurations of instances, such as metadata and user data. Proceed with caution.
    3. Configure user data.
      User data can be run as scripts on instance startup to automate instance configurations, or can be used as common data and passed into instances for use. For more information, see Manage the user data of Linux instances and Manage the user data of Windows instances.

      In the User Data field, enter the user data that you prepared. If the user data is encoded in Base64, select Enter Based64 Encoded Information.

Step 4: (Optional) Complete the settings in the Grouping (Optional) step

Grouping configurations provide ways such as tags and resource groups to batch manage instances. After you complete the settings in the Grouping (Optional) step, click Next.

  1. Add tags.
    Each tag consists of a tag key and a tag value. You can add tags to resources that have identical characteristics, such as resources that belong to the same organization and resources that serve the same purpose. You can use tags to search for and manage resources in an efficient manner. For more information, see Overview.

    Select an existing tag, or enter a key and a value to create a tag.

  2. Select a resource group.
    Resource groups allow you to manage cross-region and cross-service resources based on your business requirements and manage the permissions of resource groups. For more information, see Resource groups.

    Select an existing resource group, or click click here to create a resource group on the Resource Group page. After a resource group is created, go back to the ECS instance creation wizard and click the refresh icon to query the most recent resource group list. For more information, see Create a resource group.

  3. Select a deployment set.
    Deployment sets support the high-availability policy. After you apply a high-availability policy to a deployment set, all the instances within the deployment set are distributed across different physical servers to ensure business availability and disaster recovery at the underlying layer.

    Select an existing deployment set or click manage the deployment set to create a deployment set. After a deployment set is created, go back to the ECS instance creation wizard and click the refresh icon to query the most recent deployment set list. For more information, see Create a deployment set.

  4. Select a dedicated host.
    A dedicated host is a cloud host whose physical resources are exclusively reserved for a single tenant. Dedicated hosts meet strict security compliance requirements and support bring your own license (BYOL) when you migrate services to Alibaba Cloud.

    Select an existing dedicated host or click create a DDH to create a dedicated host. After the dedicated host is created, go back to the ECS instance creation wizard and click the refresh icon to query the most recent dedicated host list. For more information, see Create a dedicated host.

  5. Select a private pool.
    After an elasticity assurance or a capacity reservation is created, the system generates a private pool to reserve resources for a specific number of instances that have specific attributes. During the validity period of the elasticity assurance or capacity reservation, you always have access to the resources reserved in the private pool when you want to create instances. For more information, see Overview.
    Note Only pay-as-you-go instances can be created from the resources reserved by elasticity assurances or capacity reservations.
    Private pool Description
    Open The capacity in open private pools has a priority over public pool resources. If no capacity is available in private pools, the system attempts to use public pool resources.
    None The capacity in private pools is not used.
    Targeted The capacity in a specified or open private pool is used to create instances. If no capacity is available in the specified private pool, the instances cannot be created.

Step 5: Confirm the order

Before the instance is created, make sure that the selected configurations such as the use duration meet your requirements.

  1. Check the selected configurations.
    To modify a configuration, click edit to go to the corresponding page. You can save the selected configurations as a template. Then, you can use the template to create instances that have similar configurations. The following table describes the buttons that can be used to save the configurations as a template.
    Operation Description References
    Save as Launch Template Saves the configurations as a launch template. Then, you can create instances from this launch template without making these configurations again. Create an instance by using a launch template
    View Open API Generates the API best-practice workflow and SDK examples for your reference.
    Save as ROS Template Saves the configurations as a Resource Orchestration Service (ROS) template. Then, you can create stacks from this template in the ROS console to deliver resources in a quick manner. Create a stack
  2. Configure the use duration of the instance.
    • Pay-as-you-go instance: Set an automatic release time for the instance. You can also manually release the instance or set an automatic release time for the instance after it is created. For more information, see Release an instance.
    • Subscription instance: Set Duration and optionally select Enable Auto-renewal. You can also manually renew the instance or enable auto-renewal for the instance after it is created. For more information, see Renewal overview.
  3. Read ECS Terms of Service and Product Terms of Service. If you agree to them, select ECS Terms of Service and Product Terms of Service.
  4. View the total fees of the instance in the lower part of the page. Confirm the configurations of the instance and complete the payment.