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Install on bare metal / machines

This version can be used for any Ubuntu-based hosts running on bare metal, machines in a public cloud other than AWS, or some other infrastructure. Terraform will be used to provision a Kubernetes cluster on the hosts and will require ssh access to all hosts in order to connect. Note that in this scenario auto-scaling is not available – all nodes will be running at all times. You must follow the pre-installation steps before continuing.

Cluster Node Requirements

Each node in your Gradient cluster must have:

  • Ubuntu 18.04
  • NFS server available to all nodes
  • Docker installed on all nodes (or set "setup_docker = true" in your Terraform config below to have gradient-installer set up Docker via Terraform)
  • Default Docker runtime set to nvidia in /etc/docker/daemon.json (or set "setup_nvidia = true" in your Terraform Config below to have gradient-installer configure this via Terraform)
The following is an example of how the added line for configuring nvidia as your default Docker runtime will appear in `/etc/docker/daemon.json`. Do not remove any pre-existing content when making this change.
"default-runtime": "nvidia",
"runtimes": {
"nvidia": {
"path": "/usr/bin/nvidia-container-runtime",
"runtimeArgs": []

For each node, you must also:

  • Ensure your SSH user has access to the docker group in /etc/group:
  • Ensure your SSH public key is installed on each host
  • Ensure sudo is enabled for the account you're logging into
  • Ensure /etc/ssh/sshd_config has the following setting (and then reload it by running service ssh reload)
AllowTcpForwarding yes


Next, create a file within your local gradient-cluster directory that you created; will be a sibling file to the file that you may have created already. Note: this file must be named since Terraform looks for this configuration file by name.

In, copy and paste the Terraform configuration below (note the copy icon in the upper right corner). Be sure to follow the value replacement instructions further below, as well.

SSL Configuration

The Gradient installer can use Let's Encrypt to create a SSL certificate, verify it by making entries with your DNS provider, and install the certificate on your cluster to secure access to notebooks, model deployments, etc. For this to work, your domains DNS provider must be on the supported list. To use this functionality, create a block in your file similar to the one in the example below. Use the letsencrypt_dns_name that matches your provider in the list, and provide the required authentication field(s) as specified in the letsencrypt_dns_settings column.

If you don't want to use automatic SSL, use tls_cert and tls_key entries and be sure the SSL certificate files are located in the directory and filenames specified (or change them in the file).

You can use either the Let's Encrypt block OR the manual certificate block, but not both.

module "gradient_metal" {
source = ""

// name must only have letters, numbers, and dashes
name = "cluster-name"
artifacts_access_key_id = "artifacts-access-key-id"
artifacts_path = "s3://artifacts-bucket"
artifacts_secret_access_key = "artifacts-secret-access-key"

cluster_apikey = "cluster-apikey-from-paperspace-com"
cluster_handle = "cluster-handle-from-paperspace-com"
domain = ""

k8s_master_node = {
ip = "master_node_ip1"
// internal-address = "private_master_node_ip1"
pool-type = "cpu"
pool-name = "metal-cpu"
k8s_workers = [
ip = "worker_ip1"
// internal-address = "private_worker_ip1"
pool-type = "gpu"
pool-name = "metal-gpu"
ip = "worker_ip2"
// internal-address = "private_worker_ip2"
pool-type = "cpu"
pool-name = "metal-cpu"

// Additional hostnames or IPs used to access kubernetes
// k8s_sans = [
// "",
// ""
// ]

// Uncomment to set up docker
// setup_docker = true

// Uncomment to set up nvidia drivers
// setup_nvidia = true
// reboot_gpu_nodes = true

shared_storage_path = "/srv/gradient"
shared_storage_server = ""
ssh_key_path = "~/.ssh/gradient_rsa"
ssh_user = "ubuntu"

// insert a SSL block below - the first example is for Cloudflare DNS

// Example using cloudflare, check docs for list of supported DNS providers
letsencrypt_dns_name = "cloudflare"
letsencrypt_dns_settings = {
CF_API_KEY = "[Global cloudflare key]"
CF_API_EMAIL = "[Cloudflare email address]"

// or disable automatic SSL by specifying cert files below
// tls_cert = file("./certs/ssl-bundle.crt")
// tls_key = file("./certs/ssl.key")

Replace the following fields in the configuration above with the appropriate values:

  • name (the same name used when registering the new cluster in the Paperspace web console)
  • artifacts_access_key_id (the key for the bucket that was set up for artifacts storage)
  • artifacts_path (the full s3 path to the bucket)
  • artifacts_secret_access_key
  • cpu_selector (node selector to run CPU workloads, defaults to "metal-cpu")
  • cluster_apikey (provided during registration of the new cluster)
  • cluster_handle (provided during registration of the new cluster)
  • domain (same as what was entered during cluster registration)
  • gpu_selector (node selector to run GPU workloads, defaults to "metal-gpu")
  • master_ip1, worker_ip1, worker_ip2 (see below for IP networking info)
  • shared_storage_path and shared_storage_server (see below for NFS info)
  • ssh_key_path (for the key whose public key is on the nodes being configured)
  • ssh_user (a ssh user who has the above public key in its authorized_keys file)
  • Also, either use automatic SSL or be sure the SSL certificate files are located in your gradient-cluster directory, and replace the filenames in your configuration to match them as needed.

IP networking

Each node should have an IP address that's accessible from the computer where the Gradient installer is being run. There must be one master node and at least two workers. All worker nodes must be able to access the master node, and the master node must be accessible from the internet.

All nodes must be able to access various hosts on the internet, including Paperspace's hub sites, logging sites, and Docker Hub.

NFS setup

Gradient installer requires a NFS host for runtime file storage. This server should have a high-bandwidth, low-latency connection from the cluster – ideally within the same datacenter or cloud region.


Next, install and configure the nodes using Terraform:

terraform init
terraform apply

The init step should take less than a minute, and the apply step may take 15 minutes or more.

If NVIDIA Cuda drivers were selected to be installed a reboot of all GPU workers is required

Gradient requires two DNS A records to make external services accessible. Use the IP address of the master node as the target for these records, as shown below.


* [master node ip address] [master node ip address]

Managing the Kubernetes cluster with KUBECONFIG

For those familiar with Kubernetes, a file will be generated in the gradient-cluster folder that contains the Kubernetes kubeconfig. To use the generated KUBECONFIG, the computer running kubectl will need to have access to the cluster's master node.

Managing the Kubernetes cluster manually is not required to use Gradient.

Updating the Gradient cluster

If you created a Terraform provider file in S3 during the pre-install steps then updating to the latest version of Gradient is simple: just run terraform apply from the gradient-cluster folder.

Uninstalling Gradient

Uninstallation can be handled by Terraform by running: terraform destroy