Jetson Setup

If you are working on a Jetson developer kit, you’ll need a fast and large storage device to store container images and rosbag files. To add this storage capacity, install an NVMe SSD card in the Jetson developer kit’s carrier board.


Connecting an SSD over USB 3.x is generally not recommended, because it has slower write/read speed than an SSD connected over NVMe (PCIe) interface.

Read/Write Speed Comparison across Different Storage Medium including SSD

Read/Write Speed Comparison across Different Storage Medium including SSD

To properly configure your Jetson with an NVMe SSD choose one of the following:

  • Physically install the NVMe SSD on a fresh Jetson developer kit, then use SDK Manager running on an Ubuntu PC to flash the entire L4T (Jetson Linux) on the SSD.

  • Flash L4T onto the Jetson’s eMMC or on a microSD card, then physically install the NVMe SSD, and configure the SSD as optional storage for the ROS2 workspace, and/or the Docker overlay files.

The first option is most straightforward, but requires a willingness to reflash the entire Jetson developer kit and thus lose any files already present on the device.

The second option requires more work, but saves the need to reflash the Jetson. The rest of this document explains how to configure an SSD using the second option. If you have a Jetson already set up and running without an NVMe SSD, follow the steps below.

SSD Setup

Physically Install SSD and Auto-Mount

  1. Unplug the power and any peripherals from the Jetson developer kit.

  2. Physically install an NVMe SSD card on the carrier board of your Jetson developer kit. You must properly seat the connector and secure it with the screw.

  3. Reinsert the power cable and any peripherals, and power on the Jetson developer kit.

  4. Verify that the system identifies a new memory controller on PCI bus:


    Typical output looks like the following:

    0007:01:00.0 Non-Volatile memory controller: Marvell Technology Group Ltd. Device 1322 (rev 02)
  5. Run lsblk to find the device name.


    Typical output looks like the following:

    loop0          7:0    0    16M  1 loop
    mmcblk1      179:0    0  59.5G  0 disk
    ├─mmcblk1p1  179:1    0    58G  0 part /
    ├─mmcblk1p2  179:2    0   128M  0 part
    ├─mmcblk1p3  179:3    0   768K  0 part
    ├─mmcblk1p4  179:4    0  31.6M  0 part
    ├─mmcblk1p5  179:5    0   128M  0 part
    ├─mmcblk1p6  179:6    0   768K  0 part
    ├─mmcblk1p7  179:7    0  31.6M  0 part
    ├─mmcblk1p8  179:8    0    80M  0 part
    ├─mmcblk1p9  179:9    0   512K  0 part
    ├─mmcblk1p10 179:10   0    64M  0 part
    ├─mmcblk1p11 179:11   0    80M  0 part
    ├─mmcblk1p12 179:12   0   512K  0 part
    ├─mmcblk1p13 179:13   0    64M  0 part
    └─mmcblk1p14 179:14   0 879.5M  0 part
    zram0        251:0    0   1.8G  0 disk [SWAP]
    zram1        251:1    0   1.8G  0 disk [SWAP]
    zram2        251:2    0   1.8G  0 disk [SWAP]
    zram3        251:3    0   1.8G  0 disk [SWAP]
    nvme0n1      259:0    0 238.5G  0 disk

    Identify the device corresponding to your SSD. In this example, it is nvme0n1.

  6. Format the SSD, create a mount point, and mount it to the filesystem.

    sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/nvme0n1
    sudo mkdir -p /mnt/nova_ssd
    sudo mount /dev/nvme0n1 /mnt/nova_ssd
  7. To ensure that the mount persists after boot, add an entry to the fstab file:

    Identify the UUID for your SSD:

    lsblk -f

    Add a new entry to the fstab file:

    sudo vi /etc/fstab

    Insert the following line, replacing the UUID with the value found from lsblk -f:

    UUID=************-****-****-****-******** /mnt/nova_ssd/ ext4 defaults 0 2
  8. Change the ownership of the /mnt/nova_ssd directory.

    sudo chown ${USER}:${USER} /mnt/nova_ssd

Migrate Docker directory to SSD

After installing the SSD and making it available to your device, you can use the extra storage capacity to hold the space-heavy Docker directory.

  1. Add the nvidia user to the docker group to enable using docker without sudo:

    # Add your user to the docke group
    sudo usermod -aG docker $USER
    # Verify that command succeeded
    id nvidia | grep docker
    # Log out and log in for the changes to take effect
    newgrp docker
  2. Stop the Docker service.

    sudo systemctl stop docker
  3. Move the existing Docker folder.

    sudo du -csh /var/lib/docker/ && \
        sudo mkdir /mnt/nova_ssd/docker && \
        sudo rsync -axPS /var/lib/docker/ /mnt/nova_ssd/docker/ && \
        sudo du -csh  /mnt/nova_ssd/docker/
  4. Use a text editor (e.g. Vi) to edit /etc/docker/daemon.json

    sudo vi /etc/docker/daemon.json

    Insert "data-root" line similar to the following:

        "runtimes": {
            "nvidia": {
                "path": "nvidia-container-runtime",
                "runtimeArgs": []
        "default-runtime": "nvidia",
        "data-root": "/mnt/nova_ssd/docker"
  5. Rename the old Docker data directory.

    sudo mv /var/lib/docker /var/lib/docker.old
  6. Restart the Docker daemon.

    sudo systemctl daemon-reload && \
        sudo systemctl restart docker && \
        sudo journalctl -u docker

Test Docker on SSD

  1. [Terminal 1] Open a terminal to monitor the disk usage while pulling a Docker image.

    watch -n1 df
  2. [Terminal 2] Open a new terminal and begin the Docker pull.

    docker pull
  3. [Terminal 1] Observe that the disk usage on /mnt/nova_ssd goes up as the container image is downloaded and extracted.

    ~$ docker image ls
    REPOSITORY                  TAG       IMAGE ID       CREATED        SIZE     r35.2.1   dc07eb476a1d   7 months ago   713MB

Final Verification

Reboot your Jetson, and verify that you observe the following:

~$ sudo blkid | grep nvme
/dev/nvme0n1: UUID="9fc06de1-7cf3-43e2-928a-53a9c03fc5d8" TYPE="ext4"

~$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mmcblk1p1  116G   18G   94G  16% /
none            3.5G     0  3.5G   0% /dev
tmpfs           3.6G  108K  3.6G   1% /dev/shm
tmpfs           734M   35M  699M   5% /run
tmpfs           5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
tmpfs           3.6G     0  3.6G   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
tmpfs           734M   88K  734M   1% /run/user/1000
/dev/nvme0n1    458G  824M  434G   1% /mnt/nova_ssd

~$ docker info | grep Root
 Docker Root Dir: /mnt/nova_ssd/docker

~$ sudo ls -l /mnt/nova_ssd/docker/
total 44
drwx--x--x  4 root root 4096 Mar 22 11:44 buildkit
drwx--x---  2 root root 4096 Mar 22 11:44 containers
drwx------  3 root root 4096 Mar 22 11:44 image
drwxr-x---  3 root root 4096 Mar 22 11:44 network
drwx--x--- 13 root root 4096 Mar 22 16:20 overlay2
drwx------  4 root root 4096 Mar 22 11:44 plugins
drwx------  2 root root 4096 Mar 22 16:19 runtimes
drwx------  2 root root 4096 Mar 22 11:44 swarm
drwx------  2 root root 4096 Mar 22 16:20 tmp
drwx------  2 root root 4096 Mar 22 11:44 trust
drwx-----x  2 root root 4096 Mar 22 16:19 volumes

~$ sudo du -chs /mnt/nova_ssd/docker/
752M    /mnt/nova_ssd/docker/
752M    total

~$ docker info | grep -e "Runtime" -e "Root"
 Runtimes: io.containerd.runtime.v1.linux nvidia runc io.containerd.runc.v2
 Default Runtime: nvidia
 Docker Root Dir: /mnt/nova_ssd/docker

Your Jetson is now set up with the SSD!


Check out our troubleshooting section for issues with setting up your development environment.