HP Adds New HPC Server with On-Board GPGPU

By Michael Feldman

October 5, 2010

Hewlett Packard has launched a new purpose-built HPC rack server with a formidable GPGPU capability. That product, the ProLiant SL390s G7, provides more raw FLOPS per square inch than any server HP has delivered to date, and is the basis for the 2.4 petaflop TSUBAME 2.0 supercomputer currently being deployed at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

HP actually announced the two new servers this week. Besides the SL390s G7, the company also introduced the SL170s G6, a no-frills server aimed at hyper-scale computing deployments. Both the SL390s and SL170s plug into HP’s new ProLiant SL6500 Scalable System chassis, a 4U box that accommodates up to 8 half-width servers. The SL6500 is the upgrade from the SL6000 system announced last year.

The SL170s and SL390s come as skinless trays rather than the typical server boxes encased in metal, top and bottom. This design could catch on as more vendors look to minimize extraneous hardware and come up with ever-denser rack configurations. SGI also uses a similar skinless design in their CloudRack trays.

The more general-purpose of the new Proliant servers is the SL170s G6, a dual-socket or single-socket server that incorporates the latest Intel Xeon Westmere (5600 series) processors in a half-width form factor. Ed Turkel, HP’s manager of business development for its HPC group, describes it as their “lean and mean server,” where scalable performance, serviceability, manageability are the driving concerns. As such, it’s aimed mostly at Web 2.0 and service provider environments, but it’s also quite suitable for embarrassingly-parallel HPC applications, such as portfolio risk analysis and BLAST-based bioinformatics. The base price on this model is $1,559.

But for “true” supercomputing applications, the SL390s G7 is the go-to server. Like its sibling, the SL390s comes with Xeon 5600 processors, but the option to pair the CPUs with up to three on-board NVIDIA “Fermi” 20-series GPUs puts a lot more floating point performance into this design. Customers can choose from either the M2050 or M2070 Tesla GPU modules, the only difference being the amount of graphics memory — 3 GB of GDDR5 for the M2050 versus 6 GB for the M2070. Each GPU module is served by its own PCIe Gen2 x16 channel in order to maximize bandwidth to the graphics chips. At the maximum configuration with all three Fermi GPUs and two Westmere CPUs, a single server delivers on the order of 1 teraflop of double precision performance. “So this is very much a server that has been designed for HPC,” said Turkel.

With GPUs on board, the SL390s fill out a 2U half-width tray, so up to four of these can be packed into a 4U SL6500 chassis. A CPU-only version is also available and takes up just half the space (half-width 1U), enabling twice as many Xeons to occupy the same chassis. This configuration will likely be the server of choice for the majority of HPC setups, given that GPGPU deployment is really just getting started. Pricing on the CPU-only model starts at $2,259.

Another HPC-centric feature on the SL390s is the inclusion of on-board network adapters, in this case Mellanox’s ConnectX-2 silicon. The embedded adapter supports either 40 Gbps InfiniBand or 10 Gigabit Ethernet, making it suitable for low-latency applications on either fabric. If dual-rail InfiniBand is desired, an external adapter can be hooked into the server’s PCIe slot. The Mellanox silicon has also been incorporated in HP’s ProLiant BL2x220 G7 server blade.

Although the official debut of the SL390s was on Tuesday, HP has been shipping the server for some time, most notably to Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), where it serves as the foundation for the 2.4 petaflop TSUBAME 2.0 supercomputer. That system is now fully deployed and will be formally launched later this week.

The new TSUBAME consists of 1,432 SL390s G7 servers, each of which contains three M2050 GPUs. CPU-wise, each server is outfitted with two 6-core Westmere processors (X5670, 2.93 MHz) and either 54 or 96 GB of RAM. For ultra-fast local storage, two SSDs plug into each server node. The network fabric is all QDR InfiniBand, taking advantage of the on-board Mellanox chips; an additional InfiniBand adapter is plugged into each node to provide dual-rail InfiniBand. The whole fabric delivers a system-wide aggregate bandwidth of 200 terabits per second.

The servers are housed in HP’s 42U Module Cooling System G2 rack, which represents the basic building block for TSUBAME’s computing infrastructure. Each rack contains 30 SL390s G7 nodes (60, CPUs and 90 GPUs), 8 chassis of power management, an HP network switch for shared console and the local area network, two airflow dams, and 4 Voltaire 4036 leaf switches.

A single rack consumes around 35 KW, 20 KW of which are from the GPUs alone. Not surprisingly, the G2 rack is water cooled, to handle the considerable heat generated by the CPU-GPU configuration. All this makes for a very computationally dense system, and despite the 35 KW power draw per rack, results in a rather efficient supercomputer for both space and energy consumption. “They wanted a world-class system, but they wanted it to fit into 200 square meters of floor space and into 1.8 MW of power,” explained Turkel.

Besides Tokyo Tech, the SL390s G7 has attracted some other early customers. Although Turkel couldn’t name names, he said the new HPC server is already garnering a lot of interest from scientific research organizations, oil and gas firms, and financial services institutions.

With the new server, HP joins IBM, Dell, SGI and just about every other HPC system vendor with on-board GPGPU. Although HP has offered plug-in Tesla cards for its servers and even qualified NVIDIA’s 1U quad-GPU box in the past, the SL390s G7 represents the company’s first generally-available native GPU server design. According to Turkel, there will be other variations of GPGPU-equipped rack servers in the future, but he was noncommittal regarding any plans to offer this capability in HP’s blade server line. Turkel did say the company is aware that NVIDIA will soon be shipping the compact X2070 Tesla module designed specifically for blades and other small form-factor designs, admitting “we’re certainly looking at that.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

New Exascale System for Earth Simulation Introduced

April 23, 2018

After four years of development, the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) will be unveiled today and released to the broader scientific community this month. The E3SM project is supported by the Department of Energy Read more…

By Staff

RSC Reports 500Tflops, Hot Water Cooled System Deployed at JINR

April 18, 2018

RSC, developer of supercomputers and advanced HPC systems based in Russia, today reported deployment of “the world's first 100% ‘hot water’ liquid cooled supercomputer” at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JI Read more…

By Staff

New Device Spots Quantum Particle ‘Fingerprint’

April 18, 2018

Majorana particles have been observed by university researchers employing a device consisting of layers of magnetic insulators on a superconducting material. The advance opens the door to controlling the elusive particle Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Hybrid HPC is Speeding Time to Insight and Revolutionizing Medicine

High performance computing (HPC) is a key driver of success in many verticals today, and health and life science industries are extensively leveraging these capabilities. Read more…

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’s introduction of an ARM-based system (XC-50) last November. Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’ Read more…

By John Russell

IBM: Software Ecosystem for OpenPOWER is Ready for Prime Time

April 16, 2018

With key pieces of the IBM/OpenPOWER versus Intel/x86 gambit settling into place – e.g., the arrival of Power9 chips and Power9-based systems, hyperscaler sup Read more…

By John Russell

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cloud-Readiness and Looking Beyond Application Scaling

April 11, 2018

There are two aspects to consider when determining if an application is suitable for running in the cloud. The first, which we will discuss here under the title Read more…

By Chris Downing

Transitioning from Big Data to Discovery: Data Management as a Keystone Analytics Strategy

April 9, 2018

The past 10-15 years has seen a stark rise in the density, size, and diversity of scientific data being generated in every scientific discipline in the world. Key among the sciences has been the explosion of laboratory technologies that generate large amounts of data in life-sciences and healthcare research. Large amounts of data are now being stored in very large storage name spaces, with little to no organization and a general unease about how to approach analyzing it. Read more…

By Ari Berman, BioTeam, Inc.

IBM Expands Quantum Computing Network

April 5, 2018

IBM is positioning itself as a first mover in establishing the era of commercial quantum computing. The company believes in order for quantum to work, taming qu Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

FY18 Budget & CORAL-2 – Exascale USA Continues to Move Ahead

April 2, 2018

It was not pretty. However, despite some twists and turns, the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget is complete and ended with some very positi Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Nvidia Ups Hardware Game with 16-GPU DGX-2 Server and 18-Port NVSwitch

March 27, 2018

Nvidia unveiled a raft of new products from its annual technology conference in San Jose today, and despite not offering up a new chip architecture, there were still a few surprises in store for HPC hardware aficionados. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

HPC and AI – Two Communities Same Future

January 25, 2018

According to Al Gara (Intel Fellow, Data Center Group), high performance computing and artificial intelligence will increasingly intertwine as we transition to Read more…

By Rob Farber

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Te Read more…

By John Russell

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Momentum Builds for US Exascale

January 9, 2018

2018 looks to be a great year for the U.S. exascale program. The last several months of 2017 revealed a number of important developments that help put the U.S. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This