Q&A: Appro gets ready for 16-core AMD “Interlagos” processors

By Nicole Hemsoth

October 24, 2011

In the volatile high performance computing (HPC) market, vendor longevity is quite rare. However, Appro has not only endured, but continues to introduce innovative solutions. One of the company’s strengths is that while some vendors flashed into and out of existence by offering rigid solutions exclusively for the highest end of the market, Appro has tried to appeal to the medium to large-scale HPC market with a variety of workload configuration requirements.

In that tradition, Appro is preparing to launch its  next generation Xtreme-X™ Supercomputer and new server platforms based on the  upcoming AMD ”Interlagos” processor. This processor has been eagerly anticipated as it is ideally suited for HPC environments. Specifically, it is a 16-core processor based on AMD’s new “Bulldozer” architecture offering new instructions for HPC applications, significant memory enhancements, and the new Flex FP for 256-bit floating point processing, an innovation that allows for significant overall processor power savings when the Flex FP is not fully utilized.

HPCwire recently had a chance to talk about new solutions based on “Interlagos” and other HPC trends with Maria McLaughlinDirector of Marketing of Appro International Inc. What follows is an edited transcript of that conversation.

HPCwire: Why Appro and why AMD Opteron™-powered servers?

McLaughlin: Appro offers innovative supercomputing solutions by combining the performance advantages of AMD Opteron processors such as higher core count, significant memory enhancements, and improved floating point processing with optimized power management features. Being on the forefront of system cooling and optimization, Appro offers many configuration options and having features such as performance-on-demand by dynamically adjusting performance based on CPU utilization – helps systems to run at optimum performance and power levels, reducing electricity costs while maximizing IT budget dollars. Appro platforms based on AMD ”Interlagos” processors will deliver greater performance per watt with improved memory bandwidth while reducing memory latency. AMD has been a great technology partner and has provided us with the tools and expertise to accelerate HPC business results. Working together, Appro and AMD provide customer-focused innovations that our High-Performance computing customers require.

HPCwire:  Many people in the industry are eager to see what the AMD “Interlagos” processors can offer. Where do things stand with the Appro Xtreme-X Supercomputer based on these processors?

McLaughlin: We’re on target for a Q4 launch with “Interlagos”-based systems. We’re actually pretty excited about the product, particularly with respect to some of the features that we’re going to enable. We started out Appro’s next generation Xtreme-X, with a certain feature set.  After gathering customer feedback on the design, we changed the features to address faster hybrid multi-core technologies with improved power and cooling, flexible Interconnect options with fast I/O bandwidth, superior HPC software stack integration with complementary Appro Cluster Engine™ (ACE) management suite, including capabilities such as job scheduling, revision control, and fault tolerance. Taken together, these features are very important to the HPC industry. As a result, we think that our next generation product will have a bigger impact than we originally anticipated. 

HPCwire: The AMD “Interlagos” processor offers some interesting innovations. How are you able to take full advantage of the processor’s capabilities?

McLaughlin:  The Appro Xtreme-X supercomputer will offer enhancements to match the new processor and future generations. To accomplish this, we made significant changes to the Xtreme-X architecture to complement the new AMD “Interlagos” processor. We looked at the overall platform including thermal, mechanical, and chassis cooling design, as well as various interconnects so we can continue to deliver on quality, value, and performance.

HPCwire: As we know, whenever a new processor is announced customers need more than just a spec sheet to understand how the processor will help their specific HPC applications. What’s been done to prepare the market for the AMD “Interlagos” processors?

McLaughlin: The AMD Seed program is the key. It is definitely important and critical for our industry. People want to kick the tires, especially when they are getting a lot more cores to make sure their applications can benefit and can reach a quicker ROI. Through the seed program, we’ve provided samples to customers and we also performed customer benchmark testing in Appro’s Houston and Milpitas facilities. In response to that, we already have customers lined up and more announcements will be made in the near future.

HPCwire: Can we talk about the Appro Xtreme-X Supercomputer and new servers based on “Interlagos”? What can we expect?

McLaughlin: The Appro next generation, server platforms and the Xtreme-X Supercomputer will increase memory performance for high-performance computing while adding reliability, high availability, and flexibility for the end-users with the best performance/value. In addition, the new AMD architecture drastically improves the memory and I/O latency. It provides a much easier way to address larger chunks of memory faster, yielding huge performance boosts.

HPCwire: Explain a bit about why Xtreme-X Supercomputer is an important product line?

McLaughlin: HPC is a growing market and today’s customers can no longer compete or survive without cutting-edge supercomputing technologies. Appro is planning to embrace the HPC challenge and continue to provide more value added features to our current generation with additional cutting-edge technologies to address critical HPC workload categories in capacity, hybrid, data-intensive and capability computing. The new design will significantly accelerate the HPC world while promoting US innovation and technology competitiveness at a lower total cost of ownership.

HPCwire: Who will benefit from Appro Xtreme-X Supercomputer and server platforms based on AMD Opteron™ processors?

McLaughlin: Many industries will benefit, in particular industries that are using memory-intensive applications, such as those used in scientific research and engineering.  Compute-intensive multi-threaded applications will also see an immediate benefit.

HPCwire: When will the Appro Xtreme-X Supercomputer be launched? And will AMD “Interlagos” processors be widely available to meet market demands?

McLaughlin: As a Premier partner of AMD, the plan is to announce that Appro will support the upcoming AMD ”Interlagos”  for the next generation server platforms including the new Xtreme-X Supercomputer. The new Appro Xtreme-X supercomputer will be widely available subsequent to AMD’s launch announcement, most likely early Q1/2012 aligning with Appro’s volume production schedule.

HPCwire: Can you provide more info on the HPC Software Stack that Appro provides and how it integrates as part of the Appro Xtreme-X system?

McLaughlin: The Appro Xtreme-X Supercomputer offers a software suite designed to eliminate the complexity of managing an HPC cluster while providing all of the tools necessary to run medium to large, complex applications. The Appro HPC Software Stack offers a supported version of the Grid Engine Batch Scheduler and is compatible with most open source and commercial compilers, tools, schedulers, and libraries. Appro Cluster Engine™ (ACE), lights-out management suite is also part of the Appro Software Stack and is tightly integrated with the Appro Xtreme-X system. This software package includes System Control Manager for cluster management graphical user interface (GUI) that is intuitive and easy-to-use. The ACE management GUI connects directly to the ACE Daemon on the Management Server and can be executed on any Windows, Linux, or Mac-based system. The management modules include network, server, cluster, and storage management. It features job scheduling, fail-over, load balancing and revision control capabilities with a robust network boot, diskless nodes to achieve maximum reliability, performance, and high availability.

HPCwire: What should we expect right after Appro’s product launch?  

McLaughlin: Appro will continue to deliver cutting-edge technology for HPC solutions to our customers. We feel that the next generation, Xtreme-X Supercomputer will make a higher impact on the HPC market since it addresses most of our customers’ key requirements. Appro will also offer a new line of rack-mount server solutions based on the new AMD Opteron processors as well as hybrid processor technologies to be available in early Q1/2012. We are very proud of our current Xtreme-X Supercomputer accomplishments and we look forward to a great 2012 start.  Additionally, Appro will further enhance our overall HPC solution portfolio offerings for new technology demands and opportunities.

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!

ASC18: Final Results Revealed & Wrapped Up

May 17, 2018

It was an exciting week at ASC18 in Nanyang, China. The student teams braved extreme heat, extremely difficult applications, and extreme competition in order to cross the cluster competition finish line. The gala awards ceremony took place on Wednesday. The auditorium was packed with student teams, various dignitaries, the media, and other interested parties. So what happened? Read more…

By Dan Olds

ASC18: Tough Applications & Tough Luck

May 17, 2018

The applications at the ASC18 Student Cluster Competition were tough. Tougher than the $3.99 steak special at your local greasy spoon restaurant. The apps are so tough that even Chuck Norris backs away from them slowly. Read more…

By Dan Olds

Spring Meetings Underscore Quantum Computing’s Rise

May 17, 2018

The month of April 2018 saw four very important and interesting meetings to discuss the state of quantum computing technologies, their potential impacts, and the technology challenges ahead. These discussions happened in Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPC and AI Convergence is Accelerating New Levels of Intelligence

Data analytics is the most valuable tool in the digital marketplace – so much so that organizations are employing high performance computing (HPC) capabilities to rapidly collect, share, and analyze endless streams of data. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Mastering the Big Data Challenge in Cognitive Healthcare

Patrick Chain, genomics researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, posed a question in a recent blog: What if a nurse could swipe a patient’s saliva and run a quick genetic test to determine if the patient’s sore throat was caused by a cold virus or a bacterial infection? Read more…

Quantum Network Hub Opens in Japan

May 17, 2018

Following on the launch of its Q Commercial quantum network last December with 12 industrial and academic partners, the official Japanese hub at Keio University is now open to facilitate the exploration of quantum applications important to science and business. The news comes a week after IBM announced that North Carolina State University was the first U.S. university to join its Q Network. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ASC18: Final Results Revealed & Wrapped Up

May 17, 2018

It was an exciting week at ASC18 in Nanyang, China. The student teams braved extreme heat, extremely difficult applications, and extreme competition in order to cross the cluster competition finish line. The gala awards ceremony took place on Wednesday. The auditorium was packed with student teams, various dignitaries, the media, and other interested parties. So what happened? Read more…

By Dan Olds

Spring Meetings Underscore Quantum Computing’s Rise

May 17, 2018

The month of April 2018 saw four very important and interesting meetings to discuss the state of quantum computing technologies, their potential impacts, and th Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Quantum Network Hub Opens in Japan

May 17, 2018

Following on the launch of its Q Commercial quantum network last December with 12 industrial and academic partners, the official Japanese hub at Keio University is now open to facilitate the exploration of quantum applications important to science and business. The news comes a week after IBM announced that North Carolina State University was the first U.S. university to join its Q Network. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Democratizing HPC: OSC Releases Version 1.3 of OnDemand

May 16, 2018

Making HPC resources readily available and easier to use for scientists who may have less HPC expertise is an ongoing challenge. Open OnDemand is a project by t Read more…

By John Russell

PRACE 2017 Annual Report: Exascale Aspirations; Industry Collaboration; HPC Training

May 15, 2018

The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) today released its annual report showcasing 2017 activities and providing a glimpse into thinking about Read more…

By John Russell

US Forms AI Brain Trust

May 11, 2018

Amid calls for a U.S. strategy for promoting AI development, the Trump administration is forming a senior-level panel to help coordinate government and industry research efforts. The Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence was announced Thursday (May 10) during a White House summit organized by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Read more…

By George Leopold

Emerging Advanced Scale Tech Trends Focus of Annual Tabor Conference

May 9, 2018

At Tabor Communications' annual Advanced Scale Forum (ASF) held this week in Austin, the focus was on enterprise adoption of HPC-class technologies and high performance data analytics (HPDA). It’s a confab that brings together end users (CIOs, IT planners, department heads) and vendors and encourages... Read more…

By the Editorial Team

Google I/O 2018: AI Everywhere; TPU 3.0 Delivers 100+ Petaflops but Requires Liquid Cooling

May 9, 2018

All things AI dominated discussion at yesterday’s opening of Google’s I/O 2018 developers meeting covering much of Google's near-term product roadmap. The e Read more…

By John Russell

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leading Solution Providers

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

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

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

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

HPE Wins $57 Million DoD Supercomputing Contract

February 20, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today revealed details of its massive $57 million HPC contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The deal calls for HP Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CFO Steps down in Executive Shuffle at Supermicro

January 31, 2018

Supermicro yesterday announced senior management shuffling including prominent departures, the completion of an audit linked to its delayed Nasdaq filings, and Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Portends ‘Sea Change’ for Oil and Gas Sector

February 1, 2018

The billowing compute and data demands that spurred the oil and gas industry to be the largest commercial users of high-performance computing are now propelling Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

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