Appro Boosts Flagship Product Line with Latest CPUs, Accelerators

By Michael Feldman

November 2, 2011

Now that the latest AMD “Interlagos” Opterons and Intel “Sandy Bridge” EP Xeons have begun shipping, at least for volume deployments, Appro has announced support for the latest x86 CPUs in its upgraded Xtreme-X HPC line-up. The new systems will soon be appearing in supercomputing centers in the US and elsewhere.

Besides the addition of the “Interlagos” CPU (aka Opteron 6200) and “Sandy Bridge” EP processors (aka Xeon E5), Appro is also including support for Intel’s Many Integrated Core (MIC) coprocessor and FDR InfiniBand. The new Xtreme platform will also retain support for the current NVIDIA GPU modules, namely the M2090 Teslas.

The new Xtreme platform uses the GreenBlade building block, which comes in a 5U subrack configuration for a 10 node set-up and a 8U subrack for an expanded 16-node version. The 5U subrack is employed for the two-socket motherboards, while the 8U enclosure houses the four-socket version. According to Maria McLaughlin, Appro’s Marketing Director, the 8U subrack is a bit of a special case, since most of their customers opt for the traditional two-socket nodes. If accelerators are desired, they are matched to their CPU counterparts in a 1:1 ratio — 5 CPU nodes with 5 GPU/MIC nodes or 8 CPU nodes with 8 GPU/MIC nodes.

The only mainstream accelerator left unloved is AMD’s FireStream GPU, mainly due to a lack of enthusiasm for the products by HPC customers. Other than that, Appro has maintained its vendor-neutral stance as far as microprocessors go, allowing customer to mix and match CPUs and accelerators at will. So, for example, AMD Opteron CPUs could co-mingle with Intel’s MIC coprocessor in the same system. Theoretically, a system with CPUs, GPUs, and MICs could be constructed, as Dell is doing for TACC with their Stampede supercomputer.

Of course, the MIC won’t be an official product until “Knights Corner” is launched in late 2012 or early 2013, but according to McLaughlin, they already have a customer who is deploying an Xtreme-X cluster equipped with pre-production (Knights Ferry) Intel MIC coprocessors. Although Appro didn’t say so, the system in question is likely the one at Sandia National Labs, which has an Appro-based testbed system there with pre-production MIC chips.

The Sandia system isn’t the only pre-launch Xtreme-X in the field. Appro has been collecting orders on the new platform for months and has already shipped a number of machines. These include the initial HPC clusters for the new Tri-Lab Linux Capacity Cluster 2 contract announced back in June. All of these are Xeon E5-based systems.

Another E5-equipped machine is the 800-teraflop supercomputer installed at the University of Tsukuba’s Center for Computational Sciences. Most of the flops here are courtesy of NVIDIA GPUs though, with each node pairing up two Xeon CPUs with four Tesla modules. The supercomputer will support particle physics, astrophysics, biophysics and climate research, and represents one of Appro’s first capability systems they’ve installed.

The Gordon system at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) is yet another Appro Xtreme-X machine using the new Xeon E5 processors. Gordon is a 200-teraflop cluster aimed at data-intensive science workloads, which, is enabled primarily by the use of large memory virtual SMP nodes and flash memory. Regarding the latter, Gordon is being outfitted with 300 TB of Intel’s iSolid-State Drive 710 devices.

They won’t all be Intel systems though. McLaughlin says a large Interlagos-based Xtreme-X machine is about to be deployed for a US government agency, although the announcement is not yet public. Beyond that, Appro is still getting some mileage out of the previous generation 6100 Opterons. In September, Los Alamos National Lab installed Mustang, a 353-teraflop Xtreme-X cluster with the 12-core “Magny-Cours” processors.

Even though FDR InfiniBand is now supported on the platform, all of the systems described about are using QDR, although McLaughlin says some deals with FDR systems are in the works. In any case, Appro will continue to support both InfiniBand speeds, as well as Gigabit Ethernet for systems where lots of bandwidth and low latency is not a big deal.

The new Xtreme-X platform has encouraged Appro to start thinking more about capability systems, like the Tsukuba super mentioned above. Up until recently, the company has been singularly focused on capacity clusters, that is, systems that are partitioned to run a number different workloads simultaneously over relatively short periods of time.

Capability systems, on the other hand, typically run one large application, or at least one large application at time. And the codes — things like climate modeling, physics simulations, seismic processing, and certain types of financial risk modeling — can run for days or even weeks.

Such systems require more fault tolerance, redundancy and failover management, not to mention more computational power. Although this level of HPC is a bit of stretch for the company, capability machines usually entail higher margins than capacity systems, so Appro has been busy beefing up its software stack and hardware to support the needed features. With the newer faster processors, FDR InfiniBand, and the more mature software stack, the company believes this is a good time to move up the food chain.

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!

DOE’s Dimitri Kusnezov Discusses How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

Maciej Chojnowski: At the moment, the CORAL systems Summit and Sierra are the number one and number three [now number two] most powerful supercomputers on the planet. In an interview during the SCFE2018 conference in War Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is enjoying a prosperity seen only every few decades, one driven Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, produ Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

AI Can Be Scary. But Choosing the Wrong Partners Can Be Mortifying!

As you continue to dive deeper into AI, you will discover it is more than just deep learning. AI is an extremely complex set of machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, and analytics algorithms with varying compute, storage, memory, and communications needs. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

New Data Management Techniques for Intelligent Simulations

The trend in high performance supercomputer design has evolved – from providing maximum compute capability for complex scalable science applications, to capacity computing utilizing efficient, cost-effective computing power for solving a small number of large problems or a large number of small problems. Read more…

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that d Read more…

By Doug Black

DOE’s Dimitri Kusnezov Discusses How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

Maciej Chojnowski: At the moment, the CORAL systems Summit and Sierra are the number one and number three [now number two] most powerful supercomputers on the p Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is en Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry Read more…

By Doug Black

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competitio Read more…

By Dan Olds

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

OpenACC Talks Up Summit and Community Momentum at SC18

November 12, 2018

OpenACC – the directives-based parallel programing model for optimizing applications on heterogeneous architectures – is showcasing user traction and HPC im Read more…

By John Russell

How ASCI Revolutionized the World of High-Performance Computing and Advanced Modeling and Simulation

November 9, 2018

The 1993 Supercomputing Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. That conference and it’s show floor provided a good snapshot of the uncertainty that U.S. supercomputing was facing in the early 1990s. Many of the companies exhibiting that year would soon be gone, either bankrupt or acquired by somebody else. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Google Releases Machine Learning “What-If” Analysis Tool

September 12, 2018

Training machine learning models has long been time-consuming process. Yesterday, Google released a “What-If Tool” for probing how data point changes affect a model’s prediction. The new tool is being launched as a new feature of the open source TensorBoard web application... Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This