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!

Is Data Science the Fourth Pillar of the Scientific Method?

April 18, 2019

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang revived a decade-old debate last month when he said that modern data science (AI plus HPC) has become the fourth pillar of the scientific method. While some disagree with the notion that statistic Read more…

By Alex Woodie

At ASF 2019: The Virtuous Circle of Big Data, AI and HPC

April 18, 2019

We've entered a new phase in IT -- in the world, really -- where the combination of big data, artificial intelligence, and high performance computing is pushing the bounds of what's possible in business and science, in w Read more…

By Alex Woodie with Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

Google Open Sources TensorFlow Version of MorphNet DL Tool

April 18, 2019

Designing optimum deep neural networks remains a non-trivial exercise. “Given the large search space of possible architectures, designing a network from scratch for your specific application can be prohibitively expens Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture: How to Power a Cloud

Learn how HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture provide critical infrastructure for leading Nordic HPC provider’s HPCFLOW cloud service.

powercloud_blog.jpgFor decades, HPE has been at the forefront of high-performance computing, and we’ve powered some of the fastest and most robust supercomputers in the world. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Bridging HPC and Cloud Native Development with Kubernetes

The HPC community has historically developed its own specialized software stack including schedulers, filesystems, developer tools, container technologies tuned for performance and large-scale on-premises deployments. Read more…

Interview with 2019 Person to Watch Michela Taufer

April 18, 2019

Today, as part of our ongoing HPCwire People to Watch focus series, we are highlighting our interview with 2019 Person to Watch Michela Taufer. Michela -- the General Chair of SC19 -- is an ACM Distinguished Scientist. Read more…

By HPCwire Editorial Team

At ASF 2019: The Virtuous Circle of Big Data, AI and HPC

April 18, 2019

We've entered a new phase in IT -- in the world, really -- where the combination of big data, artificial intelligence, and high performance computing is pushing Read more…

By Alex Woodie with Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

Intel Gold U-Series SKUs Reveal Single Socket Intentions

April 18, 2019

Intel plans to jump into the single socket market with a portion of its just announced Cascade Lake microprocessor line according to one media report. This isn Read more…

By John Russell

BSC Researchers Shrink Floating Point Formats to Accelerate Deep Neural Network Training

April 15, 2019

Sometimes calculating solutions as precisely as a computer can wastes more CPU resources than is necessary. A case in point is with deep learning. In early stag Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

Intel Extends FPGA Ecosystem with 10nm Agilex

April 11, 2019

The insatiable appetite for higher throughput and lower latency – particularly where edge analytics and AI, network functions, or for a range of datacenter ac Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Doubles Down on Medical AI

April 9, 2019

Nvidia is collaborating with medical groups to push GPU-powered AI tools into clinical settings, including radiology and drug discovery. The GPU leader said Monday it will collaborate with the American College of Radiology (ACR) to provide clinicians with its Clara AI tool kit. The partnership would allow radiologists to leverage AI techniques for diagnostic imaging using their own clinical data. Read more…

By George Leopold

Digging into MLPerf Benchmark Suite to Inform AI Infrastructure Decisions

April 9, 2019

With machine learning and deep learning storming into the datacenter, the new challenge is optimizing infrastructure choices to support diverse ML and DL workfl Read more…

By John Russell

AI and Enterprise Datacenters Boost HPC Server Revenues Past Expectations – Hyperion

April 9, 2019

Building on the big year of 2017 and spurred in part by the convergence of AI and HPC, global revenue for high performance servers jumped 15.6 percent last year Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

Why Nvidia Bought Mellanox: ‘Future Datacenters Will Be…Like High Performance Computers’

March 14, 2019

“Future datacenters of all kinds will be built like high performance computers,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a phone briefing on Monday after Nvidia revealed scooping up the high performance networking company Mellanox for $6.9 billion. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Reportedly in $6B Bid for Mellanox

January 30, 2019

The latest rumors and reports around an acquisition of Mellanox focus on Intel, which has reportedly offered a $6 billion bid for the high performance interconn Read more…

By Doug Black

It’s Official: Aurora on Track to Be First US Exascale Computer in 2021

March 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy along with Intel and Cray confirmed today that an Intel/Cray supercomputer, "Aurora," capable of sustained performance of one exaf Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Looking for Light Reading? NSF-backed ‘Comic Books’ Tackle Quantum Computing

January 28, 2019

Still baffled by quantum computing? How about turning to comic books (graphic novels for the well-read among you) for some clarity and a little humor on QC. The Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

Deep500: ETH Researchers Introduce New Deep Learning Benchmark for HPC

February 5, 2019

ETH researchers have developed a new deep learning benchmarking environment – Deep500 – they say is “the first distributed and reproducible benchmarking s Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro Read more…

By Doug Black

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

Arm Unveils Neoverse N1 Platform with up to 128-Cores

February 20, 2019

Following on its Neoverse roadmap announcement last October, Arm today revealed its next-gen Neoverse microarchitecture with compute and throughput-optimized si Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

France to Deploy AI-Focused Supercomputer: Jean Zay

January 22, 2019

HPE announced today that it won the contract to build a supercomputer that will drive France’s AI and HPC efforts. The computer will be part of GENCI, the Fre Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft to Buy Mellanox?

December 20, 2018

Networking equipment powerhouse Mellanox could be an acquisition target by Microsoft, according to a published report in an Israeli financial publication. Microsoft has reportedly gone so far as to engage Goldman Sachs to handle negotiations with Mellanox. Read more…

By Doug Black

HPC Reflections and (Mostly Hopeful) Predictions

December 19, 2018

So much ‘spaghetti’ gets tossed on walls by the technology community (vendors and researchers) to see what sticks that it is often difficult to peer through Read more…

By John Russell

Oil and Gas Supercloud Clears Out Remaining Knights Landing Inventory: All 38,000 Wafers

March 13, 2019

The McCloud HPC service being built by Australia’s DownUnder GeoSolutions (DUG) outside Houston is set to become the largest oil and gas cloud in the world th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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