Dell Announces Servers That Will Power Stampede Supercomputer

By Michael Feldman

September 19, 2012

Dell has launched a new line of servers aimed at “hyperscale” server setups. The PowerEdge C8000 series encompasses a shared infrastructure chassis that can mix and match three different flavors of servers: vanilla x86 CPU, coprocessor-accelerated, and high density storage. The new offering will be the basis for Stampede, the 10-petaflop supercomputer being built this year at The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC).

The PowerEdge C8000 represents Dell’s latest hyperscale servers, what are sometime called “density optimized” servers. They encompass blade systems and other multiple-server chassis setups. The C8000 falls into the latter category, resembling blades in its ability to support a shared server infrastructure, but without some of the bells and whistles such as redundancy, system management, and shared network I/O.

As such, this is not really aimed at traditional enterprise computing, but rather hyperscale environments, such as HPC, Web 2.0, and cloud computing (including, now, Hadoop-style big data apps), where maximizing compute and storage performance is paramount. Density optimized systems represent a big growth area for server makers, and most especially for Dell. Lately the company has done rather well for themselves in this category, garnering a 50-plus-percent market share, according to IDC.

With the C8000, Dell is looking to capitalize on that growth, using the latest chipsets and tweaking the architecture to max out on performance and storage per cubic meter. A 4U chassis is capable of housing up to eight single-width or four double-width “sleds” (Dell’s nomenclature for its shared infrastructure mini-blades), which slide vertically into the enclosure. Two extra sled slots are available for the power supplies.

There are three C8000 model in the series:

1. PowerEdge C8220: A single-width compute sled, with dual-socket Xeon E5-2600 (“Sandy Bridge”) CPUs, up to 256GB of memory, and a SATA port for a spinning disk or SSD.

2. PowerEdge C8220: A double-width compute sled, with the same CPU and memory set-up as the C8220, but with the addition of PCIe-based compute accelerators, in this case, either an NVIDIA Tesla GPU or a Xeon Phi (when available). Support for AMD FirePro GPUs is in the works. Two accelerators per sled can be accommodated.

3. PowerEdge C8000XD. A double-wide storage sled that can house up to 36TB of storage. It can be configured with 12 x 2.5” or 3.5” SAS/SATA drives or 24 x 2.5” SSDs. Everything is hot-pluggable.

Mixing and matching sled types in the chassis offers a lot of flexibility as far as balancing compute and storage capacity. Since the latest x86 CPUs and GPUs are supported, a chassis can deliver over 5 teraflops. (When Intel’s Xeon Phi and NVIDIA’s K20 GPU become available in few months, that should easily double.) On the other hand, maxing out storage will get you 144TB per chassis. And by the end of the year, Dell will offer an external power setup, which will free up the two power slots for even more compute and storage.

TACC’s Stampede supercomputer is Dell’s first public win for the C8000, and will include both storage and compute sleds. It will make particular use of the C8220X, incorporating the upcoming Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors and NVIDIA Kepler GPUs. The whole system is 10 petaflops (peak), but most that — 8 petaflops — is coming from the Xeon Phi silicon.

All told, there will close to 200 racks of Dell gear, spread out over about 10,000 square feet of floor space. Power draw is expected to be in the neighborhood of 5 megawatts, which is near tops in energy efficiency for a petascale cluster.

As it turned out, the C8000 was the right combination of feature set, energy efficiency and density required by TACC for the Stampede project. According to Brian Payne, Dell’s executive director of PowerEdge Servers, they beat out both HP and Appro for the contract. Both had systems with GPU and Xeon Phi support, but neither one provided the high-density storage modules present in the Dell offering. “The reason we won is that we could do it all in one form factor, whereas our competition couldn’t,” said Payne.

The entire C8000 product line is available for shipment this month. Stampede is currently under construction and is expected to go into production in January 2013.

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!

Hedge Funds (with Supercomputing help) Rank First Among Investors

May 22, 2017

In case you didn’t know, The Quants Run Wall Street Now, or so says a headline in today’s Wall Street Journal. Quant-run hedge funds now control the largest Read more…

By John Russell

IBM, D-Wave Report Quantum Computing Advances

May 18, 2017

IBM said this week it has built and tested a pair of quantum computing processors, including a prototype of a commercial version. That progress follows an an Read more…

By George Leopold

PRACEdays 2017 Wraps Up in Barcelona

May 18, 2017

Barcelona has been absolutely lovely; the weather, the food, the people. I am, sadly, finishing my last day at PRACEdays 2017 with two sessions: an in-depth loo Read more…

By Kim McMahon

US, Europe, Japan Deepen Research Computing Partnership

May 18, 2017

On May 17, 2017, a ceremony was held during the PRACEdays 2017 conference in Barcelona to announce the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between PRACE in Europe Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Exploring the Three Models of Remote Visualization

The explosion of data and advancement of digital technologies are dramatically changing the way many companies do business. With the help of high performance computing (HPC) solutions and data analytics platforms, manufacturers are developing products faster, healthcare providers are improving patient care, and energy companies are improving planning, exploration, and production. Read more…

NSF, IARPA, and SRC Push into “Semiconductor Synthetic Biology” Computing

May 18, 2017

Research into how biological systems might be fashioned into computational technology has a long history with various DNA-based computing approaches explored. N Read more…

By John Russell

DOE’s HPC4Mfg Leads to Paper Manufacturing Improvement

May 17, 2017

Papermaking ranks third behind only petroleum refining and chemical production in terms of energy consumption. Recently, simulations made possible by the U.S. D Read more…

By John Russell

PRACEdays 2017: The start of a beautiful week in Barcelona

May 17, 2017

Touching down in Barcelona on Saturday afternoon, it was warm, sunny, and oh so Spanish. I was greeted at my hotel with a glass of Cava to sip and treated to a Read more…

By Kim McMahon

NSF Issues $60M RFP for “Towards a Leadership-Class” System

May 16, 2017

In case you missed it, the National Science Foundation issued the request for proposals (RFP) for the next ‘Towards a Leadership-Class Computing Facility – Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing tow Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior V Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Launches Servers, Services, and Collaboration at GTC

May 10, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today launched a new liquid cooled GPU-driven Apollo platform based on SGI ICE architecture, a new collaboration with NVIDIA, a Read more…

By John Russell

IBM PowerAI Tools Aim to Ease Deep Learning Data Prep, Shorten Training 

May 10, 2017

A new set of GPU-powered AI software announced by IBM today brings automation to many of the tedious, time consuming and complex aspects of AI project on-rampin Read more…

By Doug Black

Bright Computing 8.0 Adds Azure, Expands Machine Learning Support

May 9, 2017

Bright Computing, long a prominent provider of cluster management tools for HPC, today released version 8.0 of Bright Cluster Manager and Bright OpenStack. The Read more…

By John Russell

Microsoft Azure Will Debut Pascal GPU Instances This Year

May 8, 2017

As Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference gets underway in San Jose, Calif., Microsoft today revealed plans to add Pascal-generation GPU horsepower to its Azure clo Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Last week, Google reported that its custom ASIC Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) was 15-30x faster for inferencing workloads than Nvidia's K80 GPU (see our coverage Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

Since our first formal product releases of OSPRay and OpenSWR libraries in 2016, CPU-based Software Defined Visualization (SDVis) has achieved wide-spread adopt Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a ne Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which w Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling Read more…

By Steve Campbell

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Eng Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu's Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural networ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

As China continues to prove its supercomputing mettle via the Top500 list and the forward march of its ambitious plans to stand up an exascale machine by 2020, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of "quantum supremacy," researchers are stretching the limits of today's most advance Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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