Small TACC Cluster Set to Shatter IOPS Ceiling

By Nicole Hemsoth

October 18, 2013

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has been in the habit of spinning up some rather interesting machines these days, including the hybrid Stampede system. In early 2015, the center will be home to another notable resource—Wrangler, a data analysis and management cluster aimed at aiding the data-intensive need of the open science community.

Taking its place along Stampede’s side in the space that’s been left open from the retired Ranger machine, the new NSF-supported “big data” driven system will provide TACC and the communities it caters to with a Hadoop-ready Dell-supplied 120 node cluster. But that’s not the real story here; what sets this apart is the anticipated high performance NAND flash side, supplied by the (still stealth) company, DSSD.

According to one of the PIs on the new system, Chris Jordan, their high performance NAND tier that is set to deliver one terabyte per second and a whopping 275 million IOPS.

The key to that kind of remarkable storage performance is coming from the technology provided by DSSD. Chances are, you haven’t heard of them before unless you follow news about the trajectory of Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim’s career. His startup, DSSD, has been in development mode for well over three years and is the subject of a number of patents, although there are still no public customers or definitive products. As Jordan described when asked how they came to acquire their NAND flash products, their job at TACC is to keep an eye on emerging technologies and they’re “well connected” with Bechtolsheim and other companies on the edge of offering products publicly.

Of the patents in question from DSSD (there are three that could be found) one seems most promising (again, we note that TACC’s Chris Jordan was unable to give us any detail—this is speculation) there is one for a storage system with “guaranteed read latency” filed in 2012 from DSSD developed by William H. Moore, Jeffrey S. Bonwick. Here, they describe “A method for writing data to persistent storage. The method includes receiving a first request to write a first datum to persistent storage including NAND dies, identifying a first NAND die in which to write a first copy of the first datum and a second NAND die in which to write a second copy, generating a second request to write the first copy of the first datum to the first NAND die and a third request to write the second copy to the second NAND die, and waiting until the first NAND die and second NAND die not are busy. Based on a determination that the first NAND die and the second NAND die are not busy: issuing the second request to the first NAND die, and issuing the third request to the second NAND die after the second request is complete.”

Again, we weren’t able to get any details, but we should note on a related front, Jordan says that the compute environment is what TACC defines as “embedded processing” which on a configuration level, is different than a typical Linux cluster setup with a large number of compute nodes and a separate storage subsystem with its own servers strung together with a high performance interconnect. Rather, in this case, storage will be closer to everything so that for the most part, users won’t go through an intermediate server to get to their data. This means fewer hops on the network between users and their data, which leads to higher performance and lower latency data access than what they might see with more horsepower-driven machine like Stampede.

Jordan tells us that Dell and DSSD are distinct, separate partners on the project and that while the NAND component wasn’t the sole basis for hardware decisions in general, it was a “very exciting part” of the initial concept. He noted that there are no special or custom Dell components for the system, but they did “work very closely” with Dell to achieve the desired result.

The Wrangler system will be the product of a $6 million NSF grant, which if you take some not-so-wild guesses, means that 120 nodes and some human support (the continuing support grant of another $6 million will be funded separately) equals quite a bit left over to fund this NAND storage effort.

Outside of the flashy side of the story, there are a few other elements worth noting. First, the system will be powered by 32 Haswell cores per node and while there are no hard, verified numbers to support the performance, we’ll be staying tuned to see how these early processors crunch some of the big data analytics problems the XSEDE and other scientific communities throw Haswell’s way. Further, to support the anticipated data-intensive workloads, they’ve made some noteworthy decisions on the memory front, adding 4 GB of RAM per core (versus 2 GB in a standard cluster) to lend an overall 128 GB of RAM to support faster storage access across the memory subsystem. Wrangler will also be able to rope in both 40 GbE and InfiniBand.

Additionally, this is one of a growing number of forays into the Hadoop and MapReduce space by a major research institution. TACC isn’t the first to install a Hadoop cluster, but according to Jordan, this cluster will likely grow—both in terms of additional nodes and the people required to support. Jordan told us that while at this point they’re using the native Apache Hadoop implementation, they haven’t ruled out the use of one of the commercial distributions (as offered by companies like Cloudera, MapR and Hortworks, for example).

Of the Hadoop, storage and processing environments, Jordan says that there were two real drivers for the design choices. First, he points to an increase in the overall need for a wider array of data analytics applications, which includes Hadoop and MapReduce type application, but also a host of other statistical and data mining tools as well as basic database applications. He says that while a traditional cluster environment can do all of those things, it’s far from optimal.

Additionally, he points to a growing class of persistent services for collecting, sharing and even analyzing data that are used by communities or large projects. These need to be available and accessible to cater to serve a cloud-based set of users. “Web users and web-based services are becoming a fundamental part of research in a way they haven’t been in the past,” he said, pointing to XSEDE and other projects, including domain-specific ones like iPlant, which serves as a science web application where users upload, share and analyze data or build their own VMs to run custom applications.

In addition to the system components we’ve already described, there will be two ten petabyte disk installations, one of which will be on site with the other at Indiana University, where it serve as an identical high capacity replicated storage resource.

We’ll catch up with TACC and hopefully DSSD at SC13 in Denver this year to see what we else we can learn.

Editor’s Note–

In an earlier version of this article we referenced a comparison between the IOPS numbers of the TACC system with Blue Waters IOPS numbers that we derived from a Data Direct Networks statement. These were related to the storage subsystem and were not a valid reference for comparison. Notes from NCSA below..

The article “Tiny TACC Cluster Set to Shatter IOPS Ceiling” included erroneous information about the Blue Waters system at NCSA.
Blue Waters does not have user-accessible flash storage. Blue Waters does have an online disk subsystem made up entirely of Sonexion storage units with 26 usable petabytes and performance greater than 1TB/s.
Blue Waters also has a 300+ usable petabyte nearline tape sub-system.
The 1.4 million IOPS value described in the article is the vendor quoted peak performance of a single DDN SFA12K storage unit that is a single component (1 of multiple) used to accelerate data access for the near-line tape subsystem and does not reflect the full performance of Blue Waters.
The timeframes of the technologies discussed are separated by approximately five years, with Blue Waters installed and completely in service, and Wrangler projected to be installed in 2015.
HPCwire regrets the erroneous information in the original version of the article.

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!

Nvidia Shuts Out RISC-V Software Support for GPUs 

September 23, 2022

Nvidia is not interested in bringing software support to its GPUs for the RISC-V architecture despite being an early adopter of the open-source technology in its GPU controllers. Nvidia has no plans to add RISC-V support for CUDA, which is the proprietary GPU software platform, a company representative... Read more…

Microsoft Closes Confidential Computing Loop with AMD’s Milan Chip

September 22, 2022

Microsoft shared details on how it uses an AMD technology to secure artificial intelligence as it builds out a secure AI infrastructure in its Azure cloud service. Microsoft has a strong relationship with Nvidia, but is also working with AMD's Epyc chips (including the new 3D VCache series), MI Instinct accelerators, and also... Read more…

Nvidia Introduces New Ada Lovelace GPU Architecture, OVX Systems, Omniverse Cloud

September 20, 2022

In his GTC keynote today, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang launched another new Nvidia GPU architecture: Ada Lovelace, named for the legendary mathematician regarded as the first computer programmer. The company also announced tw Read more…

Nvidia’s Hopper GPUs Enter ‘Full Production,’ DGXs Delayed Until Q1

September 20, 2022

Just about six months ago, Nvidia’s spring GTC event saw the announcement of its hotly anticipated Hopper GPU architecture. Now, the GPU giant is announcing that Hopper-generation GPUs (which promise greater energy eff Read more…

NeMo LLM Service: Nvidia’s First Cloud Service Makes AI Less Vague

September 20, 2022

Nvidia is trying to uncomplicate AI with a cloud service that makes AI and its many forms of computing less vague and more conversational. The NeMo LLM service, which Nvidia called its first cloud service, adds a layer of intelligence and interactivity... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Shutterstock 1194728515

Simulating 44-Qubit quantum circuits using AWS ParallelCluster

Dr. Fabio Baruffa, Sr. HPC & QC Solutions Architect
Dr. Pavel Lougovski, Pr. QC Research Scientist
Tyson Jones, Doctoral researcher, University of Oxford

Introduction

Currently, an enormous effort is underway to develop quantum computing hardware capable of scaling to hundreds, thousands, and even millions of physical (non-error-corrected) qubits. Read more…

Microsoft/NVIDIA Solution Channel

Shutterstock 1166887495

Improving Insurance Fraud Detection using AI Running on Cloud-based GPU-Accelerated Systems

Insurance is a highly regulated industry that is evolving as the industry faces changing customer expectations, massive amounts of data, and increased regulations. A major issue facing the industry is tracking insurance fraud. Read more…

Nvidia Targets Computers for Robots in the Surgery Rooms

September 20, 2022

Nvidia is laying the groundwork for a future in which humans and robots will be collaborators in the surgery rooms at hospitals. The company announced a computer called IGX for Medical Devices, which will be populated in robots, image scanners and other computers and medical devices involved in patient care close to the point... Read more…

Nvidia Shuts Out RISC-V Software Support for GPUs 

September 23, 2022

Nvidia is not interested in bringing software support to its GPUs for the RISC-V architecture despite being an early adopter of the open-source technology in its GPU controllers. Nvidia has no plans to add RISC-V support for CUDA, which is the proprietary GPU software platform, a company representative... Read more…

Nvidia Introduces New Ada Lovelace GPU Architecture, OVX Systems, Omniverse Cloud

September 20, 2022

In his GTC keynote today, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang launched another new Nvidia GPU architecture: Ada Lovelace, named for the legendary mathematician regarded as Read more…

Nvidia’s Hopper GPUs Enter ‘Full Production,’ DGXs Delayed Until Q1

September 20, 2022

Just about six months ago, Nvidia’s spring GTC event saw the announcement of its hotly anticipated Hopper GPU architecture. Now, the GPU giant is announcing t Read more…

NeMo LLM Service: Nvidia’s First Cloud Service Makes AI Less Vague

September 20, 2022

Nvidia is trying to uncomplicate AI with a cloud service that makes AI and its many forms of computing less vague and more conversational. The NeMo LLM service, which Nvidia called its first cloud service, adds a layer of intelligence and interactivity... Read more…

Nvidia Targets Computers for Robots in the Surgery Rooms

September 20, 2022

Nvidia is laying the groundwork for a future in which humans and robots will be collaborators in the surgery rooms at hospitals. The company announced a computer called IGX for Medical Devices, which will be populated in robots, image scanners and other computers and medical devices involved in patient care close to the point... Read more…

Survey Results: PsiQuantum, ORNL, and D-Wave Tackle Benchmarking, Networking, and More

September 19, 2022

The are many issues in quantum computing today – among the more pressing are benchmarking, networking and development of hybrid classical-quantum approaches. Read more…

HPC + AI Wall Street to Feature ‘Spooky’ Science for Financial Services

September 18, 2022

Albert Einstein famously described quantum mechanics as "spooky action at a distance" due to the non-intuitive nature of superposition and quantum entangled par Read more…

Analog Chips Find a New Lease of Life in Artificial Intelligence

September 17, 2022

The need for speed is a hot topic among participants at this week’s AI Hardware Summit – larger AI language models, faster chips and more bandwidth for AI machines to make accurate predictions. But some hardware startups are taking a throwback approach for AI computing to counter the more-is-better... Read more…

AWS Takes the Short and Long View of Quantum Computing

August 30, 2022

It is perhaps not surprising that the big cloud providers – a poor term really – have jumped into quantum computing. Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Google, and th Read more…

The Final Frontier: US Has Its First Exascale Supercomputer

May 30, 2022

In April 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy announced plans to procure a trio of exascale supercomputers at a total cost of up to $1.8 billion dollars. Over the ensuing four years, many announcements were made, many deadlines were missed, and a pandemic threw the world into disarray. Now, at long last, HPE and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have announced that the first of those... Read more…

US Senate Passes CHIPS Act Temperature Check, but Challenges Linger

July 19, 2022

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a major hurdle that will open up close to $52 billion in grants for the semiconductor industry to boost manufacturing, supply chain and research and development. U.S. senators voted 64-34 in favor of advancing the CHIPS Act, which sets the stage for the final consideration... Read more…

Nvidia Shuts Out RISC-V Software Support for GPUs 

September 23, 2022

Nvidia is not interested in bringing software support to its GPUs for the RISC-V architecture despite being an early adopter of the open-source technology in its GPU controllers. Nvidia has no plans to add RISC-V support for CUDA, which is the proprietary GPU software platform, a company representative... Read more…

Top500: Exascale Is Officially Here with Debut of Frontier

May 30, 2022

The 59th installment of the Top500 list, issued today from ISC 2022 in Hamburg, Germany, officially marks a new era in supercomputing with the debut of the first-ever exascale system on the list. Frontier, deployed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, achieved 1.102 exaflops in its fastest High Performance Linpack run, which was completed... Read more…

Chinese Startup Biren Details BR100 GPU

August 22, 2022

Amid the high-performance GPU turf tussle between AMD and Nvidia (and soon, Intel), a new, China-based player is emerging: Biren Technology, founded in 2019 and headquartered in Shanghai. At Hot Chips 34, Biren co-founder and president Lingjie Xu and Biren CTO Mike Hong took the (virtual) stage to detail the company’s inaugural product: the Biren BR100 general-purpose GPU (GPGPU). “It is my honor to present... Read more…

Newly-Observed Higgs Mode Holds Promise in Quantum Computing

June 8, 2022

The first-ever appearance of a previously undetectable quantum excitation known as the axial Higgs mode – exciting in its own right – also holds promise for developing and manipulating higher temperature quantum materials... Read more…

AMD’s MI300 APUs to Power Exascale El Capitan Supercomputer

June 21, 2022

Additional details of the architecture of the exascale El Capitan supercomputer were disclosed today by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Terri Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Tesla Bulks Up Its GPU-Powered AI Super – Is Dojo Next?

August 16, 2022

Tesla has revealed that its biggest in-house AI supercomputer – which we wrote about last year – now has a total of 7,360 A100 GPUs, a nearly 28 percent uplift from its previous total of 5,760 GPUs. That’s enough GPU oomph for a top seven spot on the Top500, although the tech company best known for its electric vehicles has not publicly benchmarked the system. If it had, it would... Read more…

Exclusive Inside Look at First US Exascale Supercomputer

July 1, 2022

HPCwire takes you inside the Frontier datacenter at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., for an interview with Frontier Project Direc Read more…

AMD Opens Up Chip Design to the Outside for Custom Future

June 15, 2022

AMD is getting personal with chips as it sets sail to make products more to the liking of its customers. The chipmaker detailed a modular chip future in which customers can mix and match non-AMD processors in a custom chip package. "We are focused on making it easier to implement chips with more flexibility," said Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer at AMD during the analyst day meeting late last week. Read more…

Intel Reiterates Plans to Merge CPU, GPU High-performance Chip Roadmaps

May 31, 2022

Intel reiterated it is well on its way to merging its roadmap of high-performance CPUs and GPUs as it shifts over to newer manufacturing processes and packaging technologies in the coming years. The company is merging the CPU and GPU lineups into a chip (codenamed Falcon Shores) which Intel has dubbed an XPU. Falcon Shores... Read more…

Nvidia, Intel to Power Atos-Built MareNostrum 5 Supercomputer

June 16, 2022

The long-troubled, hotly anticipated MareNostrum 5 supercomputer finally has a vendor: Atos, which will be supplying a system that includes both Nvidia and Inte Read more…

UCIe Consortium Incorporates, Nvidia and Alibaba Round Out Board

August 2, 2022

The Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) consortium is moving ahead with its effort to standardize a universal interconnect at the package level. The c Read more…

Using Exascale Supercomputers to Make Clean Fusion Energy Possible

September 2, 2022

Fusion, the nuclear reaction that powers the Sun and the stars, has incredible potential as a source of safe, carbon-free and essentially limitless energy. But Read more…

Is Time Running Out for Compromise on America COMPETES/USICA Act?

June 22, 2022

You may recall that efforts proposed in 2020 to remake the National Science Foundation (Endless Frontier Act) have since expanded and morphed into two gigantic bills, the America COMPETES Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in the U.S. Senate. So far, efforts to reconcile the two pieces of legislation have snagged and recent reports... Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire