Dell Aims PowerEdge C-Series Platform for HPC and Beyond

By Tiffany Trader

June 30, 2015

Dell has positioned its latest PowerEdge C-series platform to meet the needs of both traditional HPC and the hyperscale market. The recently hatched PowerEdge C6320 is outfitted with the latest generation Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors, providing up to 18 cores per socket (144 cores per 2U chassis), up to 512GB of DDR4 memory and up to 72TB of flexible local storage.

HPCwire spoke with Brian Payne, executive director of Dell Server Solutions, to explore how the new PowerEdge C6320 fits in with Dell’s broader portfolio and approach to the widening HPC space.

With two Intel Xeon E5- 2699 processors, the new server offers a 2x performance improvement on the Linpack benchmark, delivering 999 gigaflops compared with 498 gigaflops from the previous generation PowerEdge C6220 (outfitted with Xeon E5-2697 CPUs). The C6320 also achieved a 45 percent improvement on the SPECint_rate benchmark and up to 28 percent better power efficiency on the Spec_Power benchmark.

The PowerEdge C6320 employs a “4in2U” design, meaning it has four independent server nodes in a 2U chassis, which offers a density that exceeds that of traditional rack servers, and is twice as dense as a 1U server, according to the company. “It also provides an interesting and unique balance of memory and storage and connectivity options,” Payne noted.

In the HPC sphere, Dells sees the C4130 as addressing pain points like scarce datacenter space, delivering double the density from a traditional rack server, allowing customers to scale more compute nodes per rack. Many of the datacenters in the HPC space have been engineered to take advantage of that density, meaning that they have the requisite power and cooling infrastructure in place, said Payne.

Beyond addressing the density, Dell recognizes that the HPC space is changing to become more heterogeneous, and there is burgeoning demand for acceleration technology coming from an ever-widening user group that includes technical computing, scientific research, financial services, oil and gas exploration, and medical imaging.

Customers with problems from these and other domains that lend themselves to being solved more efficiently by GPGPUs and Xeon Phi have the option to pair the PowerEdge C6320 with the accelerator-optimized PowerEdge C4130. Introduced back in Q4 of 2014, the PowerEdge C4130 is a 1U, 2-socket server capable of supporting up to four full-powered GPUs or Xeon Phis.

Dell says its PowerEdge C4130 offers 33 percent better GPU/accelerator density than its closest competitors and 400 percent more PCIe GPU/accelerators per processor per rack than a comparable HP system. A single 1U server delivers 7.2 teraflops and has a performance/watt ratio of up to 4.17 gigaflops per watt.

Dell works closely with the major coprocessor suppliers to align roadmaps and ensure that future developments can be deployed in a timely manner. Currently, the C4130 supports NVIDIA’s Tesla K40 and K80 parts; Intel Phi 7120P, 5110P and 3120P SKUs; and AMD’s Firepro line, including the S9150 and S9100 graphics cards.

Advanced seismic data processing is one of the segments benefiting from accelerator technology. Dell has already scored a win in this market by delivering a combination of the 4in2U form factor and the C4130 server to a customer in the undersea oil and gas space. The unnamed business was able to double compute capacity with 50 percent fewer servers, supporting new proprietary analytics, according to Dell.

Dell’s marquis customer in the academic space is the University of California San Diego, which relied on the new PowerEdge C-series for its Comet cluster. The new petascale supercomputer has been described as “supercomputing for the 99 percent” because it will serve the large number of researchers who don’t have the resources to build their own cluster. Deployed by the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), Comet leverages 27 racks of PowerEdge C6320, totaling 1,944 nodes or 46,656 cores, a five-fold increase in compute capacity compared with SDSC’s previous system.

Payne noted that SDSC was able to get this cluster powered up and starting to run test workloads in under two weeks, months ahead of Dell’s general availability, which begins next month. Payne pointed to the packaging of the platform as a key enabler. “Instead of racking up four discrete rack servers, having those in a single chassis simplifies that process and can help with the speed of deployment,” he said.

“Our goal is to democratize technology and help the [HPC] industry move forward to drive innovations and [discovery],” he stated. “The way we can do that is by driving standardization and by bringing down the marginal cost of compute – to increase their productivity and also engage with them to understand the nuances and challenges that they have and adapt to those. In the case of San Diego Supercomputing Center, they had a timeline that didn’t necessarily line up with our product general release timeline and we found a way to adapt and respond to their timing needs to fulfill the demand for this latest platform.”

Payne added that Dell is opening up market opportunities beyond high-performance computing. The PowerEdge C6320 along with its embedded management software will be used as a host platform for hyper-converged systems such as Dell Engineered Solutions for VMware EVO: RAIL and Dell’s XC Series of Web-scale Converged Appliances.

By targeting the hyper-converged market, Dell was able to design in a new capability in this product class, a management capability called iDRAC8 with Lifecycle Controller. The tool allows customers to rapidly deploy, monitor and update their infrastructure layer. Larger high-performance cluster users may have the means to build their own tools and capabilities. For everyone else, Dell is making this technology available in its PowerEdge C-Series line. Prior to that it had only been available in the mainstream PowerEdge lineup. For those that don’t need this capability, Dell can still deliver the baseline capabilities without the added cost or complexity burden.

“We are seeing more applications of high-performance computing in mainstream industry, outside the domain of traditional national labs, traditional universities,” said Payne, addressing the symbiosis that is occurring at the interplay of HPC, enterprise and big data. “Going into R&D departments, in oil and gas and other segments that are building out big systems, you see some big data problems being treated very similarly to the way high-performance computing problems are solved.

“You have to think about the skill set and the staff in the IT department that is responsible for deploying and administering this infrastructure, and many times that staff is hosting and supporting a diverse set of workloads for the company – from email to database and now high-performance computing as well as some Web technologies. These folks were trained and accustomed to using server OEM tools to manage the infrastructure and they rely on those versus building their own, now we have extended and given them something that they are familiar with that makes it easier for them to take on a high-performance computing project.”

The new server starts at roughly $16,600 and includes the chassis and four C6320 nodes (2x Xeon E5-2603 v3 CPUs, 2x8GB DDR4 memory, 1×2.5-inch 7200rpm 250 GB SATA, iDRAC8 Express, and 3-year warranty). More details, including networking options, are available on this product page.

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!

Cray Introduces All Flash Lustre Storage Solution Targeting HPC

June 19, 2018

Citing the rise of IOPS-intensive workflows and more affordable flash technology, Cray today introduced the L300F, a scalable all-flash storage solution whose primary use case is to support high IOPS rates to/from a scra Read more…

By John Russell

Lenovo to Debut ‘Neptune’ Cooling Technologies at ISC

June 19, 2018

Lenovo today announced a set of cooling technologies, dubbed Neptune, that include direct to node (DTN) warm water cooling, rear door heat exchanger (RDHX), and hybrid solutions that combine air and liquid cooling. Lenov Read more…

By John Russell

World Cup is Lame Compared to This Competition

June 18, 2018

So you think World Cup soccer is a big deal? While I’m sure it’s very compelling to watch a bunch of athletes kick a ball around, World Cup misses the boat because it doesn’t include teams putting together their ow Read more…

By Dan Olds

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

Banks Boost Infrastructure to Tackle GDPR

As banks become more digital and data-driven, their IT managers are challenged with fast growing data volumes and lines-of-businesses’ (LoBs’) seemingly limitless appetite for analytics. Read more…

IBM Demonstrates Deep Neural Network Training with Analog Memory Devices

June 18, 2018

From smarter, more personalized apps to seemingly-ubiquitous Google Assistant and Alexa devices, AI adoption is showing no signs of slowing down – and yet, the hardware used for AI is far from perfect. Currently, GPUs Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cray Introduces All Flash Lustre Storage Solution Targeting HPC

June 19, 2018

Citing the rise of IOPS-intensive workflows and more affordable flash technology, Cray today introduced the L300F, a scalable all-flash storage solution whose p Read more…

By John Russell

Sandia to Take Delivery of World’s Largest Arm System

June 18, 2018

While the enterprise remains circumspect on prospects for Arm servers in the datacenter, the leadership HPC community is taking a bolder, brighter view of the x86 server CPU alternative. Amongst current and planned Arm HPC installations – i.e., the innovative Mont-Blanc project, led by Bull/Atos, the 'Isambard’ Cray XC50 going into the University of Bristol, and commitments from both Japan and France among others -- HPE is announcing that it will be supply the United States National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) with a 2.3 petaflops peak Arm-based system, named Astra. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Machine Learning Hype Cycle and HPC

June 14, 2018

Like many other HPC professionals I’m following the hype cycle around machine learning/deep learning with interest. I subscribe to the view that we’re probably approaching the ‘peak of inflated expectation’ but not quite yet starting the descent into the ‘trough of disillusionment. This still raises the probability that... Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

Xiaoxiang Zhu Receives the 2018 PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC

June 13, 2018

Xiaoxiang Zhu, who works for the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Technical University of Munich (TUM), was awarded the 2018 PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC for her outstanding contributions in the field of high performance computing (HPC) in Europe. Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake

U.S Considering Launch of National Quantum Initiative

June 11, 2018

Sometime this month the U.S. House Science Committee will introduce legislation to launch a 10-year National Quantum Initiative, according to a recent report by Read more…

By John Russell

ORNL Summit Supercomputer Is Officially Here

June 8, 2018

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) together with IBM and Nvidia celebrated the official unveiling of the Department of Energy (DOE) Summit supercomputer toda Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Exascale USA – Continuing to Move Forward

June 6, 2018

The end of May 2018, saw several important events that continue to advance the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Exascale Computing Initiative (ECI) for the United Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Exascale for the Rest of Us: Exaflops Systems Capable for Industry

June 6, 2018

Enterprise advanced scale computing – or HPC in the enterprise – is an entity unto itself, situated between (and with characteristics of) conventional enter Read more…

By Doug Black

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

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

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

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

ORNL Summit Supercomputer Is Officially Here

June 8, 2018

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) together with IBM and Nvidia celebrated the official unveiling of the Department of Energy (DOE) Summit supercomputer toda 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

Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

April 17, 2018

On Monday June 4, 2018, 2017 A.M. Turing Award Winners John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson will deliver the Turing Lecture at the 45th International Sympo Read more…

By Staff

Leading Solution Providers

SC17 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Altair @ SC17

Altair

AMD @ SC17

AMD

ASRock Rack @ SC17

ASRock Rack

CEJN @ SC17

CEJN

DDN Storage @ SC17

DDN Storage

Huawei @ SC17

Huawei

IBM @ SC17

IBM

IBM Power Systems @ SC17

IBM Power Systems

Intel @ SC17

Intel

Lenovo @ SC17

Lenovo

Mellanox Technologies @ SC17

Mellanox Technologies

Microsoft @ SC17

Microsoft

Penguin Computing @ SC17

Penguin Computing

Pure Storage @ SC17

Pure Storage

Supericro @ SC17

Supericro

Tyan @ SC17

Tyan

Univa @ SC17

Univa

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

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

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

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Franci Read more…

By John Russell

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

Part One: Deep Dive into 2018 Trends in Life Sciences HPC

March 1, 2018

Life sciences is an interesting lens through which to see HPC. It is perhaps not an obvious choice, given life sciences’ relative newness as a heavy user of H Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Pledges First Commercial Nervana Product ‘Spring Crest’ in 2019

May 24, 2018

At its AI developer conference in San Francisco yesterday, Intel embraced a holistic approach to AI and showed off a broad AI portfolio that includes Xeon processors, Movidius technologies, FPGAs and Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors (NNPs), based on the technology it acquired in 2016. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Charts Two-Dimensional Quantum Course

April 26, 2018

Quantum error correction, essential for achieving universal fault-tolerant quantum computation, is one of the main challenges of the quantum computing field and it’s top of mind for Google’s John Martinis. At a presentation last week at the HPC User Forum in Tucson, Martinis, one of the world's foremost experts in quantum computing, emphasized... 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