AWS Beats Azure to K80 General Availability

By Tiffany Trader

September 30, 2016

Amazon Web Services has seeded its cloud with Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs to meet the growing demand for accelerated computing across an increasingly-diverse range of workloads. The P2 instance family is a welcome addition for compute- and data-focused users who were growing frustrated with the performance limitations of Amazon’s G2 instances, which are backed by three-year-old Nvidia GRID K520 graphics cards.

Nvidia’s Kepler-generation Telsa K80 was launched nearly two years ago and we’ve since seen the debut of the Maxwell and Pascal architectures, yet the K80 is still going strong, owing to its ability to simultaneously serve multiple application areas.

It’s certainly a popular GPU for cloud providers. Microsoft Azure’s K80-based N-Series virtual machines were delayed by some months, but have now been in preview mode since early August. IBM Softlayer and Cirrascale both offer it and the regional Alibaba Cloud in China is using similar Telsa K40 parts.

Clouds are general purpose by nature. To mine efficiencies of scale, cloud providers select their offerings for mass appeal. To that end, the Telsa K80 GPU offers a nice mix of single and double precision floating point and sufficient memory and memory bandwidth to benefit a range of workloads, from modeling and simulation, to CFD, to deep learning and data and video processing.

“The K80 is our workhorse GPU in the Tesla product line,” said Roy Kim, director, Accelerated Data Center Computing at NVIDIA, in an interview with HPCwire. “It has by far the greatest number of shipments in volume in the history of Tesla. It’s proven and it’s in some of the largest datacenters in both HPC and in hyperscale. We’re going to be shipping it for a long time.

“I found it fascinating that Amazon’s announcement covered five use cases: HPC simulation, HPC developers with Matlab, AI and then these other two that you don’t hear as much about, enterprise SQL and cloud for video transcode,” Kim continued. “The K80 will be the perfect GPU to cover all five use cases. It is that general-purpose processor.”

There is an argument to be made that Pascal with its huge number of cores, and mixed-precision capabilities enabling very high single- and half-precision performance (a boon to many machine learning workloads) will be even more flexible across a broad swath of use cases. Cloud services purveyors, however, want to capture the deep learning momentum now and the K80 is proving to be the right GPU for the right price (a premium part to be sure, but not as premium as the Tesla P100s). Plus, there’s a little matter of availability. Nvidia says it is currently filling some massive Pascal orders. “There is interest from the cloud space, but there’s a line; we’re building them as fast as we can,” said Kim.

Many in HPC as well as some of Amazon’s hyperscale clients, like Netflix, have wondered why AWS took so long to embrace a more performant GPU. The preeminent cloud provider has had two years to adopt the K80 and longer for the K40. Amazon likes to tout its HPC cloud chops, but apparently the HPC market wasn’t attractive enough on its own to incentivize the outlay. But add in machine learning, database processing, real-time video processing – plus more enterprise HPC workloads – and suddenly there’s a much larger addressable market at stake.

Addison Snell, CEO of Intersect360 Research agrees. “Artificial intelligence and deep learning are going to be major application growth areas over the next few years, and they will be predominantly run on public cloud resources,” he said. “Whether you look at it as an HPC application or a hyperscale application, the net effect is that it becomes a bigger business for cloud service providers.”

Analyst firm IDC has reported that seven out of eight public cloud implementations by HPC sites are on AWS.

“So the choice in HPC is AWS,” said Steve Conway, research vice president in IDC’s high performance computing group. “The other side of that is only about 7-8 percent of work done in HPC sites is done in public clouds. So it’s far wider than it is deep, and that has to do with the subset of applications that makes sense to run in public clouds. So the majority of applications still make sense to run on premises.

“It’s still embarrassingly parallel work that makes sense to do in the public cloud, they’re architected to run that kind of workload efficiently. The kinds of applications like machine learning and deep learning that really benefit from GPUs, that work is becoming much more popular, so this makes sense. When people are doing big data, most of it is still done on CPUs, but GPU use is increasingly fairly quickly.”

P2 Performance

Moving from the K520 to the K80 raises the ceiling significantly in terms of FLOPS and memory. Card to card, peak single-precision teraflops increases from 4.9 to 8.73. Double-precision floating point is negligible on the K520, while the K80 is spec’d at 2.91 DP teraflops. And even more importantly for most users, GDDR5 memory per GPU slice (which is how AWS bundles these) jumps four-fold, from 4GB to 12GB.

Amazon makes the speedup look even more appealing by comparing instance generations rather than the GPUs. “P2 instances offer seven times the computational capacity for single precision floating point calculations and 60 times more for double precision floating point calculations than the largest G2 instance,” said AWS Matt Garman, vice president, Amazon EC2 in an official statement.

Naturally, these performance enhancements incur a significant cost hike. The largest P2 instance, p2.16xlarge, delivers 16 physical GPUs (eight K80 cards) and will cost you $14.40 per hour (on-demand) and $6.80 per hour (for reserved instance pricing). The largest machine configuration offered on Azure, NC24, tops out at four physical GPUs (two K80 cards), however list pricing is not yet available.

aws-p2-instance-details-1200x

That 16-GPU P2 instance will get you 20 Gbps networking, which is bound to be disappointing for some users with workloads that would benefit from RMDA InfiniBand speeds. Competitor Microsoft Azure has said it will offer RDMA over InfiniBand across its K80 nodes.

Amazon is pairing its K80s with custom Intel Xeon E5-2686 v4 chips, and instances come with either 4, 32 or 64 vCPUs. The Azure NC-Series virtual machines are hooked into the Intel Xeon E5-2690 v3 processor, providing either 6, 12 or 24 cores per machine.

The three K80-backed AWS instances — p2.16xlarge with 16 GPUs, p2.8xlarge with 8 GPUs, and p2.xlarge with 1 GPU — are available now in Amazon’s US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), and EU (Ireland) regions.

Amazon is also announcing the Deep Learning API, which contains all the major machine learning frameworks, including MXNet, Caffe, Theano, TensorFlow, and Torch. The Amazon API along with CUDA drivers and toolkits are available through the Amazon marketplace.

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!

SC19’s HPC Impact Showcase Chair: AI + HPC a ‘Speed Train’

November 16, 2019

This year’s chair of the HPC Impact Showcase at the SC19 conference in Denver is Lori Diachin, who has spent her career at the spearhead of HPC. Currently deputy director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Read more…

By Doug Black

Microsoft Azure Adds Graphcore’s IPU

November 15, 2019

Graphcore, the U.K. AI chip developer, is expanding collaboration with Microsoft to offer its intelligent processing units on the Azure cloud, making Microsoft the first large public cloud vendor to offer the IPU designe Read more…

By George Leopold

At SC19: What Is UrgentHPC and Why Is It Needed?

November 14, 2019

The UrgentHPC workshop, taking place Sunday (Nov. 17) at SC19, is focused on using HPC and real-time data for urgent decision making in response to disasters such as wildfires, flooding, health emergencies, and accidents. We chat with organizer Nick Brown, research fellow at EPCC, University of Edinburgh, to learn more. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

China’s Tencent Server Design Will Use AMD Rome

November 13, 2019

Tencent, the Chinese cloud giant, said it would use AMD’s newest Epyc processor in its internally-designed server. The design win adds further momentum to AMD’s bid to erode rival Intel Corp.’s dominance of the glo Read more…

By George Leopold

NCSA Industry Conference Recap – Part 1

November 13, 2019

Industry Program Director Brendan McGinty welcomed guests to the annual National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Industry Conference, October 8-10, on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana (UIUC). One hundred seventy from 40 organizations attended the invitation-only, two-day event. Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Data Management – The Key to a Successful AI Project

 

Five characteristics of an awesome AI data infrastructure

[Attend the IBM LSF & HPC User Group Meeting at SC19 in Denver on November 19!]

AI is powered by data

While neural networks seem to get all the glory, data is the unsung hero of AI projects – data lies at the heart of everything from model training to tuning to selection to validation. Read more…

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing components with Intel Xeon, AMD Epyc, IBM Power, and Arm server ch Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19’s HPC Impact Showcase Chair: AI + HPC a ‘Speed Train’

November 16, 2019

This year’s chair of the HPC Impact Showcase at the SC19 conference in Denver is Lori Diachin, who has spent her career at the spearhead of HPC. Currently Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel AI Summit: New ‘Keem Bay’ Edge VPU, AI Product Roadmap

November 12, 2019

At its AI Summit today in San Francisco, Intel touted a raft of AI training and inference hardware for deployments ranging from cloud to edge and designed to support organizations at various points of their AI journeys. The company revealed its Movidius Myriad Vision Processing Unit (VPU)... Read more…

By Doug Black

IBM Adds Support for Ion Trap Quantum Technology to Qiskit

November 11, 2019

After years of percolating in the shadow of quantum computing research based on superconducting semiconductors – think IBM, Rigetti, Google, and D-Wave (quant Read more…

By John Russell

Tackling HPC’s Memory and I/O Bottlenecks with On-Node, Non-Volatile RAM

November 8, 2019

On-node, non-volatile memory (NVRAM) is a game-changing technology that can remove many I/O and memory bottlenecks and provide a key enabler for exascale. That’s the conclusion drawn by the scientists and researchers of Europe’s NEXTGenIO project, an initiative funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program to explore this new... Read more…

By Jan Rowell

MLPerf Releases First Inference Benchmark Results; Nvidia Touts its Showing

November 6, 2019

MLPerf.org, the young AI-benchmarking consortium, today issued the first round of results for its inference test suite. Among organizations with submissions wer Read more…

By John Russell

Azure Cloud First with AMD Epyc Rome Processors

November 6, 2019

At Ignite 2019 this week, Microsoft's Azure cloud team and AMD announced an expansion of their partnership that began in 2017 when Azure debuted Epyc-backed instances for storage workloads. The fourth-generation Azure D-series and E-series virtual machines previewed at the Rome launch in August are now generally available. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Launches Credit Card-Sized 21 TOPS Jetson System for Edge Devices

November 6, 2019

Nvidia has launched a new addition to its Jetson product line: a credit card-sized (70x45mm) form factor delivering up to 21 trillion operations/second (TOPS) o Read more…

By Doug Black

Supercomputer-Powered AI Tackles a Key Fusion Energy Challenge

August 7, 2019

Fusion energy is the Holy Grail of the energy world: low-radioactivity, low-waste, zero-carbon, high-output nuclear power that can run on hydrogen or lithium. T Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Intel Confirms Retreat on Omni-Path

August 1, 2019

Intel Corp.’s plans to make a big splash in the network fabric market for linking HPC and other workloads has apparently belly-flopped. The chipmaker confirmed to us the outlines of an earlier report by the website CRN that it has jettisoned plans for a second-generation version of its Omni-Path interconnect... Read more…

By Staff report

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Dell Ramps Up HPC Testing of AMD Rome Processors

October 21, 2019

Dell Technologies is wading deeper into the AMD-based systems market with a growing evaluation program for the latest Epyc (Rome) microprocessors from AMD. In a Read more…

By John Russell

Rise of NIH’s Biowulf Mirrors the Rise of Computational Biology

July 29, 2019

The story of NIH’s supercomputer Biowulf is fascinating, important, and in many ways representative of the transformation of life sciences and biomedical res Read more…

By John Russell

Xilinx vs. Intel: FPGA Market Leaders Launch Server Accelerator Cards

August 6, 2019

The two FPGA market leaders, Intel and Xilinx, both announced new accelerator cards this week designed to handle specialized, compute-intensive workloads and un Read more…

By Doug Black

When Dense Matrix Representations Beat Sparse

September 9, 2019

In our world filled with unintended consequences, it turns out that saving memory space to help deal with GPU limitations, knowing it introduces performance pen Read more…

By James Reinders

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cerebras to Supply DOE with Wafer-Scale AI Supercomputing Technology

September 17, 2019

Cerebras Systems, which debuted its wafer-scale AI silicon at Hot Chips last month, has entered into a multi-year partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as part of a larger collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy... 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