Power8 with NVLink Coming to the Nimbix Cloud

By Tiffany Trader

October 6, 2016

Starting later this month, HPC professionals and data scientists wishing to try out NVLink’d Nvidia Pascal P100 GPUs won’t have to spend upwards of $100,000 on NVIDIA’s DGX-1 server or fork over about half that for IBM’s Power8 server with NVLink and four Pascal GPUs. Soon they’ll be able to get the power of Pascal in a public cloud.

On Wednesday (Oct. 5), the Dallas, Texas-based cloud provider Nimbix revealed that it was adding IBM Power S822LC for HPC systems (codenamed “Minsky”) to its heterogeneous HPC cloud platform. Target markets include high-performance computing, data analytics, in-memory databases, and machine learning.

“We are definitely the first public cloud to deploy the Minsky technology and one of the first to deploy Power8 in a high performance high-scalability setting,” said Leo Reiter, CTO and vice president of software engineering at Nimbix. “Obviously what was really interesting on Minksky in addition to Power8 was the Pascal GPUs and we’ve integrated that with our JARVICE platform so it’s a seamless experience for both end users and developers.”

Unveiled by IBM last month, the new Power8 with NVLink processor features 10 cores running up to 3.26 GHz. The processors have higher memory bandwidth than x86 CPUs at 115 GB/s and can have as much as half a terabyte of system memory per socket. There are larger caches per core inside the Power8 processor, and this coupled with the faster cores and memory bandwidth leads to higher application performance and throughput.

The NVIDIA Tesla P100 for NVLink-optimized servers is Nvidia’s most performant GPU yet, delivering a whopping 5.3 teraflops of double-precision performance, 10.6 teraflops of single-precision, and 21 teraflops of half-precision. The accelerator card includes 16 gigabytes of the HBM2 stacked memory with an on-GPU memory bandwidth of 720 GB/s. The Tesla P100 with NVLink GPU in the SXM2 (Mezzanine) form factor, currently only shipping in the DGX-1 and the Minsky platform, delivers 13 percent more raw compute performance than the PCIe variant due to the higher TDP (300 watts versus 250 watts).

IBM.POWER8.NVLINKCrucially for many users that Nimbix is targeting with the new hardware, the Minsky platform provides high-bandwidth NVLink connections between the CPU and the GPUs and from GPU to GPU. IBM says the NVLink optimized Power8 servers “enable data to flow 5x faster” than on a comparable x86-based system.

Along with its support for HPC and deep learning workflows, Nimbix says adoption of GPU-accelerated databases is advancing quickly. “Accelerated analytics, like in-memory databases, benefit so much from having the Pascal GPUs as well as the high performance link between them to the point where some customers are getting multiple times performance boost for advanced queries,” says Reiter.

Nimbix is working with Kinetica and MapD to facilitate the use of the NVLink optimized Power servers for database acceleration. Reiter says Kinetica has the ability to scale horizontally across multiple systems so it’s not just being able to take advantage of the GPUs on a single box but to scale across using a high performance fabric like the one at Nimbix.

“So you have both the high density in each chassis where you are going to have four Pascal GPUs with this high performance link, a lot of host memory but then also being able to scale that horizontally to dozens of machines at the same time to be able to do these accelerated databases,” says Reiter.

From its start in 2010, Nimbix has focused on high-performance heterogeneous cloud computing. “While it’s true that the market is heavily tilted toward Intel in terms of the system architecture, we already have the capabilities of running heterogeneous compute, both accelerators as well as central processors, so it wasn’t a technology challenge for us to deploy a non-Intel architecture into our existing cloud,” explains Reiter.

“We’re not requiring that people embrace the system architecture change. We’re not selling architecture here, what we’re selling is turnkey workflows that happen to run in a more optimized way when they’re hooked into the right resources.”

Reiter notes that they’ve been working with Nvidia for a while now and they have multiple datacenters outfitted with Tesla K80s and other Nvidia chips.

Now they’re also partnering with IBM, whom they say has provided and continues to provide a lot of support. “They are extremely motivated to speed Power,” says Reiter, “not just in HPC, but in cloud specifically. And there are a couple reasons. One is that the traction in public cloud for Power is almost non-existent, relatively speaking, but more importantly, even a lot of their customers who are buying Power clusters are asking them for an actual cloud bursting strategy. It’s not just for capacity, but it’s for a lot of these bids now, people are looking at emerging technology in the bids.”

The secret sauce of the Nimbix cloud is the JARVICE container runtime. “The native execution model for JARVICE is containers running on bare metal, so there are no virtual machines,” says Reiter. “There are containers but these are custom-built containers, not Docker. There was too much overhead and complexity and performance loss with getting Docker to run, especially for tightly-coupled, high performance workloads, so we designed our container technology from the ground up, and [with our PushtoCompute technology] we accept ordinary Docker containers as input and convert them on the fly to run natively on the JARVICE platform.”

Asked if they would ever productize JARVICE outside of the Nimbix cloud, Reiter said they are happy to discuss that with anyone who is interested but do not have an immediate play to offer it as an off-the-shelf software product. That said, Nimbix does have select datacenter customers who are trying out the software.

Nimbix’s specialty is enabling turnkey cloud via a software-as-a-service delivery model. It’s not for the user looking to spin up virtual clouds.

“IaaS public cloud is fine for dev-tests of single machine instances,” says Reiter. “Sometimes you want to test out some code and see if it works and that’s great. But when we’re talking about deploying tightly-coupled workflows at scale, deploying the software and tuning the software is extremely complicated.”

“What customers enjoy on Nimbix is they look for the workflow they want to run, they click on it, they specify whatever parameters are relevant to that workflow and they click submit and then their data comes back processed the way they want it to without having to care about ‘How am I going to scale this? How am I going to install it? Am I running the right version? Do I have the right libraries installed?’ JARVICE takes care of all of that – and it’s extensible through technologies like PushtoCompute to enable the onboarding of more and more functionality.”

Every machine in the Nimbix cloud is InfiniBand connected via a Mellanox EDR InfiniBand spine and FDR InfiniBand to the compute nodes. JARVICE also employs distributed block storage and distributed storage over InfiniBand, plus 20GB Ethernet (bonded 10GB) for accessing the internet.

Nimbix expects to have customers using the Minsky platform publicly by the end of this month and prior to that will be conducting benchmarking tests with early-access customers. Initially, demand will likely outstrip availability, and Nimbix says it’s already planning the next step of the expansion, essentially taking orders as soon as IBM can ship.

“The line is there and it’s only going to get bigger,” observes Reiter. “We’re excited to be able service these customers and position ourselves to service more in the future.”

Pricing has not yet been disclosed, but Minsky will be offered in single-GPU and quad-GPU units – via subscription or pay-as-you-go.

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!

At GTC: Nvidia Expands Scope of Its AI and Datacenter Ecosystem

March 19, 2019

In the high-stakes race to provide the AI life-cycle solution of choice, three of the biggest horses in the field are IBM, Intel and Nvidia. While the latter is only a fraction of the size of its two bigger rivals, and h Read more…

By Doug Black

AWS to Offer Nvidia’s T4 GPUs for AI Inferencing

March 19, 2019

The AI inference market is booming, prompting well-known hyperscaler and Nvidia partner Amazon Web Services to offer a new cloud instance that addresses the growing cost of scaling inference. The new “G4” instances... Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Debuts Clara AI Toolkit with Pre-Trained Models for Radiology Use

March 19, 2019

AI’s push into healthcare got a boost yesterday with Nvidia’s release of the Clara Deploy AI toolkit which includes 13 pre-trained models for use in radiology. Clara, you may recall, is Nvidia’s biomedical platform 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

The Spark That Ignited A New World of Real-Time Analytics

High Performance Computing has always been about Big Data. It’s not uncommon for research datasets to contain millions of files and many terabytes, even petabytes of data, or more. Read more…

DARPA, NSF Seek Real-Time ML Processor

March 18, 2019

A new U.S. research initiative seeks to develop a processor capable of real-time learning while operating with the “efficiency of the human brain.” The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency jointly announced a “Real Time Machine Learning” project on March 15 soliciting industry proposals for “foundational breakthroughs” in hardware required to “build systems that respond and adapt in real time.” Read more…

By George Leopold

At GTC: Nvidia Expands Scope of Its AI and Datacenter Ecosystem

March 19, 2019

In the high-stakes race to provide the AI life-cycle solution of choice, three of the biggest horses in the field are IBM, Intel and Nvidia. While the latter is Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Debuts Clara AI Toolkit with Pre-Trained Models for Radiology Use

March 19, 2019

AI’s push into healthcare got a boost yesterday with Nvidia’s release of the Clara Deploy AI toolkit which includes 13 pre-trained models for use in radiolo Read more…

By John Russell

It’s Official: Aurora on Track to Be First U.S. 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

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

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

Quick Take: Trump’s 2020 Budget Spares DoE-funded HPC but Slams NSF and NIH

March 12, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget request, released yesterday, proposes deep cuts in many science programs but seems to spare HPC funding by the Depar Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Wins Mellanox Stakes for $6.9 Billion

March 11, 2019

The long-rumored acquisition of Mellanox came to fruition this morning with GPU chipmaker Nvidia’s announcement that it has purchased the high-performance net Read more…

By Doug Black

Optalysys Rolls Commercial Optical Processor

March 7, 2019

Optalysys, Ltd., a U.K. company seeking to advance it optical co-processor technology, moved a step closer this week with the unveiling of what it claims is th Read more…

By George Leopold

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

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

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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 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

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

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

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

Move Over Lustre & Spectrum Scale – Here Comes BeeGFS?

November 26, 2018

Is BeeGFS – the parallel file system with European roots – on a path to compete with Lustre and Spectrum Scale worldwide in HPC environments? Frank Herold Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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