Fujitsu Launches M12 Servers; Emphasizes Commitment to SPARC

By John Russell

April 4, 2017

Delivering on their promised SPARC roadmap, Fujitsu and Oracle today introduced two new servers – the M12-2 and M12-2S – featuring the new SPARC64 XII chip announced last year and a new hybrid liquid/vapor cooling system. The new servers, says Fujitsu, “achieve the world’s highest per CPU core performance in arithmetic processing, offering dramatic improvements for a wide range of database workloads, from mission-critical systems on premises to big data processing in the cloud.”

A big part of the intended message here is that Fujitsu’s commitment to the SPARC ecosystem remains strong. “We feel this is a good empirical marker to show we are continuing to invest in the SPARC platform. This is not a softball product release. These are all significant advances and represent a lot of time and effort,” said Alex Lam, vice president and head of North America strategy.

Fujitsu, of course, is a major chip supplier and systems builder. The company notably jumped from the SPARC chip, which it used in building Japan’s K computer, to ARM for the post K computer now under development as part of Japan’s Flagship 2020 Project. The latter project has experienced delay which many observers attributed to challenges adapting the ARM architecture for supercomputing (see HPCwire article, Japan’s Post-K Computer Hits 1-2 Year Speed Bump). In any case, delivering on its SPARC roadmap may reassure the SPARC camp, including a large Oracle customer base, that Fujitsu isn’t planning to walk away from them.

Fujitsu M12 Servers

Akira Kabemoto, Fujitsu senior vice president, is quoted in the official release saying, “In addition to the Fujitsu SPARC M12, which is a result of close collaboration between Fujitsu and Oracle, Fujitsu will continue to develop cutting-edge technology that contributes to the creation of new value and supports customers in expanding their businesses.”

The M12-2 and M12-2S replace the M10 top-of-the-line servers and are aimed primarily at enterprise applications. That said, Fujitsu also sees opportunity for the new offerings in deep learning applications, according to Lam.

It’s probably worth noting that SPARC technology is not widely used in traditional HPC today.

“The HPC industry was at one point dominated by RISC processors, but x86 took over in the Beowulf cluster revolution. IBM POWER is the most noteworthy RISC processor still in the market, followed by SPARC systems from Fujitsu. Most of the original volume of SPARC came from Sun Microsystems, but Oracle (which acquired Sun) rarely sells HPC systems. With a new SPARC server, Fujitsu can continue to serve its existing customer base, but it is difficult to recapture market share from x86. IBM has at least addressed one major hurdle by making POWER “endian” compatible with x86 in data handling, which makes the migration easier,” noted Addison Snell, CEO, Intersect360 Research

Given the blurring of lines between traditional HPC and data-driven computing with deep learning as a centerpiece, perhaps SPARC may find room to grow amid a frothy landscape of alternative processors all seeking inroads.

Among improvements to the new servers are increased clock rates – 4.25 GHz in the M12-2S and 3.9GHz in the M12-2 – which contribute to performance gains of up to 2.5X over the M10 servers according to Lam. Combined with SPARC64’s flexible core activation the higher performance should allow reduced software licensing costs and time-to-solution. With core-level CPU activation, a minimum of just two processor cores must be activated initially. Core resources can be gradually expanded, as needed, in increments of a single core using activation keys. Benchmarks supporting Fujitsu’s “World’s highest performing core” claim are shown at the end of the article.

The M12-2S is positioned as a highly scalable platform while the M12-2S as a mid-range server. Both have core-based CPU activation, the hybrid cooling system, and Fujitsu’s Software-on-Chip instructions designed to enhance any applications such as encryption and data base acceleration Here’s a brief snapshot:

  • M12-2S. Up to 32 12-core, 4.25 GHz SPARC64 XII processors for a total of 384 cores and 3,072 threads. Main memory configurations range from 64 GB to 32 TB and support mixed DIMM capacities. Fujitsu says the M12-2S offers, “superior performance for mission-critical enterprise workloads and cloud computing. Employing proven Fujitsu supercomputer technology for highly parallel computing and an innovative cooling technology to achieve low latency access time between memory and CPU, the Fujitsu SPARC M12 servers can process large amounts of data in a short period of time.” Summary data sheet shown below.
  • M12-2. It is available in single- and dual-processor configurations that can scale to 24 cores and 192 threads. Flexible main memory configurations range from 64 GB to 2 TB and supporting mixed DIMM capacities. The server is a 4U form factor. Fujitsu says, “It is an ideal server for traditional enterprise-class workloads such as online transaction processing (OLTP), business intelligence and data warehousing (BIDW), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM), as well as new environments in cloud computing or big data processing.”


The enhanced M12 cooling system is called Vapor Liquid and Loop Cooling (or VLLC for short). It is twice as effective as the earlier liquid only system used on the M10. Think of the new system as a two chamber approach, explained Lam. The liquid flows through one, but a fraction is allowed to seep out into a second chamber where it vaporizes absorbing more heat before being returned to the main flow.

“The system’s liquid is essentially water, which is the same base liquid used in the M10. The difference in the M12 is the inclusion of a pressurized VLLC chamber which has a lower air pressure. So while water normally vaporizes at 100 degree Celsius (212 degree Fahrenheit), in the VLLC the water is able to vaporize at a much lower temperature (e.g., 50 degrees C) due to the lower air pressure,” said Lam.

“Water in the VLLC (M12) is vaporized by the heat of CPU because the air pressure in the VLLC chamber is low, whereas in the M10 there isn’t this pressurized chamber, hence the much higher boiling point of the liquid.” It a little hard to visualize but the result, said Lam, is a 2X efficiency improvement.

Both systems are available now. Pricing depends on the configuration. Lam said a base configuration of the M12-2 systems would be in the $35,000 range.

CPU Core Performance Benchmark

  • Comparison based on registered results per core in the SPECint_rate2006 and SPECfp_rate2006 benchmark tests.
  • SPECint_rate2006 performance results and measurement environment: Fujitsu SPARC M12-2S Performance result (peak): 102 per CPU core Measurement environment: SPARC64 XII (4.25GHz) x1 core, Oracle Solaris 11.3, Version 12.6 of Oracle Developer Studio
  • SPECfp_rate2006 performance results and measurement environment: Fujitsu SPARC M12-2S Performance result (peak): 102 per CPU core Measurement environment: SPARC64 XII (4.25GHz) x1 core, Oracle Solaris 11.3, Version 12.6 of Oracle Developer Studio
  • These performance results were submitted to SPEC (The Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation) on April 3, 2017.

Link to the Fujitsu press release: http://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/resources/news/press-releases/2017/0404-01.html

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!

IBM Research Scales to 11,400 Cores for EDA

August 5, 2021

For many HPC users, their needs are not evenly distributed throughout a year: some might need few – if any – resources for months, then they might need a very large system for a week. For those kinds of users, large Read more…

Careers in Cybersecurity Featured at PEARC21

August 5, 2021

The PEARC21 (Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing) Student Program featured a Cybersecurity Careers Panel. Five experts shared lessons learned from more than 100 years of combined experience. While it Read more…

HPC Career Notes: August 2021 Edition

August 4, 2021

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it’s a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we’ Read more…

The Promise (and Necessity) of Runtime Systems like Charm++ in Exascale Power Management

August 4, 2021

Big heterogeneous computer systems, especially forthcoming exascale computers, are power hungry and difficult to program effectively. This is, of course, not an unrecognized problem. In a recent blog, Charmworks’ CEO S Read more…

Digging into the Atos-Nimbix Deal: Big US HPC and Global Cloud Aspirations. Look out HPE?

August 2, 2021

Behind Atos’s deal announced last week to acquire HPC-cloud specialist Nimbix are ramped-up plans to penetrate the U.S. HPC market and global expansion of its HPC cloud capabilities. Nimbix will become “an Atos HPC c Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Pushing pixels, not data with NICE DCV

NICE DCV, our high-performance, low-latency remote-display protocol, was originally created for scientists and engineers who ran large workloads on far-away supercomputers, but needed to visualize data without moving it. Read more…

Berkeley Lab Makes Strides in Autonomous Discovery to Tackle the Data Deluge

August 2, 2021

Data production is outpacing the human capacity to process said data. Whether a giant radio telescope, a new particle accelerator or lidar data from autonomous cars, the sheer scale of the data generated is increasingly Read more…

Careers in Cybersecurity Featured at PEARC21

August 5, 2021

The PEARC21 (Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing) Student Program featured a Cybersecurity Careers Panel. Five experts shared lessons learn Read more…

Digging into the Atos-Nimbix Deal: Big US HPC and Global Cloud Aspirations. Look out HPE?

August 2, 2021

Behind Atos’s deal announced last week to acquire HPC-cloud specialist Nimbix are ramped-up plans to penetrate the U.S. HPC market and global expansion of its Read more…

What’s After Exascale? The Internet of Workflows Says HPE’s Nicolas Dubé

July 29, 2021

With the race to exascale computing in its final leg, it’s natural to wonder what the Post Exascale Era will look like. Nicolas Dubé, VP and chief technologist for HPE’s HPC business unit, agrees and shared his vision at Supercomputing Frontiers Europe 2021 held last week. The next big thing, he told the virtual audience at SFE21, is something that will connect HPC and (broadly) all of IT – into what Dubé calls The Internet of Workflows. Read more…

How UK Scientists Developed Transformative, HPC-Powered Coronavirus Sequencing System

July 29, 2021

In November 2020, the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) won the HPCwire Readers’ Choice Award for Best HPC Collaboration for its CLIMB-COVID sequencing project. Launched in March 2020, CLIMB-COVID has now resulted in the sequencing of over 675,000 coronavirus genomes – an increasingly critical task as variants like Delta threaten the tenuous prospect of a return to normalcy in much of the world. Read more…

IBM and University of Tokyo Roll Out Quantum System One in Japan

July 27, 2021

IBM and the University of Tokyo today unveiled an IBM Quantum System One as part of the IBM-Japan quantum program announced in 2019. The system is the second IB Read more…

Intel Unveils New Node Names; Sapphire Rapids Is Now an ‘Intel 7’ CPU

July 27, 2021

What's a preeminent chip company to do when its process node technology lags the competition by (roughly) one generation, but outmoded naming conventions make it seem like it's two nodes behind? For Intel, the response was to change how it refers to its nodes with the aim of better reflecting its positioning within the leadership semiconductor manufacturing space. Intel revealed its new node nomenclature, and... Read more…

Will Approximation Drive Post-Moore’s Law HPC Gains?

July 26, 2021

“Hardware-based improvements are going to get more and more difficult,” said Neil Thompson, an innovation scholar at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). “I think that’s something that this crowd will probably, actually, be already familiar with.” Thompson, speaking... Read more…

With New Owner and New Roadmap, an Independent Omni-Path Is Staging a Comeback

July 23, 2021

Put on a shelf by Intel in 2019, Omni-Path faced a uncertain future, but under new custodian Cornelis Networks, OmniPath is looking to make a comeback as an independent high-performance interconnect solution. A "significant refresh" – called Omni-Path Express – is coming later this year according to the company. Cornelis Networks formed last September as a spinout of Intel's Omni-Path division. Read more…

AMD Chipmaker TSMC to Use AMD Chips for Chipmaking

May 8, 2021

TSMC has tapped AMD to support its major manufacturing and R&D workloads. AMD will provide its Epyc Rome 7702P CPUs – with 64 cores operating at a base cl Read more…

Berkeley Lab Debuts Perlmutter, World’s Fastest AI Supercomputer

May 27, 2021

A ribbon-cutting ceremony held virtually at Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) today marked the official launch of Perlmutter – aka NERSC-9 – the GPU-accelerated supercomputer built by HPE in partnership with Nvidia and AMD. Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer called Dojo to process truly vast amounts of video data. It’s a beast! … A truly useful exaflop at de facto FP32.” Read more…

Google Launches TPU v4 AI Chips

May 20, 2021

Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke for only one minute and 42 seconds about the company’s latest TPU v4 Tensor Processing Units during his keynote at the Google I Read more…

CentOS Replacement Rocky Linux Is Now in GA and Under Independent Control

June 21, 2021

The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) is announcing the general availability of Rocky Linux, release 8.4, designed as a drop-in replacement for the soon-to-be discontinued CentOS. The GA release is launching six-and-a-half months after Red Hat deprecated its support for the widely popular, free CentOS server operating system. The Rocky Linux development effort... Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

Iran Gains HPC Capabilities with Launch of ‘Simorgh’ Supercomputer

May 18, 2021

Iran is said to be developing domestic supercomputing technology to advance the processing of scientific, economic, political and military data, and to strengthen the nation’s position in the age of AI and big data. On Sunday, Iran unveiled the Simorgh supercomputer, which will deliver.... Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

AMD-Xilinx Deal Gains UK, EU Approvals — China’s Decision Still Pending

July 1, 2021

AMD’s planned acquisition of FPGA maker Xilinx is now in the hands of Chinese regulators after needed antitrust approvals for the $35 billion deal were receiv Read more…

GTC21: Nvidia Launches cuQuantum; Dips a Toe in Quantum Computing

April 13, 2021

Yesterday Nvidia officially dipped a toe into quantum computing with the launch of cuQuantum SDK, a development platform for simulating quantum circuits on GPU-accelerated systems. As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang emphasized in his keynote, Nvidia doesn’t plan to build... Read more…

Microsoft to Provide World’s Most Powerful Weather & Climate Supercomputer for UK’s Met Office

April 22, 2021

More than 14 months ago, the UK government announced plans to invest £1.2 billion ($1.56 billion) into weather and climate supercomputing, including procuremen Read more…

Quantum Roundup: IBM, Rigetti, Phasecraft, Oxford QC, China, and More

July 13, 2021

IBM yesterday announced a proof for a quantum ML algorithm. A week ago, it unveiled a new topology for its quantum processors. Last Friday, the Technical Univer Read more…

Q&A with Jim Keller, CTO of Tenstorrent, and an HPCwire Person to Watch in 2021

April 22, 2021

As part of our HPCwire Person to Watch series, we are happy to present our interview with Jim Keller, president and chief technology officer of Tenstorrent. One of the top chip architects of our time, Keller has had an impactful career. Read more…

Frontier to Meet 20MW Exascale Power Target Set by DARPA in 2008

July 14, 2021

After more than a decade of planning, the United States’ first exascale computer, Frontier, is set to arrive at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) later this year. Crossing this “1,000x” horizon required overcoming four major challenges: power demand, reliability, extreme parallelism and data movement. Read more…

Senate Debate on Bill to Remake NSF – the Endless Frontier Act – Begins

May 18, 2021

The U.S. Senate today opened floor debate on the Endless Frontier Act which seeks to remake and expand the National Science Foundation by creating a technology Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire