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!

Global QC Market Projected to Grow to More Than $800 million by 2024

September 28, 2020

The Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C) and Hyperion Research are projecting that the global quantum computing (QC) market - worth an estimated $320 million in 2020 - will grow at an anticipated 27% CAGR betw Read more…

By Staff Reports

DoE’s ASCAC Backs AI for Science Program that Emulates the Exascale Initiative

September 28, 2020

Roughly a year after beginning formal efforts to explore an AI for Science initiative the Department of Energy’s Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee last week accepted a subcommittee report calling for a t Read more…

By John Russell

Supercomputer Research Aims to Supercharge COVID-19 Antiviral Remdesivir

September 25, 2020

Remdesivir is one of a handful of therapeutic antiviral drugs that have been proven to improve outcomes for COVID-19 patients, and as such, is a crucial weapon in the fight against the pandemic – especially in the abse Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

NOAA Announces Major Upgrade to Ensemble Forecast Model, Extends Range to 35 Days

September 23, 2020

A bit over a year ago, the United States’ Global Forecast System (GFS) received a major upgrade: a new dynamical core – its first in 40 years – called the finite-volume cubed-sphere, or FV3. Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is bringing the FV3 dynamical core to... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AI Silicon Startup Graphcore Launches Channel Partner Program

September 23, 2020

AI compute platform vendor Graphcore has launched its first formal global channel partner program to promote and boost the sales of its AI processors and blade computing products. The formalized, all-new Graphcore Elite Partner Program follows the company’s past history of working with several... Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

AWS Solution Channel

The Water Institute of the Gulf runs compute-heavy storm surge and wave simulations on AWS

The Water Institute of the Gulf (Water Institute) runs its storm surge and wave analysis models on Amazon Web Services (AWS)—a task that sometimes requires large bursts of compute power. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Berlin Institute of Health: Putting HPC to Work for the World

Researchers from the Center for Digital Health at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) are using science to understand the pathophysiology of COVID-19, which can help to inform the development of targeted treatments. Read more…

Arm Targets HPC with New Neoverse Platforms

September 22, 2020

UK-based semiconductor design company Arm today teased details of its Neoverse roadmap, introducing V1 (codenamed Zeus) and N2 (codenamed Perseus), Arm’s second generation N-series platform. The chip IP vendor said the new platforms will deliver 50 percent and 40 percent more... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DoE’s ASCAC Backs AI for Science Program that Emulates the Exascale Initiative

September 28, 2020

Roughly a year after beginning formal efforts to explore an AI for Science initiative the Department of Energy’s Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Commit Read more…

By John Russell

NOAA Announces Major Upgrade to Ensemble Forecast Model, Extends Range to 35 Days

September 23, 2020

A bit over a year ago, the United States’ Global Forecast System (GFS) received a major upgrade: a new dynamical core – its first in 40 years – called the finite-volume cubed-sphere, or FV3. Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is bringing the FV3 dynamical core to... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Arm Targets HPC with New Neoverse Platforms

September 22, 2020

UK-based semiconductor design company Arm today teased details of its Neoverse roadmap, introducing V1 (codenamed Zeus) and N2 (codenamed Perseus), Arm’s second generation N-series platform. The chip IP vendor said the new platforms will deliver 50 percent and 40 percent more... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Oracle Cloud Deepens HPC Embrace with Launch of A100 Instances, Plans for Arm, More 

September 22, 2020

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) continued its steady ramp-up of HPC capabilities today with a flurry of announcements. Topping the list is general availabilit Read more…

By John Russell

European Commission Declares €8 Billion Investment in Supercomputing

September 18, 2020

Just under two years ago, the European Commission formalized the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU): a concerted HPC effort (comprising 32 participating states at c Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Google Hires Longtime Intel Exec Bill Magro to Lead HPC Strategy

September 18, 2020

In a sign of the times, another prominent HPCer has made a move to a hyperscaler. Longtime Intel executive Bill Magro joined Google as chief technologist for hi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Future of Fintech on Display at HPC + AI Wall Street

September 17, 2020

Those who tuned in for Tuesday's HPC + AI Wall Street event got a peak at the future of fintech and lively discussion of topics like blockchain, AI for risk man Read more…

By Alex Woodie, Tiffany Trader and Todd R. Weiss

IBM’s Quantum Race to One Million Qubits

September 15, 2020

IBM today outlined its ambitious quantum computing technology roadmap at its virtual Quantum Summit. The eye-popping million qubit number is still far out, agrees IBM, but perhaps not that far out. Just as eye-popping is IBM’s nearer-term plan for a 1,000-plus qubit system named Condor... Read more…

By John Russell

Supercomputer-Powered Research Uncovers Signs of ‘Bradykinin Storm’ That May Explain COVID-19 Symptoms

July 28, 2020

Doctors and medical researchers have struggled to pinpoint – let alone explain – the deluge of symptoms induced by COVID-19 infections in patients, and what Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia Said to Be Close on Arm Deal

August 3, 2020

GPU leader Nvidia Corp. is in talks to buy U.K. chip designer Arm from parent company Softbank, according to several reports over the weekend. If consummated Read more…

By George Leopold

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…

By Doug Black

Intel’s 7nm Slip Raises Questions About Ponte Vecchio GPU, Aurora Supercomputer

July 30, 2020

During its second-quarter earnings call, Intel announced a one-year delay of its 7nm process technology, which it says it will create an approximate six-month shift for its CPU product timing relative to prior expectations. The primary issue is a defect mode in the 7nm process that resulted in yield degradation... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Hires Longtime Intel Exec Bill Magro to Lead HPC Strategy

September 18, 2020

In a sign of the times, another prominent HPCer has made a move to a hyperscaler. Longtime Intel executive Bill Magro joined Google as chief technologist for hi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Keeps Cray Brand Promise, Reveals HPE Cray Supercomputing Line

August 4, 2020

The HPC community, ever-affectionate toward Cray and its eponymous founder, can breathe a (virtual) sigh of relief. The Cray brand will live on, encompassing th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Neocortex Will Be First-of-Its-Kind 800,000-Core AI Supercomputer

June 9, 2020

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC - a joint research organization of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) has won a $5 million award Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

European Commission Declares €8 Billion Investment in Supercomputing

September 18, 2020

Just under two years ago, the European Commission formalized the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU): a concerted HPC effort (comprising 32 participating states at c Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Powers Fugaku’s Storage, Scores IO500 Win

August 28, 2020

In June, RIKEN shook the supercomputing world with its Arm-based, Fujitsu-built juggernaut: Fugaku. The system, which weighs in at 415.5 Linpack petaflops, topp Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Google Cloud Debuts 16-GPU Ampere A100 Instances

July 7, 2020

On the heels of the Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU launch in May, Google Cloud is announcing alpha availability of the A100 “Accelerator Optimized” VM A2 instance family on Google Compute Engine. The instances are powered by the HGX A100 16-GPU platform, which combines two HGX A100 8-GPU baseboards using... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DOD Orders Two AI-Focused Supercomputers from Liqid

August 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense is making a big investment in data analytics and AI computing with the procurement of two HPC systems that will provide the High Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Microsoft Azure Adds A100 GPU Instances for ‘Supercomputer-Class AI’ in the Cloud

August 19, 2020

Microsoft Azure continues to infuse its cloud platform with HPC- and AI-directed technologies. Today the cloud services purveyor announced a new virtual machine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan’s Fugaku Tops Global Supercomputing Rankings

June 22, 2020

A new Top500 champ was unveiled today. Supercomputer Fugaku, the pride of Japan and the namesake of Mount Fuji, vaulted to the top of the 55th edition of the To Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Joliot-Curie Supercomputer Used to Build First Full, High-Fidelity Aircraft Engine Simulation

July 14, 2020

When industrial designers plan the design of a new element of a vehicle’s propulsion or exterior, they typically use fluid dynamics to optimize airflow and in Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Intel Speeds NAMD by 1.8x: Saves Xeon Processor Users Millions of Compute Hours

August 12, 2020

Potentially saving datacenters millions of CPU node hours, Intel and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC) have collaborated to develop AVX-512 optimizations for the NAMD scalable molecular dynamics code. These optimizations will be incorporated into release 2.15 with patches available for earlier versions. Read more…

By Rob Farber

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