Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

By Tiffany Trader

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 partner Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Germany. The servers are designed to operate using warm water, up to 45°C for general deployments and for special bid projects up to 50°C, lowering datacenter power consumption 30-40 percent compared to traditional cooling methods, according to Lenovo.

Nearly 6,500 of the ThinkSystems SD650s featuring Intel Xeon Platinum (Skylake) processors interconnected with Intel Omni-Path Architecture will be put into production at LRZ this year, providing the supercomputing center with 26.7 petaflops of peak performance, housed in a little over 100 racks.

The SuperMUC-NG supercomputer will be deployed with Lenovo’s new Lenovo Intelligent Computing Orchestrator (LiCO) and the Lenovo Energy Aware Runtime (EAR) software, a technology that dynamically optimizes system infrastructure power while applications are running.

Lenovo’s Scott Tease holding a ThinkSystem SD650 server

“Pretty much all the investments that we made to get to exascale LRZ is taking advantage of in this bid we won with them,” said Scott Tease, executive director, HPC and AI at Lenovo in an on-site briefing at Lenovo’s headquarters in Morrisville, North Carolina, last week. “We will start building systems and start shipping them in March; the floor will be ready by the end of April, and move-in starts in early May. We’ll be ready to do acceptance in September with final customer acceptance in November.”

The direct-water cooled design of the SD650 enables 85-90 percent heat recovery; the rest can easily be managed by a standard computer room air conditioner. The hot water coming off the servers can be recycled to warm buildings in the winter, as LRZ does with its petascale SuperMUC cluster, but the technology developed by Lenovo for SuperMUC-NG actually transforms that heat energy back into cooling for networking and storage components.

The endothermic magic trick only works with “high quality heat,” Lenovo thermal engineer Vinod Kamath told us, so LRZ’s SD650 servers were designed to be able to consume 50°C inlet temperatures. Water is piped out of the servers at 58-60°C depending on workload and sent through an adsorption chiller, where it is converted to chilled 20°C water suitable for cooling storage and networking components.

If you’re using chilled water to cool servers you can’t really take advantage of the economics of the adsorption chiller. With 60°C inlet water, the efficiency of Lenovo’s adsorption chiller is about 60 percent. If your energy source has a higher temperature, say 80-90°C then the extraction is even more efficient, but 60°C is good enough to realize significant savings.

Adsorption chilling will be applied to half the nodes of the next-gen LRZ install, generating about 600 kilowatts of chilled water capacity. This translates into more than 100,000 Euros a year in saved energy cost at the European site, where the rate for energy is about 16-18 Eurocents per kilowatt-hour (roughly 2-3 times the cost for similar sites in the United States). Lenovo claims a 45-50 percent energy savings with the endothermic reaction versus a traditional compressor, dropping the datacenter PUE from 1.6 to less than 1.1.

click to enlarge

The cooling solution can be traced back to 2012, when IBM (Lenovo acquired IBM’s x86 server business in 2014) was approached by LRZ to develop a system that was both powerful and extremely energy efficient. The first production implementation to come out of the partnership was the 9,200 node SuperMUC at LRZ, that achieved a number four ranking on the June 2012 Top500 list. The custom motherboard, developed with Intel, was cooled by water piped over compute and memory and back out of the system. LRZ used the hot water coming out of the system to heat parts of their building, which offset some of their overall energy costs.

The partnership also led to the deployment of the CooLMUC-2 cluster at LRZ in 2016. That system was the prototype for the next-gen LRZ cooling solution; it uses hot outlet water to drive adsorption chillers that generate refrigerated water, which is then used to cool some of the cluster’s disk storage systems.

“When we started doing this it was all about power cost,” said Tease. “It was all about datacenter optimization. Those things are still important, but we’re starting to see people recognize that water will allow them to do things that air can’t. I can do special processors that I can’t do with air; I can achieve densities that in the future I can’t do with air. We are really excited that we’ve got such a unique design, what we believe is an industry-leading design point as the market is coming to where we’ve been.”

The Lenovo ThinkSystem SD650 dual-node tray is designed for high-performance computing (HPC), large-scale cloud, and heavy simulations. One 6U NeXtScale n1200 enclosure houses up to six of these trays, accommodating a total of 12 SD650 compute nodes, 24 Intel Xeon Scalable Processors, 9.2TB of memory, 24 SFF SSDs or 12 SFF NVMe drives, and 24 M.2 boot drives.

Front view of the n1200 DWC enclosure. Source: Lenovo

The SD650 HPC servers have no system fans (except on the power supplies at the back of the rack), and operate at lower temperatures when compared to standard air-cooled systems. Chillers are not needed for most customers, which translates into further savings and a lower total cost of ownership. The new server supports high-speed EDR InfiniBand and Omni-Path fabrics as well as standard SSDs, NVMe SSDs, and M.2 boot SSDs.

In demoing the SD650, Kamath showed how the water supply comes in through the 6U NeXtScale n1200 chassis and flows into the servers. “We have a calibrated flow split between the processor and the memory to tune the heat transfer,” he said. “We recognize that networking devices are power hungry now and will be more so in the future, so the water that splits to the memory is coupled to a drive, an NVMe or SSD, and coupled to a network device, like ConnectX-5 or OPA, and then the water flows and connects back to conduction point.”

Two Lenovo ThinkSystem SD650 servers on the compute tray that provides water cooling. Source: Lenovo

Lenovo designed the system with special attention to the next-generation memory technologies. Each server has 12 DIMM slots for truDDR4 memory but there are actually 16 slots total. Four have been reserved for 3D-XPoint (also known as Apache Pass or AEP memory). The cooling system is able to extract 10 watts on standard DIMMs, and for 3D XPoint and other higher-powered memory future designs, they’ll have two water lines going through a DIMM that can consume 18 watts. Lenovo also provides a handy DIMM removal tool making it easy to swap out memory.

Lenovo has been picking up major HPC system awards in Europe since acquiring IBM’s x86 business three and a half years ago. It has the fastest supercomputer in Spain, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Australia, Canada, and soon in Germany with LRZ. It has also been making in-roads with its warm water cooling solutions. In addition to its systems at LRZ, it has warm water HPC installations at Peking University (first ever in China), India Space Administration (first ever in India), and a multi-university system in Norway.

Liquid cooling is becoming mainstream in HPC, especially in environments where constraints on space boost density requirements or in expensive energy zones. Lenovo tells customers that when it comes to electricity prices, anything over 15 cents per kilowatt hour will provide a return on investment within one year. Another benefit of removing more heat is that CPUs can run in “turbo” mode nonstop, which can squeeze an additional 10 percent performance from them.

The SD650 is managed by Lenovo Intelligent Computing Orchestrator (LiCO), a management suite with an intuitive GUI that supports management of large HPC cluster resources and accelerates development of AI applications. LiCO works with the most common AI frameworks, including TensorFlow, Caffe and Microsoft CNTK.

SD650 system architectural block diagram. Source: Lenovo
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!

Democratization of HPC Part 3: Ninth Graders Tap HPC in the Cloud to Design Flying Boats

October 18, 2018

This is the third in a series of articles demonstrating the growing acceptance of high-performance computing (HPC) in new user communities and application areas. In this article we present UberCloud use case #208 on how Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Håkon Bull Hove

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phase, on the near side of a difficult chasm to cross. In respon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Water Quality—Not Quantity—Hinders HPC Cooling

October 18, 2018

Attention has been paid to the sheer quantity of water consumed by supercomputers’ cooling towers – and rightly so, as they can require thousands of gallons per minute to cool. But in the background, another factor can emerge, bottlenecking efficiency and raising costs: water quality. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

One Small Step Toward Mars: One Giant Leap for Supercomputing

Since the days of the Space Race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, we have continually sought ways to perform experiments in space. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Paper Offers ‘Proof’ of Quantum Advantage on Some Problems

October 18, 2018

Is quantum computing worth all the effort being poured into it or should we just wait for classical computing to catch up? An IBM blog today posed those questions and, you won’t be surprised, offers a firm “it’s wo Read more…

By John Russell

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phas Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Water Quality—Not Quantity—Hinders HPC Cooling

October 18, 2018

Attention has been paid to the sheer quantity of water consumed by supercomputers’ cooling towers – and rightly so, as they can require thousands of gallons per minute to cool. But in the background, another factor can emerge, bottlenecking efficiency and raising costs: water quality. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Paper Offers ‘Proof’ of Quantum Advantage on Some Problems

October 18, 2018

Is quantum computing worth all the effort being poured into it or should we just wait for classical computing to catch up? An IBM blog today posed those questio Read more…

By John Russell

Dell EMC to Supply U Michigan’s Great Lakes Cluster

October 16, 2018

The University of Michigan (U-M) today announced Dell EMC is the lead vendor for U-M’s $4.8 million Great Lakes HPC cluster scheduled for deployment in first Read more…

By John Russell

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Platform Pushes GPUs into Machine Learning, High Performance Data Analytics

October 10, 2018

GPU leader Nvidia, generally associated with deep learning, autonomous vehicles and other higher-end enterprise and scientific workloads (and gaming, of course) Read more…

By Doug Black

Federal Investment in Exascale – What It Really Means

October 10, 2018

Earlier this month, the EuroHPC JU (Joint Undertaking) reached critical mass, and it seems all EU and affiliated member states, bar the UK (unsurprisingly), have or will sign on. The EuroHPC JU was born from a recognition that individual EU member states, and the EU as a whole, were significantly underinvesting in HPC compared to the US, China and Japan, who all have their own exascale investment and delivery strategies (NSCI, 13th 5 Year Plan, Post-K, etc). Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

NERSC-9 Clues Found in NERSC 2017 Annual Report

October 8, 2018

If you’re eager to find out who’ll supply NERSC’s next-gen supercomputer, codenamed NERSC-9, here’s a project update to tide you over until the winning bid and system details are revealed. The upcoming system is referenced several times in the recently published 2017 NERSC annual report. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

AMD’s EPYC Road to Redemption in Six Slides

June 21, 2018

A year ago AMD returned to the server market with its EPYC processor line. The earth didn’t tremble but folks took notice. People remember the Opteron fondly Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

HPC on Wall Street 2018 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Arista

Dell EMC

IBM

Intel

RStor

VMWare

D-Wave Breaks New Ground in Quantum Simulation

July 16, 2018

Last Friday D-Wave scientists and colleagues published work in Science which they say represents the first fulfillment of Richard Feynman’s 1982 notion that Read more…

By John Russell

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GPUs Power Five of World’s Top Seven Supercomputers

June 25, 2018

The top 10 echelon of the newly minted Top500 list boasts three powerful new systems with one common engine: the Nvidia Volta V100 general-purpose graphics proc Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Aerodynamic Simulation Reveals Best Position in a Peloton of Cyclists

July 5, 2018

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and KU Leuven research group conducts the largest numerical simulation ever done in the sport industry and cycling discipline. The goal was to understand the aerodynamic interactions in the peloton, i.e., the main pack of cyclists in a race. Read more…

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