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!

University of Chicago Researchers Generate First Computational Model of Entire SARS-CoV-2 Virus

January 15, 2021

Over the course of the last year, many detailed computational models of SARS-CoV-2 have been produced with the help of supercomputers, but those models have largely focused on critical elements of the virus, such as its Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Pat Gelsinger Returns to Intel as CEO

January 14, 2021

The Intel board of directors has appointed a new CEO. Intel alum Pat Gelsinger is leaving his post as CEO of VMware to rejoin the company that he parted ways with 11 years ago. Gelsinger will succeed Bob Swan, who will remain CEO until Feb. 15. Gelsinger previously spent 30 years... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Roar Supercomputer to Support Naval Aircraft Research

January 14, 2021

One might not think “aircraft” when picturing the U.S. Navy, but the military branch actually has thousands of aircraft currently in service – and now, supercomputing will help future naval aircraft operate faster, Read more…

By Staff report

DOE and NOAA Extend Computing Partnership, Plan for New Supercomputer

January 14, 2021

The National Climate-Computing Research Center (NCRC), hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has been supporting the climate research of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the last 1 Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using Micro-Combs, Researchers Demonstrate World’s Fastest Optical Neuromorphic Processor for AI

January 13, 2021

Neuromorphic computing, which uses chips that mimic the behavior of the human brain using virtual “neurons,” is growing in popularity thanks to high-profile efforts from Intel and others. Now, a team of researchers l Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

Now Available – Amazon EC2 C6gn Instances with 100 Gbps Networking

Amazon EC2 C6gn instances powered by AWS Graviton2 processors are now available!

Compared to C6g instances, this new instance type provides 4x higher network bandwidth, 4x higher packet processing performance, and 2x higher EBS bandwidth. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Intel Keynote Address

Intel is the foundation of HPC – from the workstation to the cloud to the backbone of the Top500. At SC20, Intel’s Trish Damkroger, VP and GM of high performance computing, addresses the audience to show how Intel and its partners are building the future of HPC today, through hardware and software technologies that accelerate the broad deployment of advanced HPC systems. Read more…

Honing In on AI, US Launches National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office

January 13, 2021

To drive American leadership in the field of AI into the future, the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office has been launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The new agen Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

Pat Gelsinger Returns to Intel as CEO

January 14, 2021

The Intel board of directors has appointed a new CEO. Intel alum Pat Gelsinger is leaving his post as CEO of VMware to rejoin the company that he parted ways with 11 years ago. Gelsinger will succeed Bob Swan, who will remain CEO until Feb. 15. Gelsinger previously spent 30 years... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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…

By John Russell

Intel ‘Ice Lake’ Server Chips in Production, Set for Volume Ramp This Quarter

January 12, 2021

Intel Corp. used this week’s virtual CES 2021 event to reassert its dominance of the datacenter with the formal roll out of its next-generation server chip, the 10nm Xeon Scalable processor that targets AI and HPC workloads. The third-generation “Ice Lake” family... Read more…

By George Leopold

Researchers Say It Won’t Be Possible to Control Superintelligent AI

January 11, 2021

Worries about out-of-control AI aren’t new. Many prominent figures have suggested caution when unleashing AI. One quote that keeps cropping up is (roughly) th Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Files Patent on New GPU Chiplet Approach

January 5, 2021

Advanced Micro Devices is accelerating the GPU chiplet race with the release of a U.S. patent application for a device that incorporates high-bandwidth intercon Read more…

By George Leopold

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

By Tracey Bryant

Intel Touts Optane Performance, Teases Next-gen “Crow Pass”

January 5, 2021

Competition to leverage new memory and storage hardware with new or improved software to create better storage/memory schemes has steadily gathered steam during Read more…

By John Russell

Farewell 2020: Bleak, Yes. But a Lot of Good Happened Too

December 30, 2020

Here on the cusp of the new year, the catchphrase ‘2020 hindsight’ has a distinctly different feel. Good riddance, yes. But also proof of science’s power Read more…

By John Russell

Esperanto Unveils ML Chip with Nearly 1,100 RISC-V Cores

December 8, 2020

At the RISC-V Summit today, Art Swift, CEO of Esperanto Technologies, announced a new, RISC-V based chip aimed at machine learning and containing nearly 1,100 low-power cores based on the open-source RISC-V architecture. Esperanto Technologies, headquartered in... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Azure Scaled to Record 86,400 Cores for Molecular Dynamics

November 20, 2020

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure. Led by Dr. Jer-Ming Chia, the cloud provider partnered with the Beckman I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

NICS Unleashes ‘Kraken’ Supercomputer

April 4, 2008

A Cray XT4 supercomputer, dubbed Kraken, is scheduled to come online in mid-summer at the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS). The soon-to-be petascale system, and the resulting NICS organization, are the result of an NSF Track II award of $65 million to the University of Tennessee and its partners to provide next-generation supercomputing for the nation's science community. Read more…

Is the Nvidia A100 GPU Performance Worth a Hardware Upgrade?

October 16, 2020

Over the last decade, accelerators have seen an increasing rate of adoption in high-performance computing (HPC) platforms, and in the June 2020 Top500 list, eig Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt, Ahmad Abdelfattah and Jack Dongarra

Aurora’s Troubles Move Frontier into Pole Exascale Position

October 1, 2020

Intel’s 7nm node delay has raised questions about the status of the Aurora supercomputer that was scheduled to be stood up at Argonne National Laboratory next year. Aurora was in the running to be the United States’ first exascale supercomputer although it was on a contemporaneous timeline with... 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

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

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…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

By Tracey Bryant

Top500: Fugaku Keeps Crown, Nvidia’s Selene Climbs to #5

November 16, 2020

With the publication of the 56th Top500 list today from SC20's virtual proceedings, Japan's Fugaku supercomputer – now fully deployed – notches another win, 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

Texas A&M Announces Flagship ‘Grace’ Supercomputer

November 9, 2020

Texas A&M University has announced its next flagship system: Grace. The new supercomputer, named for legendary programming pioneer Grace Hopper, is replacing the Ada system (itself named for mathematician Ada Lovelace) as the primary workhorse for Texas A&M’s High Performance Research Computing (HPRC). Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

At Oak Ridge, ‘End of Life’ Sometimes Isn’t

October 31, 2020

Sometimes, the old dog actually does go live on a farm. HPC systems are often cursed with short lifespans, as they are continually supplanted by the latest and Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia and EuroHPC Team for Four Supercomputers, Including Massive ‘Leonardo’ System

October 15, 2020

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU) serves as Europe’s concerted supercomputing play, currently comprising 32 member states and billions of euros in funding. I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to Massive SARS-CoV-2 Simulations

November 19, 2020

2020 has proven a harrowing year – but it has produced remarkable heroes. To that end, this year, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) introduced the Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia-Arm Deal a Boon for RISC-V?

October 26, 2020

The $40 billion blockbuster acquisition deal that will bring chipmaker Arm into the Nvidia corporate family could provide a boost for the competing RISC-V architecture. As regulators in the U.S., China and the European Union begin scrutinizing the impact of the blockbuster deal on semiconductor industry competition and innovation, the deal has at the very least... Read more…

By George Leopold

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