Epyc-Based Dell EMC Servers Power Physics Research at Nikhef

By Tiffany Trader

January 24, 2019

Another sign of growing traction for AMD Epyc processors, Nikhef, the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics, has expanded its datacenter with single-socket Dell EMC PowerEdge R6415 servers powered by the 32-core AMD Epyc processor. The institute, a partnership of The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and five Dutch universities (Radboud University, University of Groningen, University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University and VU University Amsterdam), is using the new hardware to support a broad array of subatomic physics-driven projects.

Experts in the fields of particle physics and astroparticle physics, the 175 scientists from Nikhef address the great physical questions of our time, pertaining to the elementary building blocks of our universe, their mutual forces and the structure of space and time. Nikhef is engaged in world-leading international projects, such as the “Large Hadron Collider” at CERN. Projects like these generate huge amounts of raw data, requiring enormous computing power to analyze.

Commenting in a statement today, Tristan Suerink, IT architect at Nikhef, said, “The data streams generated by our projects are enormous and will continue to grow in volume and complexity in the coming years. Analysis and understanding of these petabytes of data places very high demands on the computing capacity of our datacenter. In our activities, the availability of computing power is a crucial factor. It is a continuous challenge to optimize the CPU and the system design of the servers in our datacenter. This is why we are always looking for the most efficient computing power with the best ratio of performance and budget.”

Dell EMC PowerEdge R6415

Nikhef, working with its vendor partner, has had access to a test unit and liked the price-performance ratio offered by the single-socket Epyc servers, which Dell EMC reports can be 20 percent more efficient than dual socket systems.

“The innovative design of the Dell EMC PowerEdge R6415 servers with the AMD Epyc processor fits perfectly with our needs,” added Suerink, “The combination of the powerful AMD Eypc processors and the excellent support from Dell EMC offers the pure computing power that our scientists expect. In this way, we can further strengthen our international position.”

Featuring a large 1U single-socket configuration and configuration capability, the Dell EMC PowerEdge R6415 platform offers ultra-dense and scale-out processing capabilities. Features include: storage performance with up to 10 NVMe drives; up to 2 terabytes of memory and 128 PCIe lanes. The current entry list price for the R6415 is $1,943.78 (down from $2,179.00 at launch).

When the 14th generation Eypc-based PowerEdge servers were launched last February, Nikhef’s HPC and research team commented, “The Dell EMC servers with AMD’s new Epyc processor have proven to be excellent for multi-core applications. Performance scales out very nicely for parallel code as well as OpenMP-based code. With the availability of the massive amount of PCI-e lanes, these servers provide us with a lot more storage and network throughput per socket. Also, the fact that the new Epyc processor contains hardware support for both AES encryption and SHA-2 encoding makes it a good candidate for hosting VPN services.”

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