Cray Debuts ClusterStor E1000 Finishing Remake of Portfolio for ‘Exascale Era’

By John Russell

October 30, 2019

Cray, now owned by HPE, today introduced the ClusterStor E1000 storage platform, which leverages Cray software and mixes hard disk drives (HDD) and flash memory (SSD) to accommodate converged HPC-AI workloads at many scales. Cray described the new system as the final step in re-architecting its product portfolio for the exascale era. Cray also didn’t miss the opportunity to tout selection of ClusterStor E1000 for use in the first three planned U.S. exascale computers (Aurora, Frontier, and El Capitan with Cray as the prime systems contractor for the latter two).

For a company whose long-term health was sometimes questioned in recent years, Cray is riding high with prior worries about its standalone viability decisively resolved by the HPE acquisition. In a press pre-briefing, Uli Plechschmidt, director of storage product marketing, said the ClusterStor E1000 completes Cray’s product refresh – joining Cray’s Shasta architecture, Slingshot interconnect technology, and updated Cray software. He also reinforced Cray’s intent to serve a larger market.

“The exascale era is not defined by the size of the systems. It’s defined by the convergence of workloads – not just classic modeling and simulation running on the supercomputers or HPC clusters, but also methods of artificial intelligence like machine learning or big data analytics, all running on one machine. Going forward we’re going to focus on artificial intelligence joining the modeling and simulation because it’s the most disruptive workload from an I/O pattern perspective,” he said.

Cray expects new dense media packaging, a newly-designed memory controller, and new software (ClusterStor Data Services) – all tightly integrated with its system architecture – to help tame the data-flow challenge. Interestingly, the new controller uses AMD’s newest Rome generation CPU.

“To handle the massive growth in data that corporations worldwide are dealing with in their digital transformations, a completely new approach to storage is required,” said Peter Ungaro, SVP & GM, HPC & AI of Cray, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. “Cray’s new storage platform is a comprehensive rethinking of what high performance storage means for the Exascale Era. The intelligent software and hardware design of ClusterStor E1000 orchestrates the data flow with the workflow – that’s something no other solution on the market can do.”

The ClusterStor E1000 is the latest addition to the ClusterStor product line, which Cray purchased from Seagate in 2017. Claiming the new system is the fastest in the world on several metrics, Plechschmidt said new dense storage media packaging could deliver up to 1.6TB/s and 50 million IOPS per solid state drive rack and up to 120 GB/s and 10 PB usable per hard disk drive base rack.

Also noteworthy, NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) will deploy the new ClusterStor E1000 on Perlmutter as its fast all flash storage tier, which will be capable of over four terabytes per second write bandwidth. “This architecture will support our diverse workloads and research disciplines,” said NERSC Director Sudip Dosanjh. “Because this file system will be the first all-NVMe file system deployed at a scale of 30 petabytes usable capacity, extensive quantitative analysis was undertaken by NERSC to determine the optimal architecture to support the workflows our researchers and scientists use across biology, environment, chemistry, nuclear physics, fusion energy, plasma physics and computing research.”

The rise of mixed workloads to support converged HPC/AI workloads is especially challenging for the storage system. As a general rule the sequential movement of large files typical of traditional modeling and simulation is reasonably well-served by less expensive hard disk drives. Conversely, the I/O management for AI (particularly training) often requires moving large numbers of small files, accessed at random, which is best handled by more expensive flash memory.

“IDC projects that even in the year 2023 there still will be an 8X price difference per gigabyte between hard disk drives and enterprise SSD. [Although] we actually think the SSD price performance improvement will go a little bit faster,” said Plechschmidt. Balancing cost-performance issue is a moving target with data management software as important as the hardware media.

Broadly, ClusterStor E1000 is a “factory engineered solution” in which users mix and match media to accommodate the specific I/O profiles of the workloads in the workflow. It can be configured three ways (list of scalable storage units (SSU) at the end of the article):

  • All Flash configuration. SSU-Fs only with up to 1.6 TB/sec (sequential read) and up to 50 million IOPS per storage rack.
  • All Disk configuration.
 SSU-Ds only with up to 120 GB/sec and up to 10 PB usable capacity per storage rack
  • Hybrid configuration.
 SSU-Fs as Flash pool and SSU-Ds as HDD pool in the same file system with ClusterStor Data Services software to orchestrate the data flow with the workflow in the most efficient way.

“The base rack contains at a minimum one 2U System Management Unit and one 2U Metadata Unit. To scale out, SSUs are added — at first filing up the remaining space in the base rack and then populating expansion racks,” according to Plechschmidt.

Here’s bit more technical detail from Cray literature:

“The new high-density enclosure will support 106 large form factor HDDs in 4 RU. Initially, the enclosure will support 4, 6, 10, 12, 14 and 16 TB HDDs followed by 20 TB and 24 TB HAMR drives respectively in the 2021 timeframe. The 2U storage controllers are using a single HDR/Slingshot NIC and 2x PCIe gen 4 SAS HBAs (16 lanes of 12 Gbit SAS) per node connecting to HDD enclosures. Initially, storage controller will support 1, 2 or 4 HDD enclosures. The HDD enclosure is designed as a fully redundant storage array with 2x SAS adapters and 2x fully configured side planes.

“As with current ClusterStor solutions, each HDD enclosure will support two disk pools (consisting of 53 drives each) configured with either GridRAID (when using LDISKFS) or ZFS…The main concept when configuring a ClusterStor E1000 solution is to combine flash and HDD based Scalable Storage Units to achieve the right balance between capacity and performance. The idea is to use Flash-based Scalable Storage Units (SSU-F) to achieve the peak performance and HDD-based Scalable Storage Units (D-SSU-x) composing the required usable storage volume. By combining these two volumes into a single namespace and using the intelligent software ClusterStor Data Services there no longer will be a need to overprovision a system to achieve performance.”

Cray’s new storage controller and software, ClusterStor Data Services, enable users to align the data flow with their specific workflows; in essence place the application data at the right time on the right storage media (SSD pool or HDD pool) in the file system.

Plechschmidt said, “ClusterStor Data services enables customers to orchestrate the data flow within the file system between the flex pool. There are three modes and we’re rolling them out in a phased approach”:

  • Scripted Tiering. Available at launch, allows power users to have total control (command line interface) over what data gets staged to what storage media and when. Cray is providing tools to help manage the process.
  • Scheduled Tiering.Expected in mid-2020, this is an automated method to promote data to flash then demote it back to HDD. “You can do it in the workload manager – a user needs to insert a couple of very simple workload manager directives and then, completely outside of the job runtime and application runtime, data gets promoted up, the job runs, and once the job completed, outside of the application runtime, the data gets demoted back to make space now for the next job.”
  • Transparent Tiering. On the roadmap for the first half of 2021, transparent tiering won’t require user input. It’s completely transparent and to the user, said Plechschmidt, although presumably some level of control will be possible.

For connectivity, it’s no surprise that ClusterStor E1000 has 200 Gbps Slingshot switches on top of the rack. Cray also provides 100/200 Gbps Ethernet and InfiniBand EDR/HDR connectivity. Lustre is the embedded file system.

“We have chosen to continue to embed Lustre because it simply is the highest-performance lowest-cost parallel file system for HPC and we’re hardening that for reliability at exascale,” said Plechschmidt, emphasizing the new platform is flexible and able to “embed other file systems or emerging file systems in the future [but] we are convinced that Lustre is the right file system for the foreseeable future.”

Entry configurations of Cray ClusterStor E1000 will start at around $200,000 including three years of basic customer support. “The first early access systems are planned to ship to customers in December 2019. First customer shipment for production systems is planned for Q1 CY2020 with full production availability planned for Q2 calendar year 2020,” said Plechschmidt.

 

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!

The Present and Future of AI: A Discussion with HPC Visionary Dr. Eng Lim Goh

November 27, 2020

As HPE’s chief technology officer for artificial intelligence, Dr. Eng Lim Goh devotes much of his time talking and consulting with enterprise customers about how AI can benefit their business operations and products. Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

SC20 Panel – OK, You Hate Storage Tiering. What’s Next Then?

November 25, 2020

Tiering in HPC storage has a bad rep. No one likes it. It complicates things and slows I/O. At least one storage technology newcomer – VAST Data – advocates dumping the whole idea. One large-scale user, NERSC storage architect Glenn Lockwood sort of agrees. The challenge, of course, is that tiering... Read more…

By John Russell

Exscalate4CoV Runs 70 Billion-Molecule Coronavirus Simulation

November 25, 2020

The winds of the pandemic are changing – for better and for worse. Three viable vaccines now teeter on the brink of regulatory approval, which will pave the way for broad distribution by April or May. But until then, COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing across the U.S. and Europe... 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 Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the Universi 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 Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Ba Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

Introducing AWS ParallelCluster as an Intel Select Solution

High performance computing (HPC) system owners can spend weeks or months researching, procuring, and assembling components to build HPC clusters to run their workloads. Understanding and managing the complexities of compute, storage, networking, and software requirements can be confusing and time-consuming, slowing innovation and results. 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…

Gordon Bell Prize Winner Breaks Ground in AI-Infused Ab Initio Simulation

November 19, 2020

The race to blend deep learning and first-principle simulation to speed up solutions and scale up problems tackled is one of the most exciting research areas in computational science today. This year’s ACM Gordon Bell Prize winner announced today at SC20 makes significant progress in that direction. Read more…

By John Russell

The Present and Future of AI: A Discussion with HPC Visionary Dr. Eng Lim Goh

November 27, 2020

As HPE’s chief technology officer for artificial intelligence, Dr. Eng Lim Goh devotes much of his time talking and consulting with enterprise customers about Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

SC20 Panel – OK, You Hate Storage Tiering. What’s Next Then?

November 25, 2020

Tiering in HPC storage has a bad rep. No one likes it. It complicates things and slows I/O. At least one storage technology newcomer – VAST Data – advocates dumping the whole idea. One large-scale user, NERSC storage architect Glenn Lockwood sort of agrees. The challenge, of course, is that tiering... Read more…

By John Russell

Exscalate4CoV Runs 70 Billion-Molecule Coronavirus Simulation

November 25, 2020

The winds of the pandemic are changing – for better and for worse. Three viable vaccines now teeter on the brink of regulatory approval, which will pave the way for broad distribution by April or May. But until then, COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing across the U.S. and Europe... 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

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

Gordon Bell Prize Winner Breaks Ground in AI-Infused Ab Initio Simulation

November 19, 2020

The race to blend deep learning and first-principle simulation to speed up solutions and scale up problems tackled is one of the most exciting research areas in computational science today. This year’s ACM Gordon Bell Prize winner announced today at SC20 makes significant progress in that direction. Read more…

By John Russell

SC20 Keynote: Climate, Exascale & the Ultimate Answer

November 19, 2020

SC20’s keynote was delivered by renowned meteorologist and climatologist Bjorn Stevens, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology since 2008 and a professor at the University of Hamburg. In his keynote, Stevens traced the history of climate science from its earliest days through... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

EuroHPC Exec. Dir. Talks Procurement, EPI, and Europe’s Efforts to Control its HPC Destiny

November 19, 2020

While much of the HPC community’s attention is fixed on SC20’s flood of news and new product announcements, Anders Dam Jensen, the newly-minted executive di Read more…

By Steve Conway

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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