Oracle Cloud today launched new bare metal and virtual instances powered by AMD’s second-generation Epyc “Rome” processors, intended for high-performance computing and big data analytics workloads. The new E3 instances are based on the AMD Epyc 7742 CPU, featuring 64 7nm Zen2 cores with a base clock frequency of 2.25 GHz and max boost of up to 3.4 GHz.
The bare metal E3 standard compute instance supports 128 Oracle Compute Units (OCPUs), 2 TB of RAM and comes with 100 Gbps standard network bandwidth. Oracle maintains this is the highest core count for a bare metal instance on any public cloud, and the memory bandwidth is well suited for both general-purpose and high-bandwidth workloads, such as big data analytics and business applications. The new instances offer 16 GB of memory per OCPU, double that of the E2 offering, which is based on first-gen Epycs.
In the HPC space, Oracle is targeting risk simulation, molecular modeling and genome sequencing, applications where memory bandwidth and scalability are critical, but that don’t necessarily need RDMA.
The new offering removes the usual limitations on VM sizing. “The instances don’t come in any fixed capacity – e.g., 2, 4, 8, 16 cores – the customer can select any number of cores they want,” said Vinay Kumar, vice president, product management, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. He told us that E3 is the first instance type to offer this capability, but Oracle plans to extend this flexibility across its cloud offering, including its Intel-backed instances, going forward.
In a blog post, Rajan Panchapakes, senior principal product manager, Oracle Cloud, shared benchmarking results comparing the E3 128-core bare metal platform with the 64-core Naples-based E2 instance, and the X7 instance, backed by 48 Intel Xeon CPU cores. Panchapakes notes optimal compiler and BIOS settings were employed to attain normalized performance.
“The 2nd Gen AMD Epyc processor server performs very well compared to our existing bare metal compute instances,” said Panchapakes. “Compared to the X7 Standard instances, the E3 Standard instance delivers a 185% increase in integer performance, a 158% increase in floating point performance, and a 136% increase in STREAM Triad bandwidth.”
Of course, synthetic benchmarks are just a starting point for evaluation. Customers will typically bring their ISV application to Oracle Cloud and run the actual workload to see how it performs. “We give them free resources to validate how fast it is, and to compare price-performance,” said Kumar.
Pricing for an E3 instance starts at 4.9 cents per core-hour (including 16 GB of RAM per core), which Oracle states is 23 percent less than the X7 Standard and 57–61 percent less than comparable instances offered by competitors, such as AWS. Oracle will continue to offer its E2 instances, which are based on the first-generation Epyc 7551 processor and are priced at 3 cents per core hour.
The Oracle Cloud E3 instances are available starting today in US East (Ashburn), US West (Phoenix), Germany Central (Frankfurt), and Japan East (Tokyo) regions. Oracle says availability will be expanded into all of its commercial regions with a quarter.
“Any service we launch, our promise is that they will be everywhere within a few months,” said Kumar. “With compute, there’s the capacity management aspect, requiring a progressive launch, but when it’s a software service, we will get that everywhere, every time.”
Oracle Cloud is the latest of the big cloud providers to offer AMD’s second-generation Epyc CPUs (launched in August 2019). In November 2019, Azure rolled out a number of Rome-backed instances, including a preview of its HBv2 instances (since made generally available), based on the Epyc 64-core 7742 SKU and supporting 200 Gbps InfiniBand for top-tier HPC power. In February, Google Cloud introduced beta availability of “N2D” virtual machines built atop AMD Epyc 7002 CPUs. And earlier this month, IBM Cloud launched bare metal instances based on second-gen Gen Epyc 7642 CPUs, offering up to 96 cores and 4TB memory configuration support in a dual-socket server.