At every key bound in processing accommodation in aerial achievement accretion – and aloof awkward off added than two decades from teraflops through petaflops, and now on the border of exaflops in two years or so – there has been this astriction amid custom-built systems that breach through achievement barriers and added accepted purpose machines based on added off of the shelf apparatus that amount beneath and tend to be fast followers.
It’s the aberration amid thoroughbreds and workhorses.
That gap amid custom and article HPC systems, thinks Lenovo, is accepting beyond and larger, and the company, which became one of the ascendant HPC arrangement suppliers in the deathwatch of accepting IBM’s Arrangement x X86 server analysis bristles years ago, is putting a pale in the arena and committing to accompany exascale-class technologies to the masses with the affectionate of accouterment they are acclimated to and accept well.
Headquartered out of Raleigh, North Carolina, the IBM HPC aggregation that Lenovo acquired as allotment of the accord included Scott Tease, who was administrator of aerial achievement accretion for 14 years at Big Blue afore abutting Lenovo with that aforementioned role. Lenovo maintained the rights to the Platform Accretion HPC middleware (now alleged Spectrum Accretion by IBM) and GPFS alongside book arrangement (now Spectrum Scale) as able-bodied as modernizing abounding of the functions of xCAT into Python and HTML5.
Lenovo doesn’t anticipate we can go aback to the acceptable old canicule back best supercomputers were based on CPUs with some appropriate interconnects and lots of adult software and storage, and said as abundant advanced of SC18 aftermost year. While Lenovo has its allotment of big, capability-class supercomputers – conspicuously the Super-MUC-NG arrangement at Leibniz Rechenzentrum in Germany, the MareNostrum 4 arrangement at Barcelona Supercomputing Center in Spain, and the “Marconi” arrangement at CINECA in Italy – the aggregation is focused on the average arena in HPC and expands upwards and downwards from there. And it is aboveboard – and appropriately – appreciative of that fact. As Tease explained to us at the SC18 appointment aftermost year, the aliment and adulate HPC auction for Lenovo is for clusters that amount about amid $600,000 and $800,000, and these are workhose machines awash into government, academic, research, and bartering accounts. Significantly, Lenovo’s HPC business is growing and profitable.
The affair that Lenovo is bringing up with its fractal approach of HPC, as bidding in its “From Exascale to Everyscale” attack launched this summer, is that best HPC shops cannot allow or alike absorb some of the alien systems that are actuality deployed as the antecedent exascale systems in the United States, China, Japan, and Europe. Lenovo has annihilation adjoin CPUs actuality able with alien accelerators such as GPUs or FPGAs, and Tease hinted a bit about this fractal approach of HPC back he said aftermost year that architectonics big, amalgam abstraction machines mashing up CPUs and GPUs to do both acceptable HPC simulation and clay as able-bodied as AI apparatus acquirements workloads was great, but for any architectonics to go absolutely boilerplate in bartering accounts, it has to be acclimated for added workloads, too, such as visualization, basal desktop infrastructure, accelerated databases, and the like.
Here’s the atom of the issue, according to Tease: “We were sitting in all of these briefings for exascale systems in the United States, China, and Europe, and we looked at what was actuality proposed and thought: No approved HPC applicant is activity to be able install that rack. It apparently won’t fit through their aperture or on their elevator. The racks won’t go on their accustomed datacenter attic because it’s too heavy. The networking and the ability burning is article that’s absolutely altered than what they have. To us, it looked like the billions of dollars in exascale allotment was aloof activity to advice the actual top bank of the market. In the past, we accept consistently watched administration technologies appear out and again it trickled bottomward to everybody else. But it seems a little altered this time to us, so we are authoritative a accomplish to our customers, big and small, that we are activity to architectonics HPC in a way that abate barter could get the aforementioned exact arrangement as an LRZ or Barcelona or CINECA, admitting at a abate scale.”
The way to accompany HPC and AI systems to the masses, says Tease, is to anticipate of a supercomputer architectonics as actuality a fractal, which IBM researcher Benoit Mandelbrot, the discoverer of these admirable mathemagical constructs, declared as “a geometric appearance that can be afar into parts, anniversary of which is a reduced-scale adaptation of the whole.”
With fractal HPC, the calibration of the arrangement changes, but the basal appearance of the arrangement – its amount apparatus and how they appear calm – does not change.
“Our anguish is that we are affective abroad from the attitude that we’ve apparent in the accomplished of architectonics article clusters in HPC, and authoritative them any admeasurement you want,” explains Tease. “Through acute engineering, we appetite to accomplish commitments to the chump to advance options that fit into a 19-inch arbor with accepted acme and abyss and that run on acceptable 200 volt or 240 volt ability and do not crave three-phase 480 volt or appropriate DC power. We are activity to body clusters on accessible fabrics, whether it is Ethernet or InfiniBand. We don’t appetite to force any affectionate of proprietary being or accidental lock-in with our HPC systems. We are activity to do our best to fit into what you already do adjoin aloof designing this alien arrangement and again abrogation you to amount out how to get a non-standard supercomputer into your datacenter.”
None of this, by the way, says that Lenovo is not absorbed in accomplishing large, capability-class machines that are custom engineered if barter appetite to pay for it – aloof like Lenovo has volume-produced servers for the boilerplate but additionally does custom server engineering for hyperscalers and billow builders. For the appropriate amount and the appropriate challenge, Lenovo would absolutely do that, says Tease. But Lenovo is abundant added absorbed in advancing the accompaniment of the art in the boilerplate HPC market.
“The charge we are authoritative to HPC barter is that we will bottle the adequacy to exascale alike if you don’t do non-standard things,” says Tease.
Lenovo’s Neptune baptize cooling efforts, which we covered in detail actuality aftermost June, are a case in point. IBM had been application baptize cooling for its biggest, baddest mainframes for bristles decades, and there are banned to what air cooling can do, decidedly as the thermals of CPUs, accelerators, and anamnesis accumulate ascent and companies appetite college and college densities of apparatus to save datacenter space. Afore the Arrangement x analysis was awash off to Lenovo, IBM brought some of these baptize cooling techniques over from the mainframe to HPC systems with the antecedent SuperMUC arrangement at LRZ, which was commercialized added broadly and now accounts for over 40,000 nodes alien to date. (Close to bisected of them accept been installed at LRZ through several ancestors of the SuperMUC machines.)
The ThinkSystem SD650 apparatus is the latest bearing of absolute water-cooled systems from Lenovo aimed at HPC shops. The arrangement allows for up to two dozen high-bin CPUs, anniversary with up to 240 watts of ability draw, to be put into a 6U arbor enclosure. The absolute baptize cooling can assignment with a array of CPUs, anamnesis DIMMs, accumulator devices, and arrangement interface cards. Over 90 percent of the calefaction of the apparatus is pulled out if the arrangement and transferred to the baptize and removed from the chassis. The abutting ancestors of the SD650 systems will accept actual close mixes of CPUs and GPUs as able-bodied as all-CPU configurations in the aforementioned anatomy factor, and acceptance up to 2,500 watts (or more) per 1U in the ThinkSystem enclosure. The accepted SD650 arrangement can do about 40 application per rack, and do so in a accepted 19-inch rack, and the follow-on machine, advancing after in 2020, will advance it up to aloof beneath 90 application of ability and calefaction amusement in that accepted rack.
This affectionate of calefaction body is done bigger with baptize cooling, and it is at the absolute of air cooling. Back you columnist up adjoin those limits, you alone accept three choice: Go higher, go wider, or go water.
Even in cases area absolute baptize cooling is not adorable or possible, Lenovo is abacus thermal alteration modules, or TTMs, aggressive by some of the technologies that are acclimated by gamers to air-conditioned their overclocked systems. This is not accepting the calefaction out of the datacenter, but affective the calefaction about the central of the server anatomy so acceptable air cooling methods in the datacenter can be deployed to abolish that heat.
“We’re aggravating to accompany that technology up to a datacenter level, and you will absolutely see a lot added of this in our roadmaps as we go forward,” says Tease. “Because we charge to be able to move that calefaction central the server. You accept got to get calefaction abroad from the CPU and GPU genitalia faster than a acceptable fan can do, and do it afore the genitalia overheat and account failure.”
Through a aggregate of efforts, Lenovo is attractive to bear the capabilities of technologies developed with exascale in apperception to a abundant broader ambit of customers, admitting at a smaller, and oftentimes added user-friendly, scale. The approaching may accord to exascale, but Lenovo’s eyes is that it is a approaching that should be fabricated added inclusive.
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