Tech Focus: Servers

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Robert Roe takes a look at the server options that are available to scientists using HPC as a tool for research.

Understanding the properties of different server configurations can help an organisation select hardware that best suits its requirements. To select the correct hardware it is imperative that an organisation understands its applications and users, determining what will be necessary to generate the right performance.

Server and infrastructure selection is one of the driving factors behind energy efficiency and compute density; it also impacts Total Cost of Ownership over the lifetime of the HPC system.

Using applications an organisation needs to run as a baseline for decisions around compute density, power consumption and infrastructure (such as cooling) helps organisations maximise efficiency. 

An underperforming cluster will not deliver results fast enough. Equally, overloading a server with expensive hardware which is unneccesary for specific applications increases costs and power consumption. Reduced power efficiency increases costs over the lifecycle of the system.

Ultimately the foundation for successful HPC technology adoption begins with a well-defined HPC architecture. Depending on your organisation’s workload and computing goals, different system designs and supporting resources are available to help achieve productivity gains and scalable performance.

Other products

Based on Alibaba Cloud infrastructure, Alibaba Cloud Elastic High Performance Computing (E-HPC) is an end-to-end public cloud service. E-HPC provides individual users, education, research and public institutions with a fast, elastic and secure cloud compute platform that interconnects with Alibaba Cloud products.

AMAX offers an extensive portfolio of reference systems optimised for performance, density and efficiency. Configure and customise compute, storage, network, power and software to meet any scale of application. Choose from a diverse selection of technology partners to design high performance servers and rack-scale solutions - including GPU-based and application optimised platforms for HPC, deep learning and parallel storage solutions.

ASRock Rack delivers specialised servers in the field of Cloud Computing server hardware. With the latest design iterations from AMD alongside NVIDIA GPUs, ASRock Rack offer powerful solutions for a variety of AI workloads. NVIDIA-Certified Systems from ASRock Rack deliver the optimised performance and agility required to meet various AI training workload demands. Powered by the NVIDIA A100, A30 and soon the NVIDIA A2, the ASRock Rack GPU servers accelerate every scale of AI training and inference.

Atipa Technologies is the high-performance computing division of Microtech Computers. Atipa delivers servers and clusters that are fully customised to fit our customers’ needs. 

Combining the resources and flexibility of different computing universes, the Atos BullSequana supercomputers enable organisations to take full advantage of on-premises and cloud solutions, harnessing the full power of high-performance computing for the widest possible spectrum of applications. With a hybrid, modular architecture, the BullSequana X series delivers unprecedented performance at reduced TCO.

Boxx Technologies is a provider of high-performance workstation computers, rendering systems and servers purpose-built for engineering, product design, architecture, media & entertainment, data science and more. Remove bottlenecks, accelerate workflows and experience unparalleled performance unlike other workstation manufacturers.

Colfax International workstations, servers, storage and cloud services power engineers and researchers at the forefront of innovation and discovery. As an Elite AMD Partner, Titanium Intel Partner and Elite Nvidia Partner, they have established a reputation for solving the most complex problems, securing outstanding results for enterprises, national labs, universities, public agencies and start-ups.

Dell’s PowerEdge rack servers maximise performance across the widest range of applications and are available with AMD EPYC or Intel Xeon Scalable Processors. Also offered as pre-configured, tested and certified vSAN Ready Nodes.

The Gigabyte server range features a wide variety of expertly designed and built solutions which excel in a number of different areas. Performance, efficiency and reliability is at the heart of each server. Gigabyte is a leader in this industry, renowned for award - winning products built through thorough research and innovation.

The HPE Cray EX cabinet architecture contains many innovative features that support the high wattage CPUs and GPUs (in excess of 500W), dramatically reducing interconnect cabling requirements and reducing operational expense significantly. The liquid-cooled infrastructure also results in a much more compact system architecture, helping to minimise the use of more expensive optical interconnect cables over less expensive electrical ones.

IBM Power E1080 is designed to securely and efficiently scale core operational workloads and AI applications across a hybrid cloud. The IBM Power E1080 is now improved with transparent memory encryption, efficient scaling and faster insights using production-ready AI at the point of data. A built-in inference engine brings AI closer to data, reducing cost and complexity.

As a certified server partner of NVIDIA, the global leader in GPU technology, Inspur applies continuous innovation to develop some of the fastest, most powerful GPU servers on the market. Inspur GPU accelerated servers deliver features that let you achieve your goals, like training deep learning models and deriving AI insights, in hours, not days.

Flex System is Lenovo’s proven, second generation blade that efficiently runs your infrastructure applications with up to 80 per cent better density than standard rack server deployments. 

ManyCoreSoft is a group of experts in heterogeneous computing technologies. They develop differentiated software and hardware solutions that support the entire process of solving high-performance computing problems, including system design and construction, software development and optimisation, consulting and training.

One Stop Systems, (OSS) designs and manufactures edge computing modules and systems for AI Transportable applications including ruggedised servers, compute accelerators, expansion systems, flash storage arrays and Ion Accelerator SAN, NAS and data recording software. These products are used for AI data set capture, training and large-scale inference in the defense, oil and gas, mining, autonomous vehicles and rugged entertainment applications.

NVIDIA Data Center GPUs powered servers by PNY. Designed for seamless integration with Nvidia Tesla and Quadro GPU for delivering high performance in HPC, AI & scientific applications, GPU virtualisation and graphics rendering appliance. Accelerate your most demanding HPC and hyperscale data center workloads with NVIDIA Data Center GPUs powered servers by PNY. 

RAVE designs servers and storage solutions built to each customer’s requirements – that can mean anything from a unique form factor to challenging operating environments and unusual interface requirements for I/O or expansion. Their latest innovations include liquid cooled CPUs and GPUs, delivering a price/performance/reliability balance that brings low-latency, high performance GPU based computing into new territory.

Supermicro Reference Architecture is designed to fulfill your unique HPC requirements. Our advantages include a wide range of building blocks, from motherboard design to system configuration, fully integrated rack and liquid cooling systems. We focus on providing solutions tailored to the customers’ specific needs.  Its Scientific Research Supercomputer Reference Design is a proven HPC design built for numerous scientific research projects. This supercomputer design is highly scalable for weather simulation, nuclear reaction physics simulation, gene sequencing, earth and space discovery and more.

Powered by 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processors, the Transport HX TN83-B8251 from Tyan is a 2U dual-socket server with 16 DDR4-3200 DIMM slots, two half-height, half-length PCIe 4.0 x16 expansion slots for high-speed networking cards and eight 3.5-inch SATA/NVMe U.2 hot-swap, tool-less drive bays. The platform supports up to four double-width GPU cards that can be easily scaled out to improve HPC and deep learning performance.