Fujitsu paves the way to exascale computing with powerful new NEXTGenIO hardware platform
- Following successful testing, Fujitsu hands over ultra-high-performance computing cluster for release to operations at University of Edinburgh as part of a Horizon 2020 research project.
- NEXTGenIO prototype system developed by Fujitsu demonstrates breakthrough results in a range of high performance computing (HPC) applications for faster research discoveries and more accurate modelling of complex systems.
- Fujitsu committed to further accelerating advances in high-performance computing through industry co-creation.
Fujitsu is pushing the boundaries of high-performance computing (HPC) with a newly developed hardware cluster that will increase the pace of scientific research and lead to better and faster understanding of complex systems, such as weather forecasts.
The platform’s groundbreaking computing performance has been successfully validated at EPCC, the University of Edinburgh’s supercomputing centre, and handed over by Fujitsu for release to operations. Fujitsu created the prototype in a close co-creation process with hardware and software vendors, universities and research institutes as part of the NEXTGenIO1 research and development project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.
The objective of the NEXTGenIO project is to solve this input/output (I/O) bottleneck by designing and developing a new, scalable, high-performance and energy-efficient computing platform capable of delivering scalable I/O performance to applications at the Exascale.
Following testing and validation, a prototype 34-node computing cluster designed by Fujitsu using Intel components, has now been handed over and released to operations at EPCC’s Advanced Computing Facility at the University of Edinburgh.
Focusing on maximum performance, Fujitsu developed the NEXTGenIO system and systemware to close the gap between memory and storage by leveraging Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory Modules.2 Each of the 34 compute nodes is equipped with two second-generation Intel Xeon Scalable Family processor CPUs and 3TB of Intel Optane DC persistent memory, and includes a software stack to seamlessly support I/O and memory intensive workloads.
Ingolf Stärk, Senior Director, HPC, Fujitsu, says: “We are delighted to deliver the results of a very successful co-design process. Together with the other project partners, we have created an ultra-high-performance computing platform that will pave the way for the extremely data-intensive, next-generation computing challenges of the future. Fujitsu is committed to driving the joint development of the European ecosystem for high-performance computing.”
Professor Mark Parsons, EPCC Direct and Project Coordinator of NEXTGenIO, says: “We are proud to be hosting and operating the NEXTGenIO prototype cluster, which will allow us to push the boundaries of research into memory and I/O bottlenecks often experienced by HPC and high-performance data analytics applications. The collaboration with Fujitsu in particular has been excellent, and it has been exciting to witness the progress all the way from leading the design of the architecture to taking delivery of the hardware, which we are sure will be transformational for many applications.”
The NEXTGenIO consortium partners have already demonstrated impressive performance improvements with the new computing technology. 3
- ECMWF, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, is one of the end-users represented in the NEXTGenIO project. ECMWF prepares its weather forecasting systems for the massively parallel supercomputing facilities of the future and its reporting the NEXTGenIO prototype shows an increase of end-to-end bandwidth with the distributed field data base of about factor 10, in comparison with today’s conventional I/O system based on Lustre/HDD.
- The efficiency of the utilisation of compute resources and the scientific throughput is increased with the NEXTGenIO system when tested with CASTEP – a leading simulation code for materials science – opening up the potential for rapidly accelerated research projects across multiple domains. For a DNA simulation with CASTEP, a relative efficiency improvement of about 2x has been achieved.
Rupert Lehner, Head of Central and Eastern Europe, EMEIA Products, says: “In close co-operation with our project partners, we have achieved a true breakthrough in non-volatile memory technology. This research will enable us to build an entirely new generation of computing platforms with the speed and performance required to power tomorrow’s data-intensive and real-time applications. After testing and optimising the platform in a range of high-performance scientific computing applications, we are looking forward to passing on these significant computing advances to our customers and partners.”
The NEXTGenIO prototype represents the culmination of more than three years of collaborative research between hardware and software vendors, universities and research institutes. Fujitsu has now made technology developed and validated within the project available to its customers in its PRIMERGY and PRIMEQUEST servers.
Pricing and availability
Fujitsu is now shipping Intel Optane DC persistent memory (DCPMM) modules for use in the following server models: PRIMERGY TX2550 M5, RX2530 M5, RX2540 M5, RX4770 M5, CX2560 M5, CX2550 M5, as well as the PRIMEQUEST PQ3800E2 and PQ3800B2. The general availability depends on models and/or country/region.
1 NEXTGenIO started on 1 October 2015 and is set to run until September 2019. The NEXTGenIO project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, under Grant Agreement no. 671951. The consortium partners are EPCC, Intel, Fujitsu, Technische Universität Dresden, Barcelona Supercomputing Center, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Arm (formerly Allinea) and Arctur. For more detailed information on the project, please visit the project Web site: www.nextgenio.eu.
2 NEXTGenIO solves the I/O bottleneck by bridging the gap between memory and storage with in-memory computing. Traditional memory is not the solution since it is ‘volatile’, which means it cannot retain data once its power source is cut off on the mainboard, or when the application is closed. The solution is ‘non-volatile memory with persistence’, giving applications direct access to non-volatile memory so that the data persists, which is able to significantly increase processing speeds. Offering the best of both worlds, persistent memory delivers the performance of flash memory and the permanence of storage.
3 Source: “An Early Evaluation of Intel’s Optane DC Persistent Memory Module and its Impact on High Performance Scientific Applications”, Michèle Weiland et. al. To appear in SC '19 Proceedings of the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis.
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