Intel’s new Cascade Lake processors and Optane DC Persistent Memory have been hot topics in the press of late, as we’ve waited patiently for them to be announced. That day was today, and Intel’s partners are in full force announcing their latest platform innovations around these products. Supermicro, one of Intel’s largest OEM partners, put up a number worth taking note of: 100+. That’s the number of new and updated systems the company has ready to fire out of the door to its customers.
Supermicro is quite a wild and exciting OEM. The company prides itself on being super agile, and being able to respond to customer-specific system requests in weeks, rather than the months it might take one of the more traditional players in this space. Intel is even quoted this as one of the qualities Supermicro brings to the table in the company’s press release. As a result, Supermicro seems ready to go with Cascade Lake and Optane in just about every form factor and configuration you can think of.
The first generation Xeon Scalable processors, based on Intel’s Skylake architecture, formed Supermicro’s X11 platform. For the second generation, there isn’t a change in socket, and so Cascade Lake and Optane-enabled systems also fall under the X11 name. This is interesting – we saw configurations of Supermicro’s Skylake systems back at Supercomputing 2017 with ‘extra DRAM slots’, which we’ve now learned were pre-builds for Optane systems, which SM can roll out today with very few changes. Supermicro claims that its optimized X11 offerings with Cascade Lake can offer customers better performance (up to 35%) and better total cost of ownership (TCO) up to 50% compared to the previous generation. This is generally in line with the numbers that Intel has quoted for the new platform as well.
One key area that Supermicro is keen to promote is its newest all-flash NVMe 1U storage server system using Cascade Lake, with support for NF1 and Intel EDSFF form factor SSDs, either directly or over a fabric. The company states that it already has over a dozen high-profile customers looking at its Cascade Lake all-flash storage solutions for a variety of applications.
Supermicro is also a key partner in Intel’s Select Solutions program, where specific configurations are designed and optimized by Intel and the OEM for specific markets. Combined with Supermicro’s Resource-Saving disaggregated server portfolio, which splits parts of the server up into serviceable and replaceable boards, the company is proud to promote the fact that its customers can upgrade to the latest technologies without needing to completely scrap and rebuild, allowing for higher performance and better efficiency without the need to create additional waste or for additional cost.
Also on the list of system announcements are the no-compromise systems. For these, Supermicro is offering the peak of everything that would fit into a 1U or 2U form factor. Depending on the size, this could mean up to 28 cores per socket, up to 24 DIMMs of DDR4-2933 memory per server, up to 6TB of Optane DC Persistent Memory per server, up to 24 hot-swap NVMe drives per server, up to eight PCIe 3.0 expansion slots, redundant 750W-1600W titanium efficiency power supplies, and as much Ethernet connectivity as is viable. Supermicro is also going to offer Cascade Lake systems that support up to 20 GPUs / PCIe accelerators, so customers can use both DL Boost and the accelerators for deep learning. If that wasn’t all, how about an 8-socket system?
Supermicro is having a virtual launch event this week, and interested customers are encouraged to join. To sign up, the link is here. We’re set to speak with Supermicro as part of Intel’s launch event, and if I get any more information I will add it here.