Addressing the power challenges of Exascale? (whitepaper)

At the machine evaluation workshop in daresbury (MEW), Boston presented on the Viridis platform and put forward some interesting points on how their ARM platform could potentially be a contender as a platform for next generation exascale systems. The whitepaper is available from the Boston website (registration required): White paper: The Boston Viridis ARM® Server: Addressing the Power Challenges of Exascale?

And a quick pic from the show (it didnt take long for people to clean us out of baseballs 🙂

Viridis – New 144TB Platform

Boston are delighted to announce new additions to the Viridis familiy! At SC12, Boston announced two new 4U additions to the Viridis range that can be configured with up to 36x 3.5″ or 72x 2.5″ drives.

With the industry’s most comprehensive range of ARM-based servers, the Boston Viridis platform is available as both a 2U high density compute platform or 4U storage platform. Each of these Viridis units contains up to 12 quad-node EnergyCards with built-in Layer-2 networking, providing up to 192 cores and 48 nodes per enclosure. The 2U compute system can be configured with 24x 2.5″ drives (SATA/SSD) and the 4U storage platform configured with 36x 3.5″ drives, providing up to 144TB per enclosure. These low power high density solutions allow for configurations of up to 1000+ servers per rack or ~1.5PB of storage per rack, providing customers with industry-leading power, space and cost savings.

Read more about this on the website.

ARM vs Atom: Phoronix Benchmarks

The team over at Phoronix have completed a comprehensive suite of tests which compares the performance of a single Boston Viridis SoC to an Intel Atom D525. The tests covered a range of applications including: NAS Parallel Benchmarks, Video Encoding, Rendering, Molecular Dynamics and more. A further set of tests compared the scaling of the ARM cpus and a comparison of the performance improvements between ubuntu 12.04 and 12.10.

“Overall, a single 1.1~1.4GHz Calxeda ECX-1000 Cortex-A9 server node proved competitive against an Intel Atom D525, a x86_64 CPU that is clocked at 1.8GHz with two physical cores plus two logical cores via Hyper Threading. While the Calxeda node did nicely against the Atom D525 in a majority of the Ubuntu Linux benchmarks, the real story is the performance-per-Watt, which unfortunately can’t be easily compared in this case due to the limitations mentioned in the introduction. If there were the power numbers, the Calxeda ARM Server would likely easily win with the SoC power consumption under load averaging 4 Watts for the 1.1GHz card and just over 6 Watts for the newer 1.4GHz variant. The Atom D525 has a rated TDP by Intel of 13 Watts.”

Further details on the test environment and compiler flags used are on the Phoronix pages below: