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April 5, 2017

IBM Bare Metal Cloud Targets AI with New P100 GPUs

IBM announced today that it will be adding Nvidia P100 graphics processors to its Bluemix cloud later this month, becoming the “first major global cloud vendor” to provide the high-end “Pascal” GPUs. Big Blue is targeting the new hardware at customers who run compute-heavy workloads, such as artificial intelligence, deep learning, data analytics and high-performance computing.

Unlike Nimbix, the heterogeneous cloud vendor that began offering NVLink’d Nvidia P100 GPUs on the IBM “Minsky” Power8 platform last October (2016), IBM will be using PCIe form factor cards within an Intel x86 server. This is not really a surprise since IBM operates most of its cloud servers on Intel-based chip sets. Customers will be able to add up to two Nvidia P100 cards to a dual-socket Xeon E5-2690 v3 machine (24-core CPUs running at 2.6 GHz).

The IBM cloud does have some Power server options for specific big data workloads but it does not have an expanded assortment of Power, says Jay Jubran, Global Offering Management for Compute at IBM Cloud. A plan to integrate Power8 based systems with NVIDIA P100 GPUs into the IBM cloud portfolio is underway. “We are are working side by side with the Power Systems team to ensure that IBM Cloud will deliver access to the best of IBM technology to allow customers to run HPC and AI workloads,” Jubran told us.

The Power8 “Minsky” platform enables tight coupling of the Power CPU and P100 GPU over Nvidia’s proprietary NVLink interconnect. The mezzanine form factor P100 also provides nearly 13 percent better raw performance than the PCIe card, 5.3 double-precision teraflops versus 4.7. Both versions provide 16 gigabytes of HBM2 stacked memory. Networking on the IBM cloud stands at 10 Gigabit Ethernet today with IBM stating that future platforms might go up to 25 Gigabit Ethernet.

To read the rest of the article, please see www.hpcwire.com/2017/04/05/ibm-bare-metal-cloud-targets-ai-new-p100-gpus/

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