Nvidia launched a monster box yesterday called the HGX-2, and it’s the stuff that geek dreams are made of. It’s a cloud server that is purported to be so powerful it combines high-performance computing with artificial intelligence requirements in one exceptionally compelling package.
You know you want to know the specs, so let’s get to it: It starts with 16x NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. That’s good for 2 petaFLOPS for AI with low precision, 250 teraFLOPS for medium precision and 125 teraFLOPS for those times when you need the highest precision. It comes standard with a 1/2 a terabyte of memory and 12 Nvidia NVSwitches, which enable GPU to GPU communications at 300 GB per second. They have doubled the capacity from the HGX-1 released last year.
Paresh Kharya, group product marketing manager for Nvidia’s Tesla data center products, says this communication speed enables them to treat the GPUs essentially as a one giant, single GPU. “And what that allows [developers] to do is not just access that massive compute power, but also access that half a terabyte of GPU memory as a single memory block in their programs,” he explained.
Unfortunately you won’t be able to buy one of these boxes. In fact, Nvidia is distributing them strictly to resellers, who will likely package these babies up and sell them to hyperscale data centers and cloud providers. The beauty of this approach for cloud resellers is that when they buy it, they have the entire range of precision in a single box, Kharya said.
“The benefit of the unified platform is as companies and cloud providers are building out their infrastructure, they can standardize on a single unified architecture that supports the entire range of high-performance workloads. So whether it’s AI, or whether it’s high-performance simulations, the entire range of workloads is now possible in just a single platform,”Kharya explained.
He points out this is particularly important in large-scale data centers. “In hyperscale companies or cloud providers, the main benefit that they’re providing is the economies of scale. If they can standardize on the fewest possible architectures, they can really maximize the operational efficiency. And what HGX allows them to do is to standardize on that single unified platform,” he added.
As for developers, they can write programs that take advantage of the underlying technologies and program in the exact level of precision they require from a single box.
The HGX-2 powered servers will be available later this year from partner resellers, including Lenovo, QCT, Supermicro and Wiwynn.