OpenPOWER IBM S822LC for HPC Minsky - First Look
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Due to IBM marketing deciding to have four machines with the same Hollywood name = S822LC - every one has given up on them.
This blog is about the POWER8 Minsky machine. This is developed and manufactured by Wistron for IBM under the OpenPOWER program and sold as the IBM S822LC for High Performance Computing (HPC). Unlike some of the other S822LC model the name is actually correct. This computer only makes sense to me if you have a configuration with the very high performance maths computation NVIDIA GPUs. It also has higher speed memory bandwidth than the other S822LC models. This makes it idea for the regular HPC workloads, Cognitive solutions and PowerAI (Artificial Intelligence).
It has the POWER8 processors which were tweaked to run the NVlink 2 for massive bandwidth between POWER8 and the GPUs (when compared to PCIe based connections).
This model has been out a while but it is my first chance to gets hands-on time with one. I have been remotely logged on to other such machines - I think it was in Austin, Texas its pretty weird that I don't know where the machine was for sure :-)
So below the Minskys arrives in the computer room with a friend on top:
We checked the clear labels, configuration and the machine Serial Numbers were noted for the inventory.
After opening the box we find this at the top:
We lift these out and the top cardboard tray and find not one but two Minsky servers at below:
So the servers are on their side and it looks to me that five Minsky servers could go in this one box.
That is a pretty smart way to pack the machines:
We raise the cardboard flap and see A) a warning its a two person lift and B) that there is now a handle to make that easier:
It really is a two person lift - except for England Rugby players and American Football players!
Below Gareth has the server upright on the desk and points out the "Warning: two person lift" logo:
Below Mike cuts the cello-tape and we can then remove the card board cover and put the server on the table
And here is the front view showing the four large fan/blower units and the two disk bays on the right:
We lift the lid by pressing down on the catch button (after removing the tiny bolt at the top back):
and reveal the very nicely made machine:
Below I point out the various components:
The Copper GPU heat sinks do look good and everything looks very well engineered. Note there are Two Minsky machines in this picture.
Below is the view from the back (with the two power supplies removed):
Below is the two power supplies (on their sides). There is an interlock so you have to remove the power supplies before removing the lid.
This is a good safety feature - the machine and particularly the GPU drawer a lot of electrical power and it probably gets hot.
Below is the details of the memory modules - each one has the POWER8 L4 memory cache controller for maximum bandwidth which is important for
High Performance Computing workloads - fully configured this gets up to 1 TB of RAM.
Round the back there is also two PCIe 3 adapter slots.:
The Rack Rails are very slick and fast to install = lift the ratchet, pull the lower tag out, put in position with the rack holes, release and add a locking screw - excellent if you have dozens to install on a cluster in a hurry.
Below Both machine are installed - We also note the Minsky on the rails can be pulled out out far enough so that you can lift the lid and get inside without removing it from the rack.
There are also Cable tidy arms - we did not fit them in this case because the machine might be lent to a customer in the near future for testing their applications.
Not hit the POWER button on the front and up the machine comes in to the Petitboot Menu
Go to the Exit to Shell option on the previous menu. This drops you down to a mini Linux environment which I think is running on the BMC service processor.
It does tell you which ports you have a network cable plugged in to - very useful for later on when adding the IP Address to the OS as it eliminates a lot of guess work of which port is which:
Use ipmitool commands as below as an example to get the BMC on the network:
Now use ipmitool remotely to get the the BMC Console, start stop the machine and install the Linux OS.
Finally the first (top) Minsky is running and the lower one is running a minute later:
I hope that is useful to all users think about purchasing these power machines or are planning your installation.
These are easy machines to live with and administer.
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