80 Core, Or Go For 96?
Two new ARM powered server designs are in the news this morning, one from Oracle and one from Ampere; a name which may get rather confusing after NVIDIA announced their intention to buy ARM. In the case of Oracle they will be building servers based on existing Ampere chips, and adding them to their cloud services for interested customers. For Ampere, they will be rolling out a brand new chip, showing off what is coming next in the design of ARM based processing.
Oracle will be offering instances based on Ampere’s Altra which sports 80 cores per socket, with a dual socket model available. These 7nm chips can hit up to 3.3GHz on all cores and offer 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes, with support for a mere 4TB of memory per socket and will be part of the Oracle Cloud that arrives next year. That is not the only hardware to choose from, to compete against AWS you need to offer a large stable of server products to choose from and Oracle is certainly doing that.
They will offer cloudy Ice Lake Xeon based instances with up to 25TB of NVMe storage, with an option to configure an RDMA cluster network if you need to move data off of the server. Those that prefer an AMD based solution will be able to make use of EPYC instances running on the as yet to be released Milan architecture; with an option to purchase on a per core basis for those that don’t need a lot of resources to handle their needs. If you do need serious HPC resources, how about an instance with A100 Tensor Cores with 40GB of RAM each apiece, running on 64-core AMD Rome based EPYCs with 2TB of RAM and 24TB of NVMe storage.
As for the new chip, the Neoverse is expanding and ARM offers a look at their roadmap for the near future. The Neoverse V1, aka Zeus, sports 96 cores per socket and you can pick and choose what peak frequency you want as well as if you want 7nm or 5nm silicon. The chips offer full Scalable Vector Extensions support and the next generation, the N2, will offer up to 128 cores per socket. ARM is suggesting that in a typical rack these new processors should offer 40% higher core count and double the raw compute power of AMD or Intel which is attractive to both accountants and programmers.
ARM in the server room is here to stay from the looks of what is coming out in the next few years, and that is before NVIDIA starts incorporating all of their intellectual property into upcoming designs.
Arm is taking another serious tilt at server silicon with new designs that incorporate the Scalable Vector Extensions (SVE) beloved of HPC and machine-learning types.