Supermicro not too long ago unveiled an Arm-based server – the ARS-210M-NR and Servethehome took it for a spin (opens in new tab), loading it with 4 Nvidia A16 playing cards.
The check server got here with a 128-core Ampere Altra Max Arm processor, operating at 3GHz, with 16 DDR4 reminiscence modules (512GB reminiscence in all), two 25GbE-capable SPF28 ports, 16 2.5inch bays and a pair of 2Kw energy provide models, all properly assembled in a tool-less chassis.
The cherry on the cake is the quartet of Ampere-based Nvidia A16 graphics playing cards. Each card comes with 64GB of GDDR6 ECC reminiscence and 4 GPUs that sit on a full top full size twin slot, passively cooled PCB. The A16 shouldn’t be the strongest knowledge heart card that Nvidia has; that may be the A100; nonetheless, it hits a candy spot for service suppliers trying to get the most variety of concurrent customers on a single board.
But can it run…
In phrases of pure efficiency, every of those GPUs has half the variety of CUDA cores of the Geforce RTX 3050, so sure it ought to be capable of run the legendary Crysis recreation with out an excessive amount of subject – so in concept, you would have 16 iterations of certainly one of the most taxing video games ever operating concurrently – you simply must create 16 virtual machines and cargo 16 copies of Crysis.
There have been no pricing particulars supplied however on condition that the A16 retails for around $3,000 and a fully loaded server with related credentials prices round $10,000, you’ll be anticipated to fork out north of $22,000 for such a system.
Power to the cloud
Now who would want such a debauchery of energy? For a begin, cloud gaming is now mainstream (even when Google bailed out earlier this yr when it mothballed Stadia) and it’s the likes of the ARS-210M-NR that makes it a actuality.
Beyond this although, it’s about VDI (Video Desktop Infrastructure) for companies and enterprises. The rise of hybrid working acted as a catalyst for the adoption of Virtual Workstation (and Virtual PC) as work-from-home grew to become a actuality for thousands and thousands of customers. And simply certainly one of these servers can accommodate loads of VMs (digital machines); a latest check by cloud computing agency Nutanix showed that two Nvidia A16 graphic playing cards can deal with 128 digital machines, which signifies that 4 playing cards ought to be capable of run 256.
Of course it’s possible you’ll must deploy a extra highly effective CPU than the Altra Max and extra reminiscence as nicely (Nutanix used 1.5TB RAM and two Intel Xeon Gold 6354, every with 18 bodily cores). Increasing SaaS help for digital GPU throughout a variety of purposes (e.g. Photoshop or Chrome) explains why dense servers with very excessive GPU rely have gotten a typical sight.
Other purposes like web hosting could profit from excessive CPU core rely which is why (*16*) are so inexpensive now with the worth hole with dedicated servers and bare metal options remaining excessive.
Servethehome ran the 2U server on Ubuntu and whereas the expertise was not as clean because it may very well be, it was actually price the effort. Arm is slowly turning right into a formidable opponent to each Intel’s Xeon and AMD’s Epyc and with Amazon readying the fourth technology of its Graviton CPU household, there has by no means been a greater time to attempt Arm.