At Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas, Dell EMC launched a new training and inferencing platform. The Dell EMC DSS8440 is a 4U server that is optimized for expansion and is a long-awaited entry by the company into the training space. The Dell EMC DSS 8440 headlines support for up to ten PCIe based GPUs in the company’s push for deep learning and inferencing throughout its portfolio.
Dell EMC DSS 8440 Overview
At Dell Technologies World 2019, the company showed off the DSS 8440 with NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. The company offers varying numbers of GPUs along with different memory sizes.
These GPUs are fitted on a PCB that handles PCIe slots which is separate from the motherboard. Perhaps the most differentiating feature here is that the Dell EMC DSS 8440 faces the PCIe I/O plates in the middle of the chassis while making the entire front of the chassis a fan wall instead of using it for hot swap storage. We have reviewed eight and ten GPU systems from a number of vendors including our recent Inspur Systems NF5468M5 Review 4U 8x GPU and every other competitive system we reviewed puts GPU I/O at the rear (or front) of the chassis. Dell EMC says that this design ensures cool airflow comes from the inlet hitting the high-value GPUs first.
In terms of processors, the system is a dual LGA3647 solution for Intel Xeon Scalable processors. This includes 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors with Intel Optane DCPMM support.
At the rear of the chassis, Dell has an array of ten drives which can be NVMe or SAS/ SATA. There are four 2.4kW power supplies as well as a massive array of PCIe slots for fabric and other devices.
Here is a video overview of the platform:
This is a platform that Dell EMC needed. 8x and 10x GPU systems are very popular in the market. Using a cabled PCIe solution allows Dell EMC to upgrade the server making only minor changes if a customer wants. The company is also getting a lot of rear I/O compared to competitive options, albeit sacrificing storage with the design.
During the show, we asked Thierry Pellegrino VP of Business Strategy & HPC Solutions at Dell EMC about support for RTX cards like the GeForce RTX 2000 series and Quadro RTX (which incidentally NVIDIA allows in servers.) Thierry said that Dell EMC would follow NVIDIA’s usage requirements which means no validating GeForce RTX cards in the near future. He also highlighted the versatility of the machine insofar as it can be used both for training and inferencing. There was a slight nod to the fact that Dell EMC works with its partners on multi-generational roadmaps and that this was a platform the company sees a strong future for.
For STH readers, this is likely going to seem long overdue, but we are excited to see Dell EMC enter the 4U eight and ten GPU market.