Gigabyte G481-S80 NVMe Storage Performance
We tested a few different NVMe storage configurations because this is one of the Gigabyte G481-S80 key differentiation points. Previous generation servers often utilized a single NVMe storage device if any at all. There are six SAS3/ SATA bays available but we are assuming those are being used for OS/ bulk storage given the system’s design.
These numbers are about what we would expect. Here is the key point: if you are buying a DGX-1.5 class system like the Gigabyte G481-S80, using Intel Optane is an exceedingly interesting NVMe option. For local storage, it offers lower latency and great bandwidth even at lower queue depths. We are using smaller drives here, but Intel Optane 905P drives are now much larger.
Of course, the flip side to this is that with a Gigabyte G481-S80 or DGX-1.5 class system, when Intel Cascade Lake-SP is finally announced one will be able to use Intel Optane Persistent Memory DIMMs for up to 3TB of memory channel Optane storage. This is something that the Intel Xeon E5 V4-based DGX-1 class systems cannot offer.
Gigabyte G481-S80 Networking Performance
We loaded the Gigabyte G481-S80 with a number of NICs. For the main networking NICs, we used Mellanox ConnectX-4 100GbE/ EDR Infiniband NICs. We want to note here that Gigabyte offers Omni-Path networking on this platform. We requested that our review sample come with OPA but we were unable to secure the internal cables and bracket in time. As a result, we went solely with Mellanox. The primary reason we used Mellanox ConnectX-4 for the 100Gbps networking is that we had cards on hand and did not have ConnectX-5 available. We also used this opportunity to test our Dell Z9100-ON 100GbE switch. If you are deploying this system, just get 4x Mellanox ConnectX-5 NICs.
At one point we had a ConnectX-3 card in the front PCIe x8 slot and used that for a single 40GbE connection. We also had our dual 25GbE Broadcom NIC installed in the OCP slot. As a result, we fired everything up and saw just how much bandwidth we could push.
This is one of the unique aspects to the DGX-1.5 class design of the Gigabyte G481-S80. Each Mellanox NIC is paired with two SXM2 NVIDIA Tesla GPUs. If you are not pushing data to the GPUs, then you have four 100GbE NICs connected through four PCIe switches each with a PCIe x16 uplink. That adds a slight amount of latency, but also means that there is a massive improvement in network bandwidth compared to our DeepLearning11 single root system build.
Gigabyte G481-S80 Management
These days, out of band management is a standard feature on servers. Gigabyte offers an industry standard solution for traditional management, including a Web GUI. This is based on the ASPEED AST2500 solution, a leader in the BMC field.
With the Gigabyte Gigabyte G481-S80 solution, one has access to the Avocent MergePoint based solution. This is a popular management suite that allows integration into many systems management frameworks.
Gigabyte allows users to utilize Serial-over-LAN and iKVM consoles from before a system is turned on, all the way into the OS. Other vendors such as HPE, Dell EMC, and Lenovo charge an additional license upgrade for this capability (among others with their higher license levels.) That is an extremely popular feature because it makes remote troubleshooting simple.
At STH, we do all of our testing in remote data centers. Having the ability to remote console into the machines means we do not need to make trips to the data center to service the lab even if BIOS changes or manual OS installs are required.
Next, we are going to look at the Gigabyte G481-S80 power consumption. We are then going to present our server spider which will be followed by our final words on the platform.