At Computex 2018 we had the opportunity to spend some time with QCT’s server products. For those who do not know QCT, they are an absolutely huge server provider with many billions of dollars worth of revenue. In markets like the US and Europe they are less well known than other players of their size because QCT primarily focuses on hyperscale customers. The company’s primary focus has been large cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, Google, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and others. Still, the company does produce standard rackmount servers that if it chose to market to customers outside of a super 7 or the top dozen providers could be successful. While at Computex 2018 we saw a number of interesting designs for networking products that we covered in QCT QuantaMesh T9032-IX9 Say Hello to the 32-port 400GbE Switch. We also wanted to cover two designs we saw on the server side.
Hello Samsung SZ985 Z-NAND Array
Below is a QCT QuantaGrid D52G-4U platform that you can see is marked Cascade. Cascade is a hyperscale focused PCIe centric design used in platforms like Big Basin. The showcase had a giant PCIe array, although there are 8x SXM2 GPU trays available as well. Instead of using all NVIDIA Tesla V100’s like most vendors would do, QCT did something different. They showed off the giant PCIe array using Samsung SZ985 Z-NAND drives. We first spotted the SZ985 at OCP Summit 2018, but this is the most drives we have seen in one chassis.
Most of the focus on large PCIe systems is on GPUs, FPGAs, and other accelerators for deep learning and AI training workloads and for good reason. These are the systems that absolutely need inter-PCIe slot bandwidth and are highly compute bound. The bigger you can make systems, the easier it is to train models without having to scale out to additional chassis. The QuantaGrid D52G-4U features 8x NVMe hot swap bays in front along with 16 SAS/ SATA SSDs. using the tray built for up to 16x single width GPUs means that there are options to mix things such as the single width NVIDIA Tesla V100 with Samsung SZ985 Z-NAND SSDs.
Quanta QCT QuantaGrid Q72D-2U 4-Socket Intel Xeon Scalable
The majority of today’s systems are dual socket, but with the new Skylake-SP generation of Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs, 4-socket servers are considerably more accessible. Using Intel Xeon Gold 6100 or Platinum 8100 parts gives the three UPI links necessary for 4-socket operation where each CPU has a direct link to every other CPU. The QCT QuantaGrid Q72D-2U is a flexible 2U server designed for up to four Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs.
The system features a unique design where the motherboard is housed on a tray. This tray can slide out from the chassis and parts such as DIMMs can be replaced or upgraded without having to move the entire chassis.
For expansion, the QCT QuantaGrid Q72D-2U features six PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, two PCIe 3.0 x8 slots, and OCP mezzanine slots for networking and SAS. RAM capacity is listed at 6TB using “M” series Intel Xeon Scalable parts and 48x 128GB DIMMs.
QCT has some great products, but the company is focused on selling high volumes to the largest customers in the world. We have a number of STH readers even using decommissioned Quanta servers in quantity as they are built well. It is always great to see the innovations that QCT is driving in the marketplace and the use of the Samsung SZ985 Z-NAND SSDs was a great touch at the show.