How Lenovo’s ThinkSystem Makes the Most of AMD's EPYC

eWEEK PRODUCT ANALYSIS RESOURCE PAGE: Take a closer look at Lenovo’s latest data center solutions and how they make the most out of AMD’s new EPYC silicon.

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Surprises are generally frowned upon in business technology, mainly because the unexpected usually portends bad news for IT staff and data center owners. But occasionally surprises are harbingers of positive news or progressive developments that benefit businesses and the vendors on which they rely.

AMD’s new second-generation EPYC 7002 series processors fit comfortably into that category, as do the new Lenovo ThinkSystem SR635 and ThinkSystem SR655 servers that leverage AMD’s silicon. Let’s take a closer look at Lenovo’s latest data center solutions and how they make the most out of AMD’s new EPYC silicon.

AMD’s EPYC achievements

In its official announcement last week, AMD underscored some of the second-generation EPYC’s key features and design points, including offering up to 64 Zen 2 cores per SOC, thus supporting up to 23% more instructions per clock (IPC) per core on server workloads. The new chips also offer up to 4X more L3 Cache that previous-generation EPYC chips.

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Plus, the next-generation AMD Infinity Architecture provides the company’s customers access to the most I/O and memory bandwidth in its class, including support for PCIe Generation 4. Finally, second-gen EPYC includes a silicon embedded security subsystem and advanced security features like Secure Memory Encryption and Secure Encrypted Virtualization.

As a result, AMD claimed that systems utilizing the new chips will deliver “record-setting” performance while helping reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) by up to 50% across numerous workloads. The launch event also offered testimonials by several AMD strategic partners. Lenovo and HPE announced the immediate availability of new platforms based on second-gen EPYC, and Google and Twitter announced they would begin deployment of systems leveraging AMD silicon in the coming weeks.

Lenovo ThinkSystem SR635 and SR655

So how is Lenovo putting AMD’s new EPYC solutions to use? In its launch announcement, the company noted that its initial offerings were specifically built for EPYC 7002 Series chips in order to help customers handle evolving, data-intensive workloads, including video security, software-defined storage and supporting virtualized and edge computing environments.

Lenovo claimed that the servers provide more throughput, lower latency, higher core density and the largest NVMe drive capacity of any single socket offerings in the market. In essence, the enhancements supported by AMD EPYC 7002 Series result in Lenovo servers that deliver compelling price/performance to lower customers’ total cost of ownership in response to continually rising IT costs. In addition, those capabilities also provide a foundation for new Lenovo hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions. According to the company:

  • ThinkSystem SR635 is ideal for I/O intensive workloads, from databases and analytics, to virtualized environments such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and hybrid cloud. The 1U, single socket rack server is designed to offer the balanced processor power, performance, memory and I/O of a 2-socket server at the value and total cost of ownership of a 1-socket server. The ThinkSystem SR635 features a balanced design specifically tuned for virtualization and scale-out software-defined storage. Capacity for up to 16×2.5” drives means the server is designed for storage-intense workloads. When outfitted with 16 low-latency NVMe drives, it provides 60% more NVMe and IOPS/box for OLTP, analytics, software-defined and HPC storage applications. It also supports up to three single-wide graphic processing units (GPUs) utilizing three PCIe Gen4 slots achieving up to 16 GT/s for increased acceleration. Plus, it supports up to 1TB of DDR4 memory capacity using 16 DIMMs, boosting memory-constrained workloads such as Microsoft SQL Server.
  • ThinkSystem SR655 is designed to deliver outstanding TCO for Virtualization, Big data, Analytics, and scale up software defined deployments. It offers two-socket performance in a 2U, single-socket design, featuring higher core, and storage density; increased I/O throughput with less latency; along with built-in system security. The ThinkSystem SR655 is a multi-GPU optimized rack server, providing support for up to 6 single-wide GPUs that offer 200% more workload acceleration in AI inference, and virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI). The SR655 can support up to 32 NVMe solid-state drives that, when paired with high speed networking, make it an excellent choice for workloads that need large amounts of low-latency high-bandwidth storage, including virtualized clustered SAN solutions, software-defined storage (SDS), and applications leveraging NVMe over Fabric. Outfitted with up to 9 PCIe Gen4 slots provides scalability that make it well-suited for capacity planning and supply chain optimization use cases.

Final Analysis

The final measure of any new technology component lies in how well it helps end customers capture and enjoy unique new capabilities and value. By that definition, AMD’s second-generation EPYC processors deliver the goods in servers that optimally blend enhanced performance and high levels of system and power efficiency.

At the same time, those new features and functions are nothing without OEM vendors that fully understand how to put them to use. With its new ThinkSystem SR635 and SR655 solutions, Lenovo has proven that it has what it takes to make the most of AMD’s EPYC capabilities. The new servers also cast light on the considerable commercial success that Lenovo’s Data Center Group has enjoyed over the last few quarters, as well as the company’s leadership in global supercomputing and in delivering unique new offerings, such as its “pay for what you use” TruScale Infrastructure Services.

Overall, the new ThinkSystem SR635 and SR655 servers show Lenovo continuing to do what it does best and helping its customers and partners reap the benefits.

Charles King is a principal analyst at PUND-IT and a regular contributor to eWEEK.  © 2019 Pund-IT, Inc. All rights reserved.