Cavium ThunderX Cluster to Crunch Big Data at University of Michigan

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Cavium Thunder X cluster

Today Cavium announced a new partnership that will position the University of Michigan as a leader in data-intensive scientific research by creating a powerful Big Data computing cluster using dual socket servers powered by Cavium’s ThunderX ARMv8-A workload optimized processors.

The cluster consists of 40 servers each containing 96 ARMv8 cores and 512 GB of RAM per server.  It is made possible though a partnership with Cavium in cooperation with Hortonworks, a leading open-source company and provider of the Hortonworks Data Platform.

U-M scientists are conducting groundbreaking research in Big Data already, in areas like connected and automated transportation, learning analytics, precision medicine and social science,” said Eric Michielssen, Associate Vice President for Advanced Research Computing (ARC). “This partnership with Cavium will accelerate the pace of data-driven research and opening up new avenues of inquiry.”

The ThunderX product family is Cavium’s 64-bit ARMv8-A server processor for next generation Data Center and Cloud applications, and features high performance custom cores, single and dual socket configurations, high memory bandwidth and large memory capacity. The product family also includes integrated hardware accelerators, integrated feature rich high bandwidth network and storage IO, fully virtualized core and IO, and scalable high bandwidth, low latency Ethernet fabric, which affords ThunderX best-in-class performance per dollar and watt. They are fully compliant with ARMv8-A architecture specifications as well as ARM’s SBSA and SBBR standards, and widely supported by industry leading OS, Hypervisor and Software tool and application vendors.

The $3.5 million ThunderX computing cluster will enable U-M researchers to, for example, process massive amounts of data generated by remote sensors in distributed manufacturing environments, or by test fleets of automated and connected vehicles.

U-M and Cavium chose to run the cluster on Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) which is based on open source Apache Hadoop. The ThunderX cluster will deliver high performance compute services for the Hadoop analytics and ultimately a total of 3 petabytes of storage space.

I know from experience that U-M researchers are capable of amazing discoveries,” said Syed Ali, MSEE ’81, founder and CEO of Cavium. “Cavium is honored to help break new ground in Big Data research at one of the top universities in the world.”

Alec Gallimore, Dean of the U-M College of Engineering, said the Cavium partnership is a milestone in the development of the college and the university. “It is clear that the ability to rapidly gain insights into vast amounts of data is key to the next wave of engineering and science breakthroughs,” he said. “Without a doubt, the Cavium platform will allow our faculty and researchers to harness the power of Big Data, both in the classroom and in their research.”

In related news, the ARM HPC User Group meeting will take place Monday, Nov. 13 from 1:00 – 6:30pm at the Grand Hyatt in Denver.

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