Lenovo launches AMC EPYC two-socket servers

The ThinkSystem SR645 and SR665, which use the second-generation AMD EPYC server processors, follow up the one-socket EPYC servers introduced last summer.

The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR665

Today, the Lenovo Data Center Group is launching two new two-socket servers, the ThinkSystem SR645, a 1U server, and the SR665, a 2U offering. Both feature the second-generation AMD EPYC 7002 series processors, and are aimed at higher performance workloads than the one-socket servers with this generation of EPYC chips which launched last summer.

“These have flexibility for mass workloads as opposed to being optimized for single environments,” said Kamran Amini, Vice President and General Manager of Server, Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure, Lenovo Data Center Group. “These are our Swiss Army Knife servers. Two-socket is still the majority of what customers deploy today.”

These second generation EPYC servers were analyst darlings for their performance when they rolled out last year, and while some of the attraction was dimmed by VMware’s changes to their pricing strategy, which reduced the value of these EPYCs having 64 cores per socket, Amini said that their value proposition still resonates.

“That value proposition is focused on winning in specific areas and we targeted it at a couple of key segments where its 2 TB memory and massive IO were important,” Amini said. “We saw some good success with third party providers, as a pure consolidation play to consolidate footprints, in HPC where a single socket was sufficient enough, and in video analytics. We expected a bigger picture of two socket consolidation, with two sockets going to one, but while some customers saw the value, many still see the resiliency of having 2 CPUs, so we saw less of a transition there than we expected.”

Ultimately, the one-socket EPYCs were focused on specific workloads, and on a price-performance story, which Amini said made them an excellent offering for Lenovo channel partners.

“The new two-socket servers go into places that the single socket servers didn’t address, including broader HPC computing and large scale virtualization deployments,” he indicated. “They are aimed at expanding into more mainstream virtualization and software defined offerings, going deeper into video analytics and AI, and moving to a different level of accommodating customers in the HPC space. For example, in dealing with the coronavirus, the biggest issue was getting patient data to see what goes on, and you needs analytics to assess that data.”

While the one-socket EPYC servers offered a straight price-performance play for the channel, the value proposition of the two-sockets is different.

“These ones are for resellers who sell solutions into these emerging environments – VDI, analytics, inferencing and AI, commercial HPC,” Amini said. “Those who sell solutions, not just boxes, should be able to deliver a compelling story.”

Amini stressed that the enhancements of these servers over the previous generation exceed what customers expect from normal generational improvement.

“From a customer perspective, it really goes beyond the GPU generational performance enhancement, and is really at a platform level,” he said.

“The SR665 has 40 SSD bays, 32 of which can be NVM, to provide a massive amount of capability on the storage front,” he said. “Another game-changing element is the amount of GPUs supported, for just up to 8 single-wide NVIDIA GPUs, but 3 double-wide.” PCIe 4 support doubles I/O bandwidth to eliminate bottlenecks and provide the networking capabilities needed for I/O intensive applications.

“In addition to the AMD technology, these servers benefit from our being number one in reliability and uptime,” Amini stated. “Everyone will have access to this  technology, but it’s how you build on it and differentiate it that matters. The management of our XClarity suite is supported on these platforms.” While the benchmarking for these is not yet complete, he said Lenovo will have leading benchmarks which include running SAP on the SR665, and in power efficiency.

The new servers are secured by Lenovo ThinkShield and available through the Lenovo TruScale consumption-based model.