While the Quantum announcement is the most interesting from a technology perspective, today Dell is also announcing new Dell PowerEdge servers for high-performance computing, and an HPC service offering, Dell APEX High Performance Computing.
Today Dell Technologies is making three related announcement around high-performance computing [HPC]. The ones which will have the most immediate commercial impact are additions to the HPC component of the Dell PowerEdge server portfolio, and a new Dell APEX High Performance Computing offering for the APEX as-a-Service platform. Long-term, the company sees Quantum computing as vitally important however, and while it is still several years away from mainstream application use, Dell is announcing its Dell Quantum Computing Solution. It will work in a hybrid manner with traditional compute to educate customers on their Quantum journey, with the ability to develop a route to productize Quantum going forward.
“It’s still very early in gaining that computational advantage to show value with Quantum,” said Ken Durazzo, Vice President, OCTO Research Office, Dell Technologies. “It is quite different from mainstream computing. What we are doing with this new Quantum solution is trying to get ready for the Quantum era.”
Jungsang Kim, co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Dell strategic partner IonQ, who is a professor at Duke and a recognized Quantum expert, drew an analogy between Quantum today and the early days of the Internet.
“Companies who didn’t take the Internet seriously are not doing very well today,” Kim said. “Quantum is like that today. It’s the equivalent of that. It is like the era where Amazon was selling books on the internet.”
How fast the market is moving to Quantum is hard to tell, Kim acknowledged.
“In some of these new disruptive opportunities, it’s hard to see where the market is going,” he said. “It’s a matter of how big an impact it can make. GPUs in High Performance computing were once minor, but in 2012 they really took off because of the rise in machine learning, and now HPC is now everywhere. Before that, machine learning had been limited given the types of computation available, but the shift to GPUs created these new computational capabilities. Demand for some of these Quantum applications might really take off as well, because we are unlocking capabilities that will provide new opportunities for discovery across the industry.”
Durazzo sees considerable momentum building in this early stage of Quantum’s development.
“One thing I’m currently seeing is a broad spectrum of both public and private institutions asking how to get involved in Quantum today,” he said. “The leading edge use cases show the power of Quantum.”
While most channel partners are typically reluctant to make big investments in bleeding edge technologies, for fear the market demand is anticipatory rather than present, Durazzo thinks this customer interest will bring partners with it.
“I see the big customers as pulling the channel into Quantum,” he said.
The new Dell Quantum Computing solution, which is orderable today, is designed to get customers acquainted with Quantum and what it can do for them.
“It is really a foundational offering and an extension to that, with PowerEdge servers, Dell software, and some open source software,” Durazzo stated. “We’ve been working with Quantum since 2016. Customers can start their journey using this, initially building out proofs of concept and then moving to productization. They can start learning today, and develop a path to productization, so they can go through the entire journey Through our partnership with IonQ they will have access to their platform.”
Durazzo acknowledged that Quantum security has to be improved significantly for this all to take off.
“We are invested heavily in experimentation around post-Quantum cryptography and cryptographic agility,” he said.
“Education is one part of this, but it’s more about innovation,” Kim noted. “We have a road map to see how computational power will evolve over time over the next couple of years. By the middle of the decade, we think some applications will pull away.”
The Dell Quantum Computing Solution is available today in the U.S. and Canada.
The new Dell PowerEdge servers have been designed in collaboration with Intel and NVIDIA for model training, HPC modeling and simulation, core-to-edge inferencing and data visualization.
The PowerEdge XE9680 is Dell’s first high performance 8x GPU server, with eight NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs or NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs, and with two upcoming 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and eight NVIDIA GPUs.
The PowerEdge XE9640 is a 2U 4x GPU PowerEdge server, combining Intel Xeon processors and Intel Data Center GPU Max Series. Dell says that it can reduce energy cost by up to 3.1 times with liquid cooling and greater rack density utilization.
The PowerEdge XE8640 is an air-cooled 4x GPU 4U server featuring four NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs and NVIDIA NVLink technology, along with two upcoming 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors.
All three of these servers have planned global availability in the first half of 2023.
Dell also announced a new as-a-service offering, APEX High Performance Computing. It lets customers run large scale compute-intensive HPC workloads delivered as-a-Service with a fully managed, subscription-based experience. Customers can choose between solutions for life sciences and manufacturing workloads. The solution includes an HPC cluster manager, a container orchestrator, a workload manager and underlying HPC-optimized hardware configurations. Dell APEX High Performance Computing is available today in the US, but is not yet available in Canada.
Finally, the company announced a new Dell Validated Design for HPC around risk assessment, to look at large volumes of historical and real-time data and better analyze risk and return faster. The configurations are designed, validated and tuned for this specific use case by Dell HPC engineers and workload experts, and tale the form of modular IT building blocks. It is available globally now.