This post is short since it's an update to a previous post which can be found here.
Early Holiday Gift
On November 8th, 2021, Microsoft delivered an early Holiday Gift by announcing the preview availability of an upgraded version of the Azure HBv3 virtual machines. This upgraded instance was enhanced by 3rd Gen AMD EPYC™ processors with AMD 3D V-cache, codenamed “Milan-X”.
Being a Microsoft Partner, and always staying at the forefront of HPC in the cloud, delivering one of the easiest to use and scale HPC cloud platforms, HPCBOX, we at Drizti, had to get our hands on this new hardware and make sure our HPCBOX platform was able to support it immediately on GA. So, obviously, we signed up for the private preview and Microsoft was kind enough to get us access around late November/early December.
I won't be going into much detail of the technical specification for the upgraded SKU since a lot of information and initial benchmark results have been provided on this Azure Blog and this Microsoft Tech Community article. In short, this upgraded SKU has the same InfiniBand capability as the original HBv3 i.e., HDR, same amount of 448GB memory and local scratch nVME. However, the main change is the switch to AMD EPYC™ processors with AMD 3D V-cache, codenamed “Milan-X” which offers a significant boost to L3 cache and brings it to around 1.5 gigabytes on a dual socket HBv3 instance.
Tests and Amazing Results
We performed a few tests to make sure that the HPCBOX platform was ready to support this upgraded SKU once it was released. We highlight the tests and the execution time speedup we noticed for them. I am not including case names and details here because some of them are customer model files. However, if you would like to get more details feel free to contact us.
In the above screenshot, you can see 4 powered-on HBv3 compute workers on an HPCBOX cluster. These HBv3 instances are the upgraded version of the SKU and on the right you can see the CPU information.
The tests were run on an HPCBOX cluster using CentOS 7.X as the base image.
In the chart and table above, we can clearly see a good improvement in performance using Milan-X. The larger cache size seems to give a good boost for the applications we tested and it appears that this boost will most likely be experienced with other workloads as well.
Availability in HPCBOX
Being at the forefront of HPC in the cloud, specifically on Microsoft Azure, Drizti is ready for the GA release of the upgraded HBv3 instances and we will be continuing our tests and providing feedback to Microsoft. We have a few more tests to conduct and also to make sure our AutoScaler is able to perform as expected with the Milan-X instances. It appears that the new HBv3 will be a drop in replacement in HPCBOX and most likely will just work out of the box with all the functionality delivered by HPCBOX.
Microsoft Azure has been the leader in delivering cutting-edge infrastructure for HPC in the cloud and we are privileged to have been partnering with the Azure HPC team. We had the opportunity of not only being a launch part for the original HBv3 "Milan" instances, but now, also be one of the early partners to test compatibility of these upgraded SKUs with Milan-X.
AMD EPYC "Milan" was a big upgrade for HPC and with Milan-X, it appears that AMD has advanced further and delivered another cutting-edge CPU with amazing performance.
Drizti, with our HPCBOX platform on Microsoft Azure is able to deliver a fully interactive Supercomputing experience for our users and it's very exciting that we can upgrade our end users and accelerate their innovation in minutes by just upgrading their compute nodes!
Contact us to learn how you can get rid of in-house hardware and/or your existing cloud presence and get a seamless HPC upgrade to HPCBOX on Azure.
Founder and CTO, Drizti Inc
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