HPE straps AMD chip into 2P/2U server box with Epyc results

DL385 blasts SPEC benchmark

HPE has upgraded its Opteron-using DL385p server with AMD Epyc processors and used it to notch up a pair of record SPEC benchmarks.

The ProLiant DL385 is a standard data centre, dual-processor, 2U rackmount, 24-drive bay, chassis, like the Xeon-using DL380. The existing Opteron-based DL385p was classed as a ProLiant Gen 9 box with the Epyc one called a ProLiant Gen 10. Mainstream Proliant Gen 9 and Gen 10 servers use Intel Xeons with the DL385s worshiping at AMD's processor temple instead.

AMD's Epyc processor runs from 8 to 32 cores, 4 more than Skylake's 28, has eight channels of memory and 128 lanes of PCIe 3 connectivity.

The DL385 can scale to 64 cores, 128 threads, 4TB of main memory and 128 PCIe lanes.

HPE_ProLiant_DL385_Gen_10

Two HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen 10 servers

HPE's silicon root of trust protection, seen on the Skylake Xeons, applies to the AMS DL385 as well, linking to a Secure Processor in the AMD Epyc SoC, ensuring only validated firmware can run.

This security subsystem means all or a portion of memory can be encrypted, and virtual machines and the hypervisor can have separate encryption keys, isolating the VMs from one another and from the hypervisor itself to protect them from memory hacks and scrapes.

We have no in-depth tech details but Anandtech saw a YouTube video, since removed, which mentioned:

  • 24 x NVMe drives or 30 x 2.5-inch SATA SSDs
  • 32 memory slots
  • 3 x double wide or 5 x single slot GPUs

The 24 NVMe drives fit the DL385 being a 24-bay box but the 30 x 2.5-inch SSDs does not.

Scott Aylor, corporate VP and GM of AMD's Enterprise unit, said in a canned statement: "With AMD Epyc the HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen10 can support more virtual machines per server, process more data in parallel, directly access more local storage, while more securely protecting data in memory." Sounds good, Scott.

The benchmarks are SPECrate 2017_fp_base and SPECfp_rate2006, HPE says. An AMD Epyc dual-CPU 7601-based DL385 system scored 257 on SPECrate2017_fp_base (throughput) and 1980 on the SPECfp_rate2006, both higher than any other two-socket system score published by SPEC.

A Skylake DL380 with dual Xeon Gold 6152 22-core CPUs scored 197 on the SPECrate2017_fp_base in comparison.

HPE's DL385 Epyc release says: "The combination of core-count and features attains up to 50 per cent lower cost per virtual machine (VM) HPE sees over traditional server solutions." Those traditional server products are not identified.

The Epyc-powered DL385 will be available in December. No pricing details have been made available. Read about it here. You can see the HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen10 with the AMD Epyc processor at HPE Discover Madrid, November 28–30, at booth #611 or in the petting zoo #623. ®

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