Cisco unveils deep learning server for AI and ML

Cisco unveils deep learning server for AI and ML

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Networking giant Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA) has unveiled its first server "built from the ground up" for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) workloads.
By Rich Pell

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The new Cisco UCS server, says the company, is designed to help enterprises address emerging IT challenges from the growing use of AI projects and their effects on underlying infrastructure and processes. The UCS server speeds up deep learning – a compute-intensive form of machine learning that uses neural networks and large data sets to train computers for complex tasks – and accelerates many common machine learning software stacks.

The server is “packed with powerful Nvidia GPUs” to enable deep learning at scale, which requires an IT architecture that is capable of taking in vast sets of data as well as tools that can make sense of the data and use it to learn. That is why, says the company, it is working with its technology partners to validate many of today’s most popular machine learning tools and to help simplify deployments and accelerate time to insight.

“Over the next few years, apps powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning will become mainstream in the enterprise,” says Roland Acra, SVP and GM for Cisco’s Data Center Business Group. “While this will solve many complex business issues, it will also create new challenges for IT.”

“Today’s powerful addition to the Cisco UCS lineup will power AI initiatives across a wide range of industries,” says Acra. “Our early-access customers in the financial sector are exploring ways to improve fraud detection and enhance algorithmic trading. Meanwhile in healthcare, they’re interested in better insights and diagnostics, improving medical image classification, and speeding drug discovery and research.”

Developed in partnership with Nvidia, the C480 ML M5 rack server supports eight Nvidia Tesla V100 Tensor Core GPUs with Nvidia NVLink interconnect. Its 24 SFF drive bays support over 182 TB of SSD storage.

Other features include dual Intel Xeon Scalable processors up to 28 cores, up to 3 TB of memory using 128 GB 2666 MHz DDR4 DIMMS, and four PCI Express (PCIe) 3.0 slots for 100G Cisco UCS VIC 1495 or other adapters. In addition, the C480 ML M5 has a modular internal Flex storage option (M.2 SATA), Cisco Integrated Management Controller (IMC), and two 10Base-T Gbps LOM Ethernet ports.

The Cisco UCS C480 ML M5 rack server adds to the company’s portfolio of UCS B-Series, C-Series, and HyperFlex systems. It will be available to buy from Cisco partners in Q4 2018, along with a range of AI and ML support capabilities from Cisco Services that span analytics, deep-learning and automation.

Cisco Systems

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