5 min

Lenovo Visit by CDW Highlights New Servers and Cooling Technology

CDW Canada team members privy to deeper dive discussions and previews of ThinkSystem V3 high-performance computing (HPC) servers.

Women working in a data centre.

“Way cool” might be the best way to describe the new servers and systems-cooling technology revealed by Lenovo with a group of CDW Canada product and solution specialists, during an orientation and tour of its facilities in North Carolina.

In March, the CDW Canada team members were privy to deeper dive discussions and demonstrations of Lenovo’s rollout of new high-performance computing (HPC) servers. Highlighting the event was the rollout of new ThinkSystem V3 rack and tower servers, powered by 4th generation Intel Xeon, Sapphire Rapids and Emerald Rapids processors. Featured are seven new server offerings that provide three-to-one server/rack consolidation, up to a 53 percent improvement in per-watt performance plus updated system management and enhanced security.

Lenovo data centre solutions for all kinds of organizations

The ThinkSystem SR650 V3 server is designed to take full advantage of Xeon 350W 60-core processors, offers support for 4800 MHz memory as well as PCIe Gen 5.0 support. The SR650 V3 also offers more than 30 different drive bay configurations in the front, middle and rear and five different slot configurations at the back.

According to Lenovo, the performance and management improvements of its Intel-based ThinkSystem V3 portfolio provide up to a three-times reduction in IT footprint to achieve greater ROI and easier infrastructure transformation through a single platform designed for artificial intelligence (AI), virtualization, multicloud and sustainable computing demands. Lenovo says its new systems are designed as IT modernization solutions for organizations of all sizes.

A CDW Canada HPC specialist noted the company’s long HPC history, saying: “HPC is in Lenovo’s DNA. They have a lot of teams dedicated to HPC, including their development. They’ve been in this space for quite a while and have most of the top 500 clusters in the world.”

The CDW team also got to take a close look at Lenovo’s ruggedized ThinkSystem SE350 Server, a purpose-built edge device designed for Internet of Things (IoT) applications with motion sensors that detect when the server is disrupted or moved.

As noted by one CDW Canada solutions manager: “If that server gets moved, it turns itself off and encrypts everything before doing so. It’s a key piece of technology for many who are embarking on a cloud journey. You can’t put everything in the cloud. You’ve got things that must be close to the user or the machine…whatever the IoT use case is…or if there are other latency sensitivities.”

How Lenovo keeps things cool in the data centre

Lenovo also demonstrated its data centre cooling technology called Neptune, first released more than 10 years ago, that uses liquid cooling to extract heat from modern computing systems that generate high thermal outputs. Neptune liquid-to-air technology has now been extended to V3 rack servers, allows for higher operating ambient temperature and can cool 365-watt CPUs in storage-rich configuration systems.

The Neptune 5th generation water cooling technology is now available with the ThinkSystem SD665 V3 and SD665-N V3 rack servers with 4th generation EPYC processors and can capture up to 100 percent of system heat. Liquid cooling has become a vital consideration for an emerging generation of central processing units (CPUs) and graphic processing units (GPUs) where power requirements are extreme. Air fans typically used in many systems simply can’t adequately provide enough cooling to manage the extreme heat generated by today’s high-performance servers and that’s why more advanced cooling technology is required.

“It is likely physically impossible for fans to push air through heat syncs to cool those,” says a CDW solutions manager, who toured Lenovo’s thermal laboratory. “And even if you could cool one server, try cooling 40 that are stacked on top of each other. Add to that the heat generated by GPUs that generate even more heat than CPUs.

“Lenovo is way ahead on water cooling as the medium to move generated heat. They demonstrated this by putting two of the highest wattage CPUs and four GPUs for a total of 3500 watts in a one-use server and cooled it with water (technology). A customer that needs any number of multiple servers, working at 100 percent utilization…it will just not be possible to cool with fans and air.”

During the briefing, Lenovo also explained how organizations today are adopting a greener approach when it comes to IT by applying capture technologies to transfer heat generated by server equipment to other locations and are able to replace or augment boilers and hot-water systems.

“Even smaller data centres are doing this,” a CDW Canada solutions expert explains. “They’re capturing water in a way that can be used to transport energy. Water cooling (technology) makes it easier.”

How Lenovo supports AI innovation

Finally, Lenovo offered CDW Canada representatives a tour of its facility that supports its AI Innovators; a program that was launched last year. To date, AI Innovators includes more than 30 AI independent software vendor (ISV) partners who provide a wide range of applications and services and represent more than $1 billion in venture capital investment.

Lenovo’s AI workloads proof-of-concept lab offers AI innovators a place to experiment with and develop their AI applications or address challenges using Lenovo hardware and solutions.

A CDW Canada solutions specialist who was particularly impressed and excited by the benefits that the lab may provide, noted: “If we are working with Lenovo on (the AI challenges of CDW Canada customers), we now have resources available to us from them to take a customer’s problem and actually model it in a proof-of-concept data centre, with consultation around it that we don’t have today in-house.”