Cavium's ThunderX2 processor powers first 64-bit ARMv8 workstation

Cavium unveils the first 64-bit ARMv8 workstation platform based on its flagship ThunderX2 processor.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Cavium ​ThunderXStation

Cavium ThunderXStation

Looking for an ARM-based workstation? Cavium has you covered with its new ThunderXStation.

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The ThunderXStation, built by Gigabyte, is the industry's first 64-bit ARMv8 workstation, built around Cavium's flagship ThunderX2 processor. The workstation is built around a single- or dual- socket ThunderX2 motherboard in a 4U tower format. On top of that it comes with up to 16 DDR4 channels, six PCIe 3.0 slots, and two OCP x16 slots, two 1/10 gigabit Ethernet QLogic network ports, as well as the capacity for four NVMe and two 2.5-inch U.2/SATA III drives.

Graphics are handled by an Nvidia GeForce GT710 graphics card, and the system runs the CentOS 7.4 platform.

The ThunderX2 is Cavium's second generation 64-bit ARMv8-A server processor SoC aimed at data center, cloud and high-performance computing applications. The chips feature fully out-of-order high-performance custom cores, which can support both single and dual socket configurations. Cavium has optimized the ThunderX2 for high computational performance capable of delivering high amounts of memory bandwidth and capacity.

Not heard of Cavium's ThunderX2? Don't worry! The platform enjoys good support from not only industry-leading operating system, but also hypervisor and software tool and application vendors.

Also announced today is a collaboration between Cavium and Microsoft in the Open Compute Community for the company's ThunderX2 ARM servers.

Back in November of 2017, the two companies released the specification for the ThunderX2 server motherboard for Microsoft's Project Olympus.

"Today's demonstration is another key milestone in the collaboration between Microsoft and Cavium to drive ARMv8-based workload enablement and optimization in Microsoft's Project Olympus," said Dr. Leendert van Doorn, Distinguished Engineer, Azure, Microsoft Corp. "Our collective commitment to the OCP community along with exciting platform innovation is the type of leadership our customers and partners have come to expect. Working with Cavium to bring ThunderX2 to Project Olympus continues to demonstrate this leadership."

"We are very excited to expand our collaboration with Microsoft to demonstrate the first dual socket 64-bit ARMv8-A OCP platform with ThunderX2," said Gopal Hegde, Vice President & General Manager of the Data Center Processor Group, Cavium. "ThunderX2 continues to demonstrate the features and performance required by the most compute and IO intensive applications in the data center."

Also unveiled today by Cavium is a new network telemetry suite called Packet Trakker, aimed at secure and intelligent data processing for enterprise, data center, cloud, wired and wireless networking.

Packet Trakker works with XPliant switches and allows for features such as the exporting of detailed real-time switch utilization and network performance data to the preparation of telemetry information for display in visualization tools.

Packet Trakker can also be used to monitor system health an identify data center performance degradation and equipment failure, and detect latency fluctuations and packet loss.

"Packet Trakker is an intriguing powerful technology to address some of the critical challenges in today's networks," says Gavin Cato, Senior Vice President for Networking Development Engineering at Dell EMC. "Packet Trakker deployed on Dell EMC switches such as the S5148-ON has the ability to provide deeper insights into device resources and advance network analytics for better network operations."

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