Cisco Announces New Server Designed for Deep Learning Projects

Cisco Systems Inc. this week announced a new server that it says is specifically designed to support deep learning projects and other large, processing-intensive datasets used for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning projects.

Cisco defines deep learning as "a compute-intensive form of machine learning that uses neural networks and large data sets to train computers for complex tasks." The company said the new server specifically supports these processes via a combination of computing capability plus "an IT architecture that is capable of taking in vast sets of data."

The server itself, called the Cisco UCS C480 ML, consists of 8 Nvidia SXM2 V100 32 modules (for "fast deep learning model training"), Intel Xeon processors with up to 28 cores per socket, 2666-MHz DDr5 memory with 24 DIMM slots, aka almost 3TB of total memory ("large memory footprint to deliver performance and capacity for large model training"), and integrated dual 10-Gbdp Ethernet ("increased network I/O performance and additional network options"). It can be deployed standalone or within a Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS)-managed environment.

"Over the next few years, apps powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning will become mainstream in the enterprise," Roland Acra, senior vice president and general manager for Cisco's Data Center Business Group, commented in a prepared statement announcing the server. "Today's powerful addition to the Cisco UCS lineup will power AI initiatives across a wide range of industries."

"The incorporation of Nvidia's Tesla V100 Tensor Core GPUs into Cisco's new UCS server gives businesses in every industry a powerful new solution for advancing their AI initiatives," commented Ian Buck, vice president and general manager of Accelerated Computing at Nvidia. "With Nvidia GPUs, AI models that had required weeks of computing resource can now be trained in a few hours, enabling a whole new world of problems to be solved with AI."

According to Cisco, the new server will be available for purchase via Cisco partners in "Q4 2018."

More about Cisco's overall push toward an AI-focused architecture, also announced this week, can be found here.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the former editorial director and director of Web for 1105 Media's Converge 360 group, and she now serves as vice president of AI for company, specializing in developing media, events and training for companies around AI and generative AI technology. She's the author of "ChatGPT Prompt 101 Guide for Business Users" and other popular AI resources with a real-world business perspective. She regularly speaks, writes and develops content around AI, generative AI and other business tech. Find her on X/Twitter @beckynagel.