Cisco Readies New Hardware Optimized for Deep Learning

A new server designed to support deep learning projects is coming from Cisco Systems Inc.

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, called the Cisco UCS C480 ML, 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 specs include:

  • Eight 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, a.k.a. almost 3TB of total memory ("large memory footprint to deliver performance and capacity for large model training")
  • 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," said Roland Acra, senior vice president and general manager for Cisco's Data Center Business Group, 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 vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital strategy. She also serves as executive editor of the group's media Web sites, and you'll even find her byline on, the group's newest site for enterprise developers working with AI. She recently gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web technology may impact publishers' bottom lines. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.


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