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Taneja Blog / Big Data / Data Center Systems

Scaling All Flash to New Heights - DDN Flashscale All Flash Array Brings HPC to the Data Center

It's time to start thinking about massive amounts of flash in the enterprise data center. I mean PBs of flash for the biggest, baddest, fastest data-driven applications out there. This amount of flash requires an HPC-capable storage solution brought down and packaged for enterprise IT management. Which is where Data Domain Networks (aka DDN) is stepping up. Perhaps too quietly, they have been hard at work pivoting their high-end HPC portfolio into the enterprise space. Today they are rolling out a massively scalable new flash-centric Flashscale 14KXi storage array that will help them offer complete, comprehensive single-vendor big data workflow solutions - from the fastest scratch through the biggest throughput parallel file systems into the largest distributed object storage archives.

The core Flashscale 14KXi node is 4U, delivering 6M IOPs (<1ms) using a PCIe3 embedded fabric. Each node holds 72 SAS or 48 NVMe dual port SSDs (or a mix). With the new 8TB SSDs, that provides 576TB raw in each node. Then they've scaled this monster up to 17 racks (so far) which gives 46PB and 10Tb/s. Of course, DDN is expert at converge in Lustre, GPFS, et.al. (e.g. DDN GridScaler) on their SFA architecture. When we talked recently they mentioned a few new enterprise use cases, but let's just say that it's not just for supercomputing as the common enterprise is discovering profitable ways to leverage this kind of power.

Unlike HPC academics, IT driven enterprises want and need a single vendor to converge complex big data storage workflows. We think DDN has now aligned with the common enterprise drive to leverage bigger data, ride the emerging IoT, and quest for competitive machine learning. Who else can do this today? EMC has long had a hole in their native matrix of storage coverage for fast and scalable HPC "enabling" storage - having to partner with others for Lustre (or even GPFS) solutions. IBM might have some play here with GPFS based storage and Cleversafe technology (and their cloud), but they don't have a massive flash solution. For enterprises I think this is a race to the top, and long-time HPC solution providers might find it easier coming from the top down.

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  • Premiered: 05/17/16
  • Author: Mike Matchett
Topic(s): DDN HPC Big Data SSD Flash SAN Lustre GPFS

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