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DDN boss sees big data, HPC storage loom large in ‘13

Big data and Hadoop gained a lot of attention for their role in storage in 2012, but those technologies remained mostly in the high performance computing (HPC).

Alex Bouzari, CEO of HPC storage vendor DataDirect Networks (DDN), said that will change in 2013. He expects big data to come into the mainstream and drag HPC with it. He expects DDN to come for the ride into the mainstream after more than a decade of handling big data needs before anybody called it big data.

“High performance computing has come of age,” Bouzari said, “and it’s now called big data.

“Big data is really the democratization of high performance computing. What was limited to a small number of extreme requirements has become commonplace. Now we’re seeing big data and high growth data across markets – the web, cloud and commercial high performance segments.”

It could be wishful thinking on his part, but Bouzari said big data requirements have already spilled into the enterprise, especially financial services, healthcare and manufacturing. He expects that to result in more cloud storage implementations as companies struggle to store and analyze data for their businesses.

That could be a boon to object-storage systems built for cloud scale, such as DDN’s Web Object Scaler (WOS) system. Bouzari also sees a need to make Hadoop work better with storage built for big data.

“Customers say ‘we love what Hadoop can do for us, but we need it as a product that can solve a business problem,’” Bouzari said. “Customers are looking to maximize the performance of Hadoop. We can greatly accelerate Hadoop.”

Bouzari also sees flash playing a role in big data, although until now the price of solid state storage has made it cost benefit for smaller data sets that need high performance. Bouzari said he is starting to see that change among DDN’s customer base.

“All-flash storage for high performance computing is one of those things that seemed to make a lot of sense, but proved cost prohibitive in many environments,” he said. “We’re did some all-solid state deployments [in 2012] but they were typically deployed as part of much larger IT infrastructures. As the cost of non-volatile memory continues to decrease, the ability to use it to serve huge amounts of content will make solid-state more attractive.”

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