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DataDirect Networks re-architects HPC storage

DataDirect Networks has added performance to its top-end high-performance computing (HPC) platform.

DDN this week launched its SFA12K series, which will replace the SFA10K product that the vendor has had success selling to HPC shops.

DDN CEO Alex Bouzari said the biggest improvements over the SFA10K are the internal network inside the appliance, the storage processing that lets customers embed file systems or applications inside the appliance, and greater density.

The SFA12K has 64GB of memory and DDN claims it scales to 1 TBps with 25 arrays using InfiniBand or Fibre Channel connectivity. It also runs up to 16 virtual machines inside an array. The SFA12K holds up to 84 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SAS or SATA disks in one array – up from 60 drives in the SFA10K – and 840 disks in a rack. The SFA12K supports up to 600TB of eMLC solid-state drives (SSDs).

The SFA12K platform consists of three products. The SFA12K-40 is the highest performing model, hitting 40 GBps of bandwidth and 1.4 million flash IOPs. A SFA12K-20 handles 20 GBps and 700,000 flash IOPS, according to DDN. The SFA12K-20E is available with DDN’s ExaScaler or GridScaler parallel file systems running on the SFA12K-20 array. Customers can also embed applications natively within the SFA12K-20E.

The SFA10K could deliver 800,000 flash IOPS and 15 GBps of bandwidth. Bouzari said a new architecture was needed to keep up with larger data sets, cloud computer requirements and data center power and footprint restraints.

“In HPC, people are asking for levels of performance that just cannot be achieved by following the same old approaches,” he said. “Today you have large data centers being built and types of processing requirements deployed inside data centers that cannot be met with traditional architectures.”

Bouzar said IBM and Hewlett-Packard are among the DDN partners who will resell the new platform. The SFA12K won’t go GA until the second quarter of 2012, but DDN said it has more than 50 PB of orders including a 15 PB purchase by the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Munich. LRZ already uses DDN storage for its SuperMUC HPC supercomputer. DDN said Argonne National Laboratory has also purchased SFA12K technology for its IBM BlueGene/Q-based Mira supercomputer.

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