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HP to resell DataDirect Networks for HPC

Hewlett-Packard Co. added another scale-out NAS system to its portfolio yesterday when it announced DataDirect Networks (DDN)’s S2A9900 disk array will be bundled with the Lustre File System resold by the Scalable Computing and Infrastructure (SCI) group within HP.

HP began collecting scale-out file systems when it acquired PolyServe in 2007, then saw some false starts with its ExDS9100 product for Web 2.0 and HPC use cases. HP continued its track record of acquiring its partners in the space with the acquisition of Ibrix last July. Yet HP still found a gap in its scale-out file system portfolio for DataDirect and Lustre with this agreement, according to Ed Turkel, manager of business development for SCI.

“Basically, both the X9000 [based on Ibrix] and [the new offering with] DDN are scale-out file systems sold as an appliance model,” Turkel said. But Lustre is geared more toward “the unique demands of HPC users” in which multiple servers in a cluster simultaneously read and write to a single file at the same time, requiring very high single file bandwidth. “The X9000 is more general purpose, with scalable aggregate bandwidth” rather than high single-file performance.

DDN’s VP of marketing Jeff Denworth said the two vendors have “a handful” of joint customers already, but Denworth and Turkel both dismissed the idea that DDN could be HP’s next scale-out acquisition. “If I respond to that question in any fashion, I’m probably going to get my hand slapped, but it’s certainly not the purpose of this announcement,” Turkel said. However, this product will replace a previous offering HP launched in 2006, also based on Lustre, called the Scalable File Share (SFS).

DDN is now partnered for storage with every large HPC OEM vendor there is — previously it has announced reseller and OEM relationships with IBM, Dell and SGI. “This sounds similar to the arrangement that DDN has with IBM, Dell and SGI to provide a turnkey solution to certain niche customers, more likely aligned with the HP server group than the storage group,” wrote StorageIO founder and analyst Greg Schulz in an email to Storage Soup.

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