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New DDN storage added to target media-intensive storage

DataDirect Networks cobbles a media-specific storage platform from existing arrays aimed at companies that create and distribute digital media.

DataDirect Networks (DDN) broadened its file storage portfolio this week with the introduction of the MediaScaler clustered NAS system for media and entertainment companies with petabyte-scale storage.

The vendor said MediaScaler provides tiering to flash, cloud object stores and linear tape file systems with a federated view of data. It is rated to support up to 10,000 concurrent users in a single namespace.

The new product integrates several existing DDN storage platforms. Similar to DDN's GridScaler high-performance storage platform, MediaScaler runs IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS) atop high-performance hard disk drives, but it adds integration between GPFS and back-end tape libraries for long-term storage.

DDN storage combines block, file and objects

MediaScaler combines the block and file storage features of DDN's Storage Fusion Architecture nodes with its Web Object Scaler (WOS) platform for cloud-based object storage. WOS storage serves as a public cloud gateway for MediaScaler that supports bursting to Amazon Web Services' Simple Storage Services and OpenStack Swift.

The MediaScaler DDN storage platform claims to deliver more than 35 uncompressed ultra-high-definition 4K media streams concurrently, or about 4 gigabits per second of streaming media per client. An automated policy engine enables data to be tiered between performance storage, active archives and cloud nodes.

A 4U MediaScaler array contains 60 drive slots and provides up to 80 TB of raw storage. DDN said customers could start with a single building block and scale a cluster to hundreds of petabytes.

Data protection schemes include RAID protection for disk storage and erasure coding for cloud-based objects.

4K resolution, higher frame rates create storage challenges for media firms

Media and entertainment companies account for roughly half of DDN's 1,200 customers. MediaScaler enables them to preconfigure and size their storage installation, including guides that recommend ratios of flash to fixed disk, said Laura Shepherd, a DDN director of high performance computing markets.

"We're giving you one single file-system view of all your data among different storage tiers. No more taking your stuff offline to archive, when what you want is having it warm and available. This gives you control over the location of data, how to cost-reduce it and the level of redundancy you build into each piece of data," Shepherd said.

The launch of MediaScaler corresponds to emerging storage challenges confronting the media and entertainment industry, including 4K video editing and higher frame rates associated with digital content distribution, said Scott Sinclair, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group.

"Storage vendors don't usually develop industry-specific storage products," Sinclair said. "The other interesting aspect is the integration of the entire media lifecycle in a single product. Instead of trying to fit the conversation to their portfolio, they're taking a more customer-centric approach."

DDN did not disclose pricing for MediaScaler, which is available from its channel partners.

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