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DDN Flashscale all-flash storage array introduced for big data

DataDirect Networks leverages PCIe and NVMe in its Flashscale all-flash storage array. The system targets mixed workloads that need a balance of high performance and capacity.

DataDirect Networks has launched Flashscale, a scale-out, dense all-flash array platform designed for data analytics, parallel file systems and high-performance computing.

DDN claims the first member of the Flashscale family -- the SFA 14KKI -- can deliver six million IOPS and 60 GB per second throughput, and jam 276 TB in a 4u system. A 42u rack can hold 2.7 PB and deliver 60 million IOPS and 600 GBps. DDN Flashscale is designed for analytics applications such as Hadoop and OpenStack, and parallel file systems including Lustre and IBM General Parallel File System.

The SFA 14KKI holds 72 SAS SSDs, 48 NVMe dual-port SSDs, or a combination of SAS and NVMe drives.

The DDN Flashscale family will compete with the likes of the SanDisk InfiniFlash and Pure Storage FlashBlade all-flash systems. The first DDN Flashscale systems are expected to ship in August.

The SFA 14KKI can scale up to 17 racks with 46 PB of capacity, running at one billion IOPS and 10 TB per second bandwidth. The high-performance all-flash storage array comes with embedded PCIe-3 fabric with Intel's Broadwell application processors. DDN Flashscale also supports Fibre Channel, InfiniBand, Gigabit Ethernet and Omni-Path connectivity.

"With NVMe SSDs, you will get the best performance," DDN CEO Alex Bouzari said. "The SAS SSDs will be better for customers that need more capacity and are looking for a cost-effective solution. So the use case dictates how the 14KKi is populated. You can also mix the two. You can do a tiered architecture where a piece of it is very high performance and a piece is more focused on capacity."

The DDN Flashscale family will compete with the likes of the SanDisk InfiniFlash and Pure Storage FlashBlade all-flash systems.

Randy Kerns, senior strategist and analyst at Evaluator Group, said the early use cases for flash technology like DDN Flashscale were for narrow, singular workloads, but flash is starting to be used for consolidated workloads.

"We typically see purchases for capacity for acceleration are less than 50 TB," Kerns said. "Now the performance and economics are so good, [customers] are buying larger capacity systems. Now you can use all-flash arrays for consolidation. I can run all my workloads rather than just accelerating individual ones."

Scott Sinclair, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said the market is shifting toward using flash as storage vendors strive to meet performance and capacity requirements. 

"They are able to provide cost-effective storage at a low dollar per-gigabyte or price per capacity that puts flash in line or surpasses spinning disk," Sinclair said. "These next generation flash arrays are scaling for faster performance and larger capacity to get what you need. Business intelligence and data analytics is front and center now. Customers need real-time analytics so they need a lot of performance."

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