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New DDN WOS object appliance targets performance, capacity

DataDirect Networks is expanding its Web Object Scaler portfolio with a new 8460 object storage appliance that focuses on performance and capacity.

DataDirect Networks, or DDN, plans to expand its object storage portfolio in November with the release of a new Web Object Scaler, or WOS, appliance designed for performance and capacity.

The upcoming DDN WOS8460 is five units (5U) high, with a 1U object storage node and a 4U enclosure that can hold 84 drives. The maximum raw capacity is 840 TB using 10 TB SAS drives -- although, customers also have the option to use lower-capacity disks.

The WOS8460 joins the performance-oriented WOS7000 and the capacity-focused WOS9660 in the DDN WOS family. The WOS9660 deep archive is a 5U rack-mountable enclosure with a single object storage server and slots for 96 shingled magnetic recording drives. The WOS7000 is a 4U rack-mountable enclosure, preconfigured with WOS software, with one or two controllers and slots for 60 disks.

Kurt Kuckein, director of product management at DDN, based in Chatsworth, Calif., said the company expected the performance of the new WOS8460 to be about the same as the WOS7000. But anecdotal reports indicated the upcoming 8460 performs a bit better than the 7000 model, "probably due to the number of spindles on the back end, as well as moving the network interface forward to 40 Gig [Ethernet] on this box," he said.

Kuckein predicted the DDN WOS8460 would be the replacement for the 7000 model for many customers because of the storage density. But he said customers who want to scale in smaller chunks might continue to use the 7000.

Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) in Ottawa archives about 700 TB of video and multimedia content across five single-controller WOS7000 appliances, which have a collective usable capacity of 1.2 PB. But Eitan Weisz, senior manager of technical operations at CPAC, said he could envision using the denser WOS8460 if the organization needs additional appliances, or when the WOS7000 product lifecycle comes to an end.

"Rack space is at a premium here," Weisz said. "We're in an office tower in downtown Ottawa. Space downtown is expensive, so we want to maximize the density as much as possible."

But Weisz said CPAC probably would opt for lower-capacity drives than WOS8460's 10 TB option because of long rebuild times. He said rebuilds could take a day or more for his 4 TB drives. DDN claimed, however, WOS can rebuild failed drives within a single node to reduce rebuild time and risk of data loss.

Software-only DDN WOS growth

In addition to the WOS appliances, DDN also sells a software-only version of WOS that runs on customer-supplied, preapproved third-party hardware. Blueprints are available for the software-only DDN WOS with Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Supermicro server hardware. Kuckein said DDN would add other hardware that meets specifications.

DDN claimed the share of software-only WOS customers has grown to more than 10% since its introduction about a year ago.

"It's not necessarily our traditional Web 2.0 customers who are adopting that," Kuckein said. "Our Web 2.0 customers continue to buy appliances as well."

Along with Web 2.0 applications, DDN WOS use cases include active archive, collaboration and data availability.

The thing I find really interesting about DDN is they're continuing to try to have a focus on high performance within an object storage offering.
Steve Rickettssenior analyst and consultant, Taneja Group

Kuckein said DDN WOS customers could start with a two-node cluster and grow a node at a time, unlike competitive products that might start at a minimum of six or more nodes and require multiple-node upgrades.

Competitors to the DDN WOS8460 include Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage, IBM Cloud Object Storage and NetApp StorageGRID Webscale, noted Randy Kerns, a senior analyst and strategist at Evaluator Group Inc., in Boulder, Colo.

Kerns wrote via an email that the WOS8460 would be "attractive for customers that want quick deployment with little risk for doing their own integration."

DDN claimed WOS has achieved 1.2 GB per second, per node in real-world customer applications. WOS employs a no file system architecture that provides better disk efficiency and faster performance, according to DDN. DDN claimed a performance gain because there is no POSIX file system overhead, file fragmentation or slowdown at scale.

"The thing I find really interesting about DDN is they're continuing to try to have a focus on high performance within an object storage offering," said Steve Ricketts, a senior analyst and consultant at Taneja Group Inc., in Hopkinton, Mass. "They're more focused on that than the other vendors in this space. With the other vendors, you hear a lot about durability, the linear performance as you scale an environment."

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