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DataDirect Networks expands Lustre file system storage, IME buffer

DDN Lustre file storage adds multi-level security to Lustre, and it announced IME240 NVMe flash is available on 2U commodity hardware or as software-only.

DataDirect Networks, in the midst of a yearlong product refresh, introduced a new Lustre multilevel security appliance and upgraded its SAN and NAS platforms.

The Lustre multilevel security (MLS) appliance launched this week is the newest member of DDN's family of EXAScaler ES14KX Lustre file system arrays. Lustre MLS is built on DDN EXAScaler 3.0 and incorporates community-based Lustre and embedded DDN software code.

DDN also rolled out version 3.1 of its flagship Storage Fusion Architecture (SFA) software for block and file storage, and it previewed a software version of its Infinite Memory Engine (IME) flash accelerator.

Additionally, DDN began shipping the updated Web Object Scaler WOS8460 it previewed in September.

DDN sells two scale-out NAS systems that have a parallel file system embedded. DDN EXAScaler uses the open source Lustre file system and targets high-performance computing (HPC) customers in financial services, healthcare and government. DDN GRIDScaler embeds IBM's General Parallel File System -- now known as IBM Spectrum Scale -- for enterprises that need a broad range of storage features.

MLS incorporates community-based Lustre

Lustre MLS allows a Lustre client to run inside a Docker container. DDN's Lustre MLS uses Kerberos to authenticate nodes and users. DDN added subdirectory mounts to Lustre 2.7 as a way to isolate a client node and present portions of a file to a containerized application.

"We will be open-sourcing a lot of Lustre community projects, primarily to develop new features for performance and management at scale. We work on these and upstream them directly to the Lustre community," said Laura Shepard, senior director of products and vertical markets at DDN, based in Chatsworth, Calif.

SFA 3.1 OS upgrade builds on base HPC storage building blocks

SFA runs on DDN's SFA14KX, SFA14KXE, GS14KX and ES14KX arrays. New SFA14KX block arrays integrate 12-core Intel Broadwell processors. DDN GRIDScaler and EXAScaler arrays are outfitted with 18-core Broadwell devices.

DDN's SFA controller head supports two nodes, each with its own processing power. SFA 3.1 software enhancements allow processor cores to be split and presented to virtual machines for in-storage processing.

Randy Kerns, a senior strategist at IT analyst firm Evaluator Group Inc., in Boulder, Colo., said DDN is capitalizing on Intel's next-generation CPUs to prevent storage from becoming a bottleneck.

We have gotten a lot more efficient in how we use cores.
Laura Shepardsenior director of products and vertical markets, DDN

"The HPC market is booming," Kerns said. "There is more and more collection of data, and people can't process it fast enough. Getting the data in and out is the hard part, but ensuring data integrity and data protection is a big deal. DDN spends most of its effort on how to accelerate the performance of storage to meet the need for speed."

"We have gotten a lot more efficient in how we use cores," Shepard said. "We need fewer net cores [so] that we can embed a parallel file system and have it take up a very small percentage of the overall processing power per node. The big benefit is a reduction in latency. We're removing more than half the network hops for every I/O request."

In addition to expanding its Lustre file system storage, DDN said the next version of Infinite Memory Engine, IME240, will be available either packaged on commodity hardware or as a software-only installation. Shipments are slated to start in March 2017.

Software-only flash acceleration on deck

DDN launched IME flash accelerator software in its IME14K rack-scale all-flash array, which is based on DDN 14K hardware. The IME240 software upgrade is bundled on a 2U Supermicro server, with slots for 24 NVMe flash drives.

"The IME240 is an update with faster processor cores, and they have added in the ability for IME240 to also be sold as software. People like to hear they can just get the software, but [some] want to consume it as a complete, integrated product," Kerns said.

IME240 provides a massive cache for bursting peak I/O workloads associated with high-performance computing. It aligns applications with back-end storage and also provides out-of-core computation of data sets that don't fit in memory. Customers can order IME240 with DDN SFA14KX, SFA14KEX, GSK14KX or ESK14KX array models.

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