DDN Discusses Enterprise HPC Momentum

By Laura Shepard

August 26, 2014

DataDirect Networks (DDN), the leader in large scale Big Data and Cloud storage, recently announced double digit, profitable growth for the first half of the year 2014, fueled by the adoption of its SFA and WOS technologies by increasing numbers of Strategic Enterprise HPC accounts.

In advance of his keynote at the upcoming EnterpriseHPC event happening in Carlsbad, California from September 7-10, Director of HPC Product Marketing for DDN, Laura Shepard sat down with DDN President Paul Bloch to get his take on DDN’s commercial HPC momentum, what’s driving the company’s business and technology focus, what he plans to share with attendees at EnterpriseHPC’14, and why working at DDN is more exhilarating than driving fast cars.

We’ve said that recent company momentum is being driven by rapid adoption of DDN technology among commercial HPC organizations. How has this changed who you’re talking to from a customer perspective?

Five years ago, most of DDN’s customer base was HPC/Academia, Federal and Media organizations. We have been able to transform the company and our product line to not only stay focused on our historical markets but also attract significant buy in from the Financial Services, Medical/Genomics, Manufacturing and Oil and Gas industries.

These new enterprise conversations center on accelerating core applications where existing Storage providers cannot get to the 10X in performance required to scale today. We provide Networking and Storage infrastructure that deliver real ROI and return dollars to the bottom line.

We are seeing a lot of momentum in our Enterprise sales with more than 100 percent year-on-year growth in commercial HPC. However, our customers really deserve the credit because they’ve figured out to do things smarter using DDN. They’re reducing genomics sample processing by 7X; they’re perfecting algorithms by running data 10X faster with DDN; they’re running more jobs in parallel to interpret real time sub surface geophysical structures and, they’re managing the entire product lifecycle on one single platform for massive TCO gain to bring the next hybrid vehicle to market. These companies know a good business tool when they see it, and we’re now seeing the market coming to us.

So, with the sheer scale of data today and these data-intensive customer requirements, how does this change how DDN thinks about designing and developing next-gen products and technologies?

There’s a data driven business revolution going on around the world – right now. It’s not big compute; it’s Big Data. The biggest challenge facing commercial HPC organizations is Big Data. Everyone’s talking about the tools – storage, networking and compute – but the key is getting massive value and insight out of the data to achieve competitive business differentiation. We’re focused on accelerating time to results so we add real value to our customers’ bottom lines.

When you look at high performance workflows in traditional and commercial HPC, the biggest pain point of data access and processing is dealing with mixed I/O, such as you’d see in an analytics workflow or any major HPC application. Most storage devices can’t handle mixed I/O without dropping a huge percentage of their overall performance. This is a requirement that we design for at every level of our architecture, whether it’s memory acceleration, high performance persistent storage, active archive or cloud storage.  We offer the flexibility for users to tune their systems for optimal price per performance and price per capacity to meet their individual environment needs today and in the future.  No other company can match the breadth and innovation of our portfolio of high performance, end-to-end, Big Data solutions for all types of data. Customers with data driven business initiatives count on DDN to accelerate their time to results.

Based on this product development, in the future do you see more of DDN’s business coming from commercial or traditional HPC?

We’re seeing increased adoption of DDN solutions in commercial HPC, but we’re also starting from a smaller base. The core of our business today comes from traditional HPC – that is academic research, government labs, government intelligence and related markets – and, these will always be critically important users to DDN. But, you can bet we are investing heavily to take maximum advantage of the commercial HPC trend that we believe will continue to be a major revenue and growth driver for DDN for years to come. For example, we’ve grown headcount by 20 percent since the beginning of the year, adding strength into our business across our pre-sales, support and engineering organizations; we’re expanding R&D around commercial HPC such as GPFS, SAP, SAS, KX, and ANSYS and many more. Finally, in addition to the development centers in the US, Eastern Europe and Japan, we recently opened a new European Advanced Technology Center outside of Paris that will be dedicated to big data lifecycle management and accelerating time to insight through analytics and application acceleration.

It sounds like it’s a great time to be at DDN. A guy like you has a lot of options, including car racing from what I hear! So what is it about DDN at this time that drew you back out of retirement?

Yes, it’s definitely a great time to be at DDN! While some major storage players are exiting this healthy and growing HPC storage market, we at DDN are doubling down. In the last few months we’ve expanded our management team with new team members including Molly Rector, our CMO and Bob Merkert who’s heading up our federal business. And, as I’ve already mentioned, there’s a significant opportunity in the commercial HPC market which presents additional upside for an innovative HPC company like DDN. DDN is fully dedicated to the HPC market – we are the HPC storage leader and now we’re staking our claim as the HPC commercial storage leader, too.

You’ll be keynoting at EnterpriseHPC’14. What kinds of topics will you be discussing?

Yes, I will be there and I’m looking forward to being a part of the conference. Specifically, I’ll be speaking to how enterprises are maximizing the value of HPC technology by making it their own, and how they’re applying HPC in new and different ways. And, I might even drop in a few racing references to the Grand Prix, too!

Thanks for sitting down with me, Paul. I look forward to hearing your presentation!

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

US Exascale Update: Interview with Paul Messina

December 8, 2016

Around the world, efforts are ramping up to cross the next major computing threshold with machines that are 50-100x more performant than today’s fastest number crunchers.  Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Dec. 8, 2016)

December 8, 2016

Here at HPCwire, we aim to keep the HPC community apprised of the most relevant and interesting news items that get tweeted throughout the week. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

Qualcomm Targets Intel Datacenter Dominance with 10nm ARM-based Server Chip

December 8, 2016

Claiming no less than a reshaping of the future of Intel-dominated datacenter computing, Qualcomm Technologies, the market leader in smartphone chips, announced the forthcoming availability of what it says is the world’s first 10nm processor for servers, based on ARM Holding’s chip designs. Read more…

By Doug Black

Which Schools Produce the Top Coders in the World?

December 8, 2016

Ever wonder which universities worldwide produce the best coders? The answers may surprise you, at least as judged by the results of a competition posted yesterday on the HackerRank blog. Read more…

By John Russell

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. The pilots, supported in part by DOE exascale funding, not only seek to do good by advancing cancer research and therapy but also to advance deep learning capabilities and infrastructure with an eye towards eventual use on exascale machines. Read more…

By John Russell

DDN Enables 50TB/Day Trans-Pacific Data Transfer for Yahoo Japan

December 6, 2016

Transferring data from one data center to another in search of lower regional energy costs isn’t a new concept, but Yahoo Japan is putting the idea into transcontinental effect with a system that transfers 50TB of data a day from Japan to the U.S., where electricity costs a quarter of the rates in Japan. Read more…

By Doug Black

Infographic Highlights Career of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

December 5, 2016

Dr. Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an early pioneer of computer science and one of the most famous women achievers in a field dominated by men. Read more…

By Staff

Ganthier, Turkel on the Dell EMC Road Ahead

December 5, 2016

Who is Dell EMC and why should you care? Glad you asked is Jim Ganthier’s quick response. Ganthier is SVP for validated solutions and high performance computing for the new (even bigger) technology giant Dell EMC following Dell’s acquisition of EMC in September. In this case, says Ganthier, the blending of the two companies is a 1+1 = 5 proposition. Not bad math if you can pull it off. Read more…

By John Russell

US Exascale Update: Interview with Paul Messina

December 8, 2016

Around the world, efforts are ramping up to cross the next major computing threshold with machines that are 50-100x more performant than today’s fastest number crunchers.  Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. The pilots, supported in part by DOE exascale funding, not only seek to do good by advancing cancer research and therapy but also to advance deep learning capabilities and infrastructure with an eye towards eventual use on exascale machines. Read more…

By John Russell

Ganthier, Turkel on the Dell EMC Road Ahead

December 5, 2016

Who is Dell EMC and why should you care? Glad you asked is Jim Ganthier’s quick response. Ganthier is SVP for validated solutions and high performance computing for the new (even bigger) technology giant Dell EMC following Dell’s acquisition of EMC in September. In this case, says Ganthier, the blending of the two companies is a 1+1 = 5 proposition. Not bad math if you can pull it off. Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Launches Massive 100 Petabyte ‘Sneakernet’

December 1, 2016

Amazon Web Services now offers a way to move data into its cloud by the truckload. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lighting up Aurora: Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the DOE’s Upcoming 200 Petaflops Supercomputer

December 1, 2016

In April 2015, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr announced that Intel would be the prime contractor for Aurora: Read more…

By Jan Rowell

Seagate-led SAGE Project Delivers Update on Exascale Goals

November 29, 2016

Roughly a year and a half after its launch, the SAGE exascale storage project led by Seagate has delivered a substantive interim report – Data Storage for Extreme Scale. Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Sees Bright Future for AI Supercomputing

November 23, 2016

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia made a strong showing at SC16 in Salt Lake City last week. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE-SGI to Tackle Exascale and Enterprise Targets

November 22, 2016

At first blush, and maybe second blush too, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) purchase of SGI seems like an unambiguous win-win. SGI’s advanced shared memory technology, its popular UV product line (Hanna), deep vertical market expertise, and services-led go-to-market capability all give HPE a leg up in its drive to remake itself. Bear in mind HPE came into existence just a year ago with the split of Hewlett-Packard. The computer landscape, including HPC, is shifting with still unclear consequences. One wonders who’s next on the deal block following Dell’s recent merger with EMC. Read more…

By John Russell

Why 2016 Is the Most Important Year in HPC in Over Two Decades

August 23, 2016

In 1994, two NASA employees connected 16 commodity workstations together using a standard Ethernet LAN and installed open-source message passing software that allowed their number-crunching scientific application to run on the whole “cluster” of machines as if it were a single entity. Read more…

By Vincent Natoli, Stone Ridge Technology

IBM Advances Against x86 with Power9

August 30, 2016

After offering OpenPower Summit attendees a limited preview in April, IBM is unveiling further details of its next-gen CPU, Power9, which the tech mainstay is counting on to regain market share ceded to rival Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Beats Azure to K80 General Availability

September 30, 2016

Amazon Web Services has seeded its cloud with Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs to meet the growing demand for accelerated computing across an increasingly-diverse range of workloads. The P2 instance family is a welcome addition for compute- and data-focused users who were growing frustrated with the performance limitations of Amazon's G2 instances, which are backed by three-year-old Nvidia GRID K520 graphics cards. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Think Fast – Is Neuromorphic Computing Set to Leap Forward?

August 15, 2016

Steadily advancing neuromorphic computing technology has created high expectations for this fundamentally different approach to computing. Read more…

By John Russell

The Exascale Computing Project Awards $39.8M to 22 Projects

September 7, 2016

The Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP) hit an important milestone today with the announcement of its first round of funding, moving the nation closer to its goal of reaching capable exascale computing by 2023. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Gobbles SGI for Larger Slice of $11B HPC Pie

August 11, 2016

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced today that it will acquire rival HPC server maker SGI for $7.75 per share, or about $275 million, inclusive of cash and debt. The deal ends the seven-year reprieve that kept the SGI banner flying after Rackable Systems purchased the bankrupt Silicon Graphics Inc. for $25 million in 2009 and assumed the SGI brand. Bringing SGI into its fold bolsters HPE's high-performance computing and data analytics capabilities and expands its position... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ARM Unveils Scalable Vector Extension for HPC at Hot Chips

August 22, 2016

ARM and Fujitsu today announced a scalable vector extension (SVE) to the ARMv8-A architecture intended to enhance ARM capabilities in HPC workloads. Fujitsu is the lead silicon partner in the effort (so far) and will use ARM with SVE technology in its post K computer, Japan’s next flagship supercomputer planned for the 2020 timeframe. This is an important incremental step for ARM, which seeks to push more aggressively into mainstream and HPC server markets. Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Debuts Power8 Chip with NVLink and Three New Systems

September 8, 2016

Not long after revealing more details about its next-gen Power9 chip due in 2017, IBM today rolled out three new Power8-based Linux servers and a new version of its Power8 chip featuring Nvidia’s NVLink interconnect. Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Vectors: How the Old Became New Again in Supercomputing

September 26, 2016

Vector instructions, once a powerful performance innovation of supercomputing in the 1970s and 1980s became an obsolete technology in the 1990s. But like the mythical phoenix bird, vector instructions have arisen from the ashes. Here is the history of a technology that went from new to old then back to new. Read more…

By Lynd Stringer

US, China Vie for Supercomputing Supremacy

November 14, 2016

The 48th edition of the TOP500 list is fresh off the presses and while there is no new number one system, as previously teased by China, there are a number of notable entrants from the US and around the world and significant trends to report on. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Silicon Photonics Chip, Previews Next-Gen Phi for AI

August 18, 2016

At the Intel Developer Forum, held in San Francisco this week, Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager Diane Bryant announced the launch of Intel's Silicon Photonics product line and teased a brand-new Phi product, codenamed "Knights Mill," aimed at machine learning workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

June 2, 2015

With OpenPOWER activity ramping up and IBM’s prominent role in the upcoming DOE machines Summit and Sierra, it’s a good time to look at how the IBM POWER CPU stacks up against the x86 Xeon Haswell CPU from Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Beyond von Neumann, Neuromorphic Computing Steadily Advances

March 21, 2016

Neuromorphic computing – brain inspired computing – has long been a tantalizing goal. The human brain does with around 20 watts what supercomputers do with megawatts. And power consumption isn’t the only difference. Fundamentally, brains ‘think differently’ than the von Neumann architecture-based computers. While neuromorphic computing progress has been intriguing, it has still not proven very practical. Read more…

By John Russell

Dell EMC Engineers Strategy to Democratize HPC

September 29, 2016

The freshly minted Dell EMC division of Dell Technologies is on a mission to take HPC mainstream with a strategy that hinges on engineered solutions, beginning with a focus on three industry verticals: manufacturing, research and life sciences. "Unlike traditional HPC where everybody bought parts, assembled parts and ran the workloads and did iterative engineering, we want folks to focus on time to innovation and let us worry about the infrastructure," said Jim Ganthier, senior vice president, validated solutions organization at Dell EMC Converged Platforms Solution Division. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Container App ‘Singularity’ Eases Scientific Computing

October 20, 2016

HPC container platform Singularity is just six months out from its 1.0 release but already is making inroads across the HPC research landscape. It's in use at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where Singularity founder Gregory Kurtzer has worked in the High Performance Computing Services (HPCS) group for 16 years. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Micron, Intel Prepare to Launch 3D XPoint Memory

August 16, 2016

Micron Technology used last week’s Flash Memory Summit to roll out its new line of 3D XPoint memory technology jointly developed with Intel while demonstrating the technology in solid-state drives. Micron claimed its Quantx line delivers PCI Express (PCIe) SSD performance with read latencies at less than 10 microseconds and writes at less than 20 microseconds. Read more…

By George Leopold

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This