DDN Starts Pulling Wraps off Complete Product Refresh

By John Russell

November 10, 2015

As part of a comprehensive product line refresh and rollout that will extend through SC next week, DataDirect Networks (DDN) today launched the next generation of its high performance SFA block storage line with SFA14K and SFA14KE, formerly codenamed “Wolfcreek.” No stranger to high performance – the company supports over two-thirds of the world’s 100 fastest supercomputers – DDN is betting big that the next generation interconnect technologies are far enough along to incorporate in the new offering and attract performance-seeking customers.

“We could have launched the products six months ago,” said Molly Rector, DDN chief marketing officer, “but we didn’t want to release them without EDR which wasn’t yet available.” Built for speed, the new appliances have a built-in PCIe fabric to speed data within the device. Support for NVMe, EDR/IB, 100Gb Ethernet, and OmniPath Fabric are all included (see full specs below).

Rector declined to discuss pricing but like all block storage, the offerings are built for performance. DDN says SFA14K and SFA14KE deliver the world’s fastest, densest storage with more than 6 million IOPS and 60GB/sec in 4U with scalability to over 7PB of capacity in a single rack. The new products, said Rector, will bridge in advanced interconnect technologies now coming online in the effort to push towards exascale computing.

DDN has its eyes on two distinct markets, traditional HPC, where it has long been a dominant player, and the emerging enterprise market for advanced scale computing and hyper-converged datacenters. DDN characterizes the SFA14K as a hybrid NVMe SSD and disk block storage array. Its near twin, the SFA14KE, is a hyper-converged solution that leverages the embedded processor to run virtual machines, embedded applications and file systems within the storage array to significantly reduce complexity, latency and datacenter footprint.

DDN SFA14K Specs.2015.PMThe SFA14K family is a proprietary vertically integrated system intended in part to deal with the data avalanche in science and industry. By designing it from the ground up and using custom hardware (and software), DDN has reduced the number of components typically found in large commodity-based storage systems. One result, says the company, is dramatically reduced latency.

Rector said, “There’s been a shift of the last few years to use ‘white box’ commodity hardware [in large storage systems].” The do-it yourself approach produces purchasing flexibility, she agreed, but with a substantial performance penalty, especially as installations are expanded. Latency problems can become extremely problematic as more devices are incorporated, argued Rector.

The challenge, according to Rector, is how to integrate all these moving parts in an optimal way. “Every time you add a new box, you have more ports, more switches, more cables, more software applications to manage,” she said, which can hobble throughput in performance-sensitive settings. The SFA14K line dramatically reduces latency because everything is designed to work together – a distinct advantage as datasets grow larger, she said.

“The core of [SFA14K] is the really high-performance PCIe fabric that is designed so every single device in the system can be run at its highest performance specified speed,” Rector emphasized. “We can put either 48 NVMe devices or 72 SAS SSD devices in the controller chassis. Then we can run all of them at line speed at 100 percent spec’d performance.”

The SFA14K/14KE products are a significant step up from the SFA12K generation which runs at 48Gb/s and just over 4M IOPS and doesn’t have the embedded PCIe fabric. DDN presented SFA14K’s impressive benchmarks against all flash devices from Pure Storage and EMC, although without much detail on the specific tests run.

DDN cites a variety of benefits:

  • 10x reduction in network\ports, cables, HBAs
  • 10-100x latency reduction
  • Simple upgrade path to new technology: NVMe; 100Gb/E; EDR Infiniband; Omni-Path; new applications
  • 50-70% reduced IT headcount to manage

DDN SFA14K Bechmarks 2015-11-09Broadly, DDN says the DDN SFA14K family value proposition is: “Data intensive enterprise and HPC organizations are requiring a groundbreaking new approach to data compute, storage and management that allows them to keep pace with the rapid acceleration of processor power and both machine and sensor generated data. Data is being created at a staggering rate and needs to be stored efficiently while being quickly available to analyze and leverage for strategic decision making. Today’s organizations need new architectural designs that can support the full power of advanced individual component technologies with efficiency and integration at scale.”

Rector said, “While many storage vendors have discontinued investing in hardware innovation, DDN consistently executes upon a product strategy to break through bottlenecks in the datacenter. And while DDN has embraced the movement to deliver software technology on commodity hardware, we also recognize that commodity storage platforms simply cannot keep pace with rapidly increasing compute power, network bandwidth and the latest generation NVMe and SSD speeds.”

Serving both the HPC and high enterprise markets gives DDN a good vantage point from which to see differing trends. Ongoing adoption of parallel file systems – primarily Lustre and GPFS (IBM) – remains strong in both markets, said Rector. Interestingly, Lustre is stronger in Europe than the US, she said, where GPFS’s more extensive feature set has given it an edge. “But Lustre is catching up,” she said.
Browse News From SC15OpenStack adoption and performance related worries are growing in the HPC community, according to Rector, while Hadoop, VMware are the big care-abouts in the enterprise. Although it must be said the virtual machine/container technology is starting to garner attention in the HPC world as well. NERSC, for example, recently released Shifter, a software tool for bringing Docker containers onto Edison, NERSC’s Cray Supercomputer.

DDN says the new SFA14K/KE product will ship this month.

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!

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the global stage. Now, the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (U Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer-Powered Machine Learning Supports Fusion Energy Reactor Design

February 25, 2021

Energy researchers have been reaching for the stars for decades in their attempt to artificially recreate a stable fusion energy reactor. If successful, such a reactor would revolutionize the world’s energy supply over Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Japan to Debut Integrated Fujitsu HPC/AI Supercomputer This Spring

February 25, 2021

The integrated Fujitsu HPC/AI Supercomputer, Wisteria, is coming to Japan this spring. The University of Tokyo is preparing to deploy a heterogeneous computing system, called "Wisteria/BDEC-01," that will tackle simulati Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

President Biden Signs Executive Order to Review Chip, Other Supply Chains

February 24, 2021

U.S. President Biden signed an executive order late today calling for a 100-day review of key supply chains including semiconductors, large capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals, and rare-earth elements. The scarcity of ch Read more…

By John Russell

Xilinx Launches Alveo SN1000 SmartNIC

February 24, 2021

FPGA vendor Xilinx has debuted its latest SmartNIC model, the Alveo SN1000, with integrated “composability” features that allow enterprise users to add their own custom networking functions to supplement its built-in networking. By providing deep flexibility... Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

AWS Solution Channel

Introducing AWS HPC Tech Shorts

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is excited to announce a new videos series focused on running HPC workloads on AWS. This new video series will cover HPC workloads from genomics, computational chemistry, to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and more. Read more…

ASF Keynotes Showcase How HPC and Big Data Have Pervaded the Pandemic

February 24, 2021

Last Thursday, a range of experts joined the Advanced Scale Forum (ASF) in a rapid-fire roundtable to discuss how advanced technologies have transformed the way humanity responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in indelible ways. The roundtable, held near the one-year mark of the first... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Japan to Debut Integrated Fujitsu HPC/AI Supercomputer This Spring

February 25, 2021

The integrated Fujitsu HPC/AI Supercomputer, Wisteria, is coming to Japan this spring. The University of Tokyo is preparing to deploy a heterogeneous computing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Xilinx Launches Alveo SN1000 SmartNIC

February 24, 2021

FPGA vendor Xilinx has debuted its latest SmartNIC model, the Alveo SN1000, with integrated “composability” features that allow enterprise users to add their own custom networking functions to supplement its built-in networking. By providing deep flexibility... Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

ASF Keynotes Showcase How HPC and Big Data Have Pervaded the Pandemic

February 24, 2021

Last Thursday, a range of experts joined the Advanced Scale Forum (ASF) in a rapid-fire roundtable to discuss how advanced technologies have transformed the way humanity responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in indelible ways. The roundtable, held near the one-year mark of the first... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

IBM’s Prototype Low-Power 7nm AI Chip Offers ‘Precision Scaling’

February 23, 2021

IBM has released details of a prototype AI chip geared toward low-precision training and inference across different AI model types while retaining model quality within AI applications. In a paper delivered during this year’s International Solid-State Circuits Virtual Conference, IBM... Read more…

By George Leopold

IBM Continues Mainstreaming Power Systems and Integrating Red Hat in Pivot to Cloud

February 23, 2021

As IBM continues its massive pivot to the cloud, its Power-microprocessor-based products are being mainstreamed and realigned with the corporate-wide strategy. Read more…

By John Russell

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ENIAC at 75: Celebrating the World’s First Supercomputer

February 15, 2021

With little fanfare, today’s computer revolution was arguably born and announced through a small, innocuous, two-column story at the bottom of the front page of The New York Times on Feb. 15, 1946. In that story and others, the previously classified project, ENIAC... Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

Microsoft, HPE Bringing AI, Edge, Cloud to Earth Orbit in Preparation for Mars Missions

February 12, 2021

The International Space Station will soon get a delivery of powerful AI, edge and cloud computing tools from HPE and Microsoft Azure to expand technology experi Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

By John Russell

Esperanto Unveils ML Chip with Nearly 1,100 RISC-V Cores

December 8, 2020

At the RISC-V Summit today, Art Swift, CEO of Esperanto Technologies, announced a new, RISC-V based chip aimed at machine learning and containing nearly 1,100 low-power cores based on the open-source RISC-V architecture. Esperanto Technologies, headquartered in... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Azure Scaled to Record 86,400 Cores for Molecular Dynamics

November 20, 2020

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure. Led by Dr. Jer-Ming Chia, the cloud provider partnered with the Beckman I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

NICS Unleashes ‘Kraken’ Supercomputer

April 4, 2008

A Cray XT4 supercomputer, dubbed Kraken, is scheduled to come online in mid-summer at the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS). The soon-to-be petascale system, and the resulting NICS organization, are the result of an NSF Track II award of $65 million to the University of Tennessee and its partners to provide next-generation supercomputing for the nation's science community. Read more…

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

By Tracey Bryant

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

Top500: Fugaku Keeps Crown, Nvidia’s Selene Climbs to #5

November 16, 2020

With the publication of the 56th Top500 list today from SC20's virtual proceedings, Japan's Fugaku supercomputer – now fully deployed – notches another win, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to Massive SARS-CoV-2 Simulations

November 19, 2020

2020 has proven a harrowing year – but it has produced remarkable heroes. To that end, this year, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) introduced the Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Texas A&M Announces Flagship ‘Grace’ Supercomputer

November 9, 2020

Texas A&M University has announced its next flagship system: Grace. The new supercomputer, named for legendary programming pioneer Grace Hopper, is replacing the Ada system (itself named for mathematician Ada Lovelace) as the primary workhorse for Texas A&M’s High Performance Research Computing (HPRC). Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

At Oak Ridge, ‘End of Life’ Sometimes Isn’t

October 31, 2020

Sometimes, the old dog actually does go live on a farm. HPC systems are often cursed with short lifespans, as they are continually supplanted by the latest and Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Intel Xe-HP GPU Deployed for Aurora Exascale Development

November 17, 2020

At SC20, Intel announced that it is making its Xe-HP high performance discrete GPUs available to early access developers. Notably, the new chips have been deplo Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Teases Ice Lake-SP, Shows Competitive Benchmarking

November 17, 2020

At SC20 this week, Intel teased its forthcoming third-generation Xeon "Ice Lake-SP" server processor, claiming competitive benchmarking results against AMD's second-generation Epyc "Rome" processor. Ice Lake-SP, Intel's first server processor with 10nm technology... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

It’s Fugaku vs. COVID-19: How the World’s Top Supercomputer Is Shaping Our New Normal

November 9, 2020

Fugaku is currently the most powerful publicly ranked supercomputer in the world – but we weren’t supposed to have it yet. The supercomputer, situated at Japan’s Riken scientific research institute, was scheduled to come online in 2021. When the pandemic struck... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

MIT Makes a Big Breakthrough in Nonsilicon Transistors

December 10, 2020

What if Silicon Valley moved beyond silicon? In the 80’s, Seymour Cray was asking the same question, delivering at Supercomputing 1988 a talk titled “What’s All This About Gallium Arsenide?” The supercomputing legend intended to make gallium arsenide (GaA) the material of the future... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire