Latest DDN Launch Fills out its WOS Object Storage Line

By John Russell

September 13, 2016

DataDirect Networks (DDN) today introduced a third member to its WOS object storage product line, the WOS 8460, aimed at active archive and collaboration use cases. Object storage, once mainly restricted to ‘cold’ archives for large quantities of unstructured data – think content delivery networks (CDN) used in conjunction with the web – has been slowly expanding its footprint into other application areas.

The new DDN product fills out the company’s object storage portfolio and is positioned between DDN’s WOS 9660 offering, intended more for traditional ‘cold’ archives, and WOS 7000, which is well suited for embedded applications such as use with S3. One interesting departure with the WOS product line from DDN’s heritage is willingness to use commodity hardware or third-party hardware generally for its WOS line.

“We have historically been a box company. With WOS, we are aggressively going to market with a software defined offering,” said Kurt Kuckein, senior product manager, DDN, in a pre-launch briefing, “Just in the last year since we announced our emphasis on SDF, we’ve gone from something like two percent of our installed base being software only to well over 10 percent of our WOS installed base. So they are Dell or Supermicro or HPE.

“We have templates for those customers if they want something easy or we will work with them on whatever host-CPU thing they want to use or Lenovo or whatever. You can start very small, a POC initiative that starts really tiny whereas most of the competitive implementations start at a minimum of six nodes and some are as large as 18 to just get off the ground.”

Don’t get the wrong idea. DDN still has a box here and regards its traditional proprietary technology (hardware and software) acumen as a differentiator; Laura Shepard, senior director vertical markets, DDN, was quick to add “you just plug [the 8460] in, turn it on, and give it an IP address and it’s going, whereas there’s a lot more behind the scenes of making the hardware work.”

The new object storage appliance is a single node, 5u offering “that has actually better performance than the WOS 7000. We’re modernizing the network interfaces going with 40 gig over 10gig Ethernet. Most of the boxes today are Ethernet though we have shipped in the past with Infiniband. WOS is pretty agnostic to the underlying technology. The same thing on the drive side – we have had customers who put WOS on FLASH appliances but we don’t ship that way,” she said.

ddn-wos-8460Object storage, of course, has many attractive features. Its hallmark is use of a single namespace that avoids much of the overhead of hierarchical file-based storage. Finding data, no matter where it resides, is relatively easier. There aren’t complicated directory structures to navigate. Scalability is the other base strength and was very important to object storage’s earliest adopters (media and entertainment). It’s both a strength and weakness that data is generally not changeable.

Except for special uses cases such as CDNs, the common refrain was that object storage was a solution looking for a problem to solve. The rise of big data, mostly unstructured, across many domains combined with the need for collaboration is changing this idea. Life sciences is the poster child active archive use case; large genomic datasets must be efficiently stored and readily accessed from many locations by very many users. Active archive applications constitute much of the target for DDN’s new 8460 product and indeed DDN has compiled several LS use cases (The Scripps Research Institute, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and Public Health England).

“The object storage market is evolving. You’ve got these hyperscale Web 2.0 folks who’ve been benefiting from the cost and scale of the architecture for some time. What’s happened in the last several years however is that we and others are offering object storage that’s been wrapped [for use with the traditional ecosystem] and we are unlocking a whole new level of use cases,” said Shepard. Indeed, DDN’s WOS sales strategy is around supporting specific use cases, she said as shown below. In HPC and the enterprise, the targets mostly revolve around big data.

ddn-object-use-casesDDN, long a leader in storage for high performance computing (HPC), isn’t new to object storage; its first revenue-producing WOS customer was in the 2009 timeframe reports DDN. Like others, DDN has worked to make object storage deployment easier and virtually all of them emphasizing software defined object storage, which contains costs and enhances flexibility.

Addison Snell, CEO Intersect360 Research, characterized the DDN launch as, “using the launch beyond just this appliance as an opportunity to continue delivering its message around what the benefits are for using object storage across the board. The biggest thing to me is that as you get these new types of workloads and more data sources combined with huge storage architectures where people are managing hot storage, cold storage, cloud storage, etc. Object storage can make sense here.”

“It’s important to note DDN is offering a true ‘no file’ system (no-FS) object store. Most suppliers put some sort of a gateway in front of the objects storage, which makes it easier to implement but starts trading off object’s advantages. A major advantage with having a true no-FS is you eliminate much of the file system metadata overhead in tracking where the files are and that reclaims a lot of lost storage. DDN reports that can be as much as 15-20 percent – if you think of having 150 to 200 TB or even petabytes that’s actually a lot of storage,” said Snell.

Most users, including storage administrators, are still more familiar with file-based storage. However, efforts to streamline object storage deployment and management are making inroads. DDN, for example, has built its own native interface with iRODS, which makes it more attractive to the academic and research community. Policy-based, data management, such as through iRODS, is becoming de rigueur for government science grants. Object storage adoption in the broader enterprise arena is still sluggish but gaining as more use cases come to light.

For DDN, said Shepard, object storage is a natural and important opportunity. DDN is targeting specific use case scenarios. “I’m talking about really is big data collaboration. These are things that are proximate to DDN. We are already in the customer site, we are already in the space, we are in the verticals, they know our name. If they are looking for a new archive solutions that might be object based, they are looking at DDN,” said Shepard.

ddn-wos-objedct-v-fileThe HPC storage market is famously fragmented and highly contested. DDN argues it has a several points of competitive differentiation. Its implementation of a true no-FS system is one. Shepard said, “On average when you add the standard block waste for say an HPC center that is doing multiple applications over multiple projects, your block plus your file system is going to come to about 20 percent [of storage capacity]. That’s 20 percent in hard costs on your platters that we can give you back and no one else can.” Without digging deeper, Snell said he thought those numbers sounded reasonable.

Minimizing data latency is another WOS strength. DDN has built a checking mechanism to choose the copy of the data with least latency, explained Kurt Kuckein, senior product manager, DDN. “It’s going to find the least latent set of your data no matter location proximity or theoretical network bandwidth. So for instance if your most proximal data is sitting right next to you in the datacenter, but is also most proximal to 20,000 other users, while there is a data site that has only ten people accessing it, we’re going to point you to that one but then continue to test to ensure you always have the least latency.”

Data protection is another DDN strength he said, “While erasure coding is kind of the default mechanism for most object storage along with replication for some storage, we do a mix of erasure coding within the box itself, so we can minimize rebuilds over the network and then combine with other erasure codes or with replication to provide that to multiple, multi-site node protections.”

How much of the storage market object storage can capture is unclear. There’s been a lot of talk about the imminent death of parallel files systems currently the workhorse in HPC. Maybe specialized database architectures and aspects of object storage and burst buffer technology will eventually make parallel files systems unnecessary say many. Eventually perhaps but not anytime soon said Shepard. The layer of abstraction represented by files systems is needed today, she contends.

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!

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has been unveiled in upstate New York that will be used by IBM Read more…

By Doug Black

At SC19: Developing a Digital Twin

December 11, 2019

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location to location. In such a world, there will also be a digita Read more…

By Aaron Dubrow

Supercomputers Help Predict Carbon Dioxide Levels

December 10, 2019

The Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems – its lands, forests, jungles and so on – are crucial “sinks” for atmospheric carbon, holding nearly 30 percent of our annual CO2 emissions as they breathe in the carbon-rich Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Finally! SC19 Competitors Live and in Color!

December 10, 2019

You know the saying “better late than never”? That’s how my cluster competition coverage is faring this year. With SC19 coming late in November, quickly followed by my annual trip to South Africa to cover their clu Read more…

By Dan Olds

Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum processor chips. The new controller is a mixed-signal SoC named Ho Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

GPU Scheduling and Resource Accounting: The Key to an Efficient AI Data Center

[Connect with LSF users and learn new skills in the IBM Spectrum LSF User Community!]

GPUs are the new CPUs

GPUs have become a staple technology in modern HPC and AI data centers. Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: Natural Gas, Precision Agriculture, Neural Networks and More

December 6, 2019

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum proces Read more…

By John Russell

On the Spack Track @SC19

December 5, 2019

At the annual supercomputing conference, SC19 in Denver, Colorado, there were Spack events each day of the conference. As a reflection of its grassroots heritage, nine sessions were planned by more than a dozen thought leaders from seven organizations, including three U.S. national Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories and Sylabs... Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake

Intel’s New Hyderabad Design Center Targets Exascale Era Technologies

December 3, 2019

Intel's Raja Koduri was in India this week to help launch a new 300,000 square foot design and engineering center in Hyderabad, which will focus on advanced com Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Debuts 7nm 2nd-Gen Graviton Arm Processor

December 3, 2019

The “x86 Big Bang,” in which market dominance of the venerable Intel CPU has exploded into fragments of processor options suited to varying workloads, has n Read more…

By Doug Black

Ride on the Wild Side – Squyres SC19 Mars Rovers Keynote

December 2, 2019

Reminding us of the deep and enabling connection between HPC and modern science is an important part of the SC Conference mission. And yes, HPC is a science its Read more…

By John Russell

NSCI Update – Adapting to a Changing Landscape

December 2, 2019

It was November of 2017 when we last visited the topic of the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). As you will recall, the NSCI was started with an Executive Order (E.O. No. 13702), that was issued by President Obama in July of 2015 and was followed by a Strategic Plan that was released in July of 2016. The question for November of 2017... Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Tsinghua University Racks Up Its Ninth Student Cluster Championship Win at SC19

November 27, 2019

Tsinghua University has done it again. At SC19 last week, the eight-time gold medal-winner team took home the top prize in the 2019 Student Cluster Competition Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: IBM Changes Its HPC-AI Game Plan

November 25, 2019

It’s probably fair to say IBM is known for big bets. Summit supercomputer – a big win. Red Hat acquisition – looking like a big win. OpenPOWER and Power processors – jury’s out? At SC19, long-time IBMer Dave Turek sketched out a different kind of bet for Big Blue – a small ball strategy, if you’ll forgive the baseball analogy... Read more…

By John Russell

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first plann Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
CEJN
CJEN
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Dell Ramps Up HPC Testing of AMD Rome Processors

October 21, 2019

Dell Technologies is wading deeper into the AMD-based systems market with a growing evaluation program for the latest Epyc (Rome) microprocessors from AMD. In a Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutt Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Dense Matrix Representations Beat Sparse

September 9, 2019

In our world filled with unintended consequences, it turns out that saving memory space to help deal with GPU limitations, knowing it introduces performance pen Read more…

By James Reinders

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cerebras to Supply DOE with Wafer-Scale AI Supercomputing Technology

September 17, 2019

Cerebras Systems, which debuted its wafer-scale AI silicon at Hot Chips last month, has entered into a multi-year partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as part of a larger collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Jensen Huang’s SC19 – Fast Cars, a Strong Arm, and Aiming for the Cloud(s)

November 20, 2019

We’ve come to expect Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s annual SC keynote to contain stunning graphics and lively bravado (with plenty of examples) in support of GPU Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This