Cray Introduces All Flash Lustre Storage Solution Targeting HPC

By John Russell

June 19, 2018

Citing the rise of IOPS-intensive workflows and more affordable flash technology, Cray today introduced the L300F, a scalable all-flash storage solution whose primary use case is to support high IOPS rates to/from a scratch storage pool in the Lustre file system. Cray also announced that sometime in August, it would be supporting Lustre 2.11 just released in April. This rapid productizing of Lustre’s latest release is likely to be appreciated by the user community which sometimes criticizes vendors for being slow to commercialize the latest features of the open source parallel file system.

“Lustre 2.11 has been one of the drivers for us because it has unique performance enhancements, usability enhancements, and we think some of those features will pair nicely with a flash-based solution that’s sitting underneath the file system,” said Mark Wiertalla, product marketing director.

The broader driver is the rise in use cases with demanding IOPS characteristics often including files of small size. Hard disk drives, by their nature, handle these workloads poorly. Cray cites AI, for example, as a good use case with high IOPS requirements.

Here’s a brief description from Cray of how L300F fits into the Cray ClusterStor systems:

  • Unlike the existing building blocks in the ClusterStor family which use a 5U84 form factor (5 rack units high/84 drives slots) mainly for Hard Disk Drives (HDD) the L300F is a 2U24 form factorfilled exclusively with Solid State Drives (SDD).
  • Like the existing building blocks (L300 and L300N) the L300F features two embedded server modules in a high availability configuration for the Object Storage Server (OSS) functionality of the open source, parallel file system Lustre.
  • Like the existing building blocks, the L300 converges the Lustre Object Storage Servers (OSS) and the Object Storage Targets (OST) in the same building block for linear scalability.
  • Like all ClusterStor building blocks the L300F is purpose-engineered to deliver the most effective parallel file system storage infrastructure for the leadership class of supercomputing environments.

The existing L300 model is an all-HDD Lustre solution, well suited for environments using applications with large, sequential I/O workloads. The L300N model, by contrast, is a hybrid SSD/HDD solution with flash-accelerated NXD software that redirects I/O to the appropriate storage medium, delivering cost-effective, consistent performance on mixed I/O workloads while shielding the application, file system and users from complexity through transparent flash acceleration.

In positioning L300F, Cray said, “L300F enables users such as engineers, researchers and scientists to dramatically reduce the runtime of their applications allowing jobs to reliably complete within their required schedule, supporting more iterations and faster time to insight. Supplementing Cray’s ClusterStor portfolio with an all-flash storage option, the ClusterStor L300F integrates with and complements the existing L300/L300N models to provide a comprehensive storage architecture. It allows customers to address performance bottlenecks without needlessly overprovisioning HDD storage capacity, creating a cost-competitive solution for improved application run time.”

Analysts are likewise bullish on flash. “Flash is poised to become an essential technology in every HPC storage solution,” said Jeff Janukowicz, IDC’s Research vice president, Solid State Drives and Enabling Technologies. “It has the unique role of satisfying the high-performance appetite of artificial intelligence applications even while helping customers optimize their storage budget for big data. With the ClusterStor L300F, Cray has positioned itself to be at the leading edge of next generation of HPC storage solutions.”

According to Cray L300F simplifies storage management for storage administrators, allowing them to stand up a high-performance flash pool within their existing Lustre file system using existing tools and skills. “This eliminates the need for product-unique training or to administer a separate file system. Using ClusterStor Manager, administrators can reduce the learning curve and accelerate time-to-proficiency, thereby improving ROI. When coupled with Cray’s exclusive monitoring application Cray View for ClusterStor, administrators get an end-to-end view of Lustre jobs, network status and storage system performance. Cray View forClusterStor provides visibility into job runtime variability, event correlation, trend analysis and offers custom alerts based on any selected metric,” according to the announcement.

Price remains an issue for flash. It’s currently about 13X more expensive on per terabyte basis. “But when flash is viewed on a dollar per IOPS basis, it is small fraction of the cost compared to hard disk drives. What our customers are telling us is they have unlocked that secret. Now they can think about uses cases and say here’s three of them that make sense immediately. That’s how they will deploy it. They’ll use it as a tactical tool,” said Wiertalla.

“We see the L300F allowing many customers to start testing the waters with flash storage. We are seeing RFPs [and] we think we are going to see, as the delta in prices between flash and disk narrows over the next 3-5 years, that customers will find incrementally new use cases where flash become cost competitive and they will adopt it gradually. Maybe in the 2020s we’ll start to see customers think about putting file systems exclusively on flash.”

Given Cray is approaching the first anniversary of its acquisition of the ClusterStor portfolio it is likely to showcase the line at ISC2018 (booth #E-921) next week (see HPCwire article, Cray Moves to Acquire the Seagate ClusterStor Line) and perhaps issue other news in its storage line. Th L300F will be available in August.

Link to release: http://investors.cray.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=98390&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2355137

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!

Oak Ridge Supercomputer Enables Next-Gen Jet Turbine Research

July 27, 2021

Air travel is notoriously carbon-inefficient, with many airlines going as far as to offer purchasable carbon offsets to ease the guilt over large-footprint travel. But even over just the last decade, major aircraft model Read more…

IBM and University of Tokyo Roll Out Quantum System One in Japan

July 27, 2021

IBM and the University of Tokyo today unveiled an IBM Quantum System One as part of the IBM-Japan quantum program announced in 2019. The system is the second IBM Quantum System One assembled outside the U.S. and follows Read more…

Intel Unveils New Node Names; Sapphire Rapids Is Now an ‘Intel 7’ CPU

July 27, 2021

What's a preeminent chip company to do when its process node technology lags the competition by (roughly) one generation, but outmoded naming conventions make it seem like it's two nodes behind? For Intel, the response w Read more…

Will Approximation Drive Post-Moore’s Law HPC Gains?

July 26, 2021

“Hardware-based improvements are going to get more and more difficult,” said Neil Thompson, an innovation scholar at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). “I think that’s something that this crowd will probably, actually, be already familiar with.” Thompson, speaking... Read more…

With New Owner and New Roadmap, an Independent Omni-Path Is Staging a Comeback

July 23, 2021

Put on a shelf by Intel in 2019, Omni-Path faced a uncertain future, but under new custodian Cornelis Networks, OmniPath is looking to make a comeback as an independent high-performance interconnect solution. A "significant refresh" – called Omni-Path Express – is coming later this year according to the company. Cornelis Networks formed last September as a spinout of Intel's Omni-Path division. Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Accelerate innovation in healthcare and life sciences with AWS HPC

With Amazon Web Services, researchers can access purpose-built HPC tools and services along with scientific and technical expertise to accelerate the pace of discovery. Whether you are sequencing the human genome, using AI/ML for disease detection or running molecular dynamics simulations to develop lifesaving drugs, AWS has the infrastructure you need to run your HPC workloads. Read more…

PEARC21 Panel Reviews Eight New NSF-Funded HPC Systems Debuting in 2021

July 23, 2021

Over the past few years, the NSF has funded a number of HPC systems to further supply the open research community with computational resources to meet that community’s changing and expanding needs. A review of these systems at the PEARC21 conference (July 19-22) highlighted... Read more…

Intel Unveils New Node Names; Sapphire Rapids Is Now an ‘Intel 7’ CPU

July 27, 2021

What's a preeminent chip company to do when its process node technology lags the competition by (roughly) one generation, but outmoded naming conventions make i Read more…

Will Approximation Drive Post-Moore’s Law HPC Gains?

July 26, 2021

“Hardware-based improvements are going to get more and more difficult,” said Neil Thompson, an innovation scholar at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). “I think that’s something that this crowd will probably, actually, be already familiar with.” Thompson, speaking... Read more…

With New Owner and New Roadmap, an Independent Omni-Path Is Staging a Comeback

July 23, 2021

Put on a shelf by Intel in 2019, Omni-Path faced a uncertain future, but under new custodian Cornelis Networks, OmniPath is looking to make a comeback as an independent high-performance interconnect solution. A "significant refresh" – called Omni-Path Express – is coming later this year according to the company. Cornelis Networks formed last September as a spinout of Intel's Omni-Path division. Read more…

Chameleon’s HPC Testbed Sharpens Its Edge, Presses ‘Replay’

July 22, 2021

“One way of saying what I do for a living is to say that I develop scientific instruments,” said Kate Keahey, a senior fellow at the University of Chicago a Read more…

Summer Reading: “High-Performance Computing Is at an Inflection Point”

July 21, 2021

At last month’s 11th International Symposium on Highly Efficient Accelerators and Reconfigurable Technologies (HEART), a group of researchers led by Martin Schulz of the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (Munich) presented a “position paper” in which they argue HPC architectural landscape... Read more…

PEARC21 Panel: Wafer-Scale-Engine Technology Accelerates Machine Learning, HPC

July 21, 2021

Early use of Cerebras’ CS-1 server and wafer-scale engine (WSE) has demonstrated promising acceleration of machine-learning algorithms, according to participa Read more…

15 Years Later, the Green500 Continues Its Push for Energy Efficiency as a First-Order Concern in HPC

July 15, 2021

The Green500 list, which ranks the most energy-efficient supercomputers in the world, has virtually always faced an uphill battle. As Wu Feng – custodian of the Green500 list and an associate professor at Virginia Tech – tells it, “noone" cared about energy efficiency in the early 2000s, when the seeds... Read more…

Frontier to Meet 20MW Exascale Power Target Set by DARPA in 2008

July 14, 2021

After more than a decade of planning, the United States’ first exascale computer, Frontier, is set to arrive at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) later this year. Crossing this “1,000x” horizon required overcoming four major challenges: power demand, reliability, extreme parallelism and data movement. Read more…

AMD Chipmaker TSMC to Use AMD Chips for Chipmaking

May 8, 2021

TSMC has tapped AMD to support its major manufacturing and R&D workloads. AMD will provide its Epyc Rome 7702P CPUs – with 64 cores operating at a base cl Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

Berkeley Lab Debuts Perlmutter, World’s Fastest AI Supercomputer

May 27, 2021

A ribbon-cutting ceremony held virtually at Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) today marked the official launch of Perlmutter – aka NERSC-9 – the GPU-accelerated supercomputer built by HPE in partnership with Nvidia and AMD. Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer called Dojo to process truly vast amounts of video data. It’s a beast! … A truly useful exaflop at de facto FP32.” Read more…

Google Launches TPU v4 AI Chips

May 20, 2021

Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke for only one minute and 42 seconds about the company’s latest TPU v4 Tensor Processing Units during his keynote at the Google I Read more…

CentOS Replacement Rocky Linux Is Now in GA and Under Independent Control

June 21, 2021

The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) is announcing the general availability of Rocky Linux, release 8.4, designed as a drop-in replacement for the soon-to-be discontinued CentOS. The GA release is launching six-and-a-half months after Red Hat deprecated its support for the widely popular, free CentOS server operating system. The Rocky Linux development effort... Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

Iran Gains HPC Capabilities with Launch of ‘Simorgh’ Supercomputer

May 18, 2021

Iran is said to be developing domestic supercomputing technology to advance the processing of scientific, economic, political and military data, and to strengthen the nation’s position in the age of AI and big data. On Sunday, Iran unveiled the Simorgh supercomputer, which will deliver.... Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

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…

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…

GTC21: Nvidia Launches cuQuantum; Dips a Toe in Quantum Computing

April 13, 2021

Yesterday Nvidia officially dipped a toe into quantum computing with the launch of cuQuantum SDK, a development platform for simulating quantum circuits on GPU-accelerated systems. As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang emphasized in his keynote, Nvidia doesn’t plan to build... Read more…

Microsoft to Provide World’s Most Powerful Weather & Climate Supercomputer for UK’s Met Office

April 22, 2021

More than 14 months ago, the UK government announced plans to invest £1.2 billion ($1.56 billion) into weather and climate supercomputing, including procuremen Read more…

Q&A with Jim Keller, CTO of Tenstorrent, and an HPCwire Person to Watch in 2021

April 22, 2021

As part of our HPCwire Person to Watch series, we are happy to present our interview with Jim Keller, president and chief technology officer of Tenstorrent. One of the top chip architects of our time, Keller has had an impactful career. Read more…

Quantum Roundup: IBM, Rigetti, Phasecraft, Oxford QC, China, and More

July 13, 2021

IBM yesterday announced a proof for a quantum ML algorithm. A week ago, it unveiled a new topology for its quantum processors. Last Friday, the Technical Univer Read more…

Senate Debate on Bill to Remake NSF – the Endless Frontier Act – Begins

May 18, 2021

The U.S. Senate today opened floor debate on the Endless Frontier Act which seeks to remake and expand the National Science Foundation by creating a technology Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire