DDN Launches EXA5 for AI, Big Data, HPC Workloads

By Doug Black

June 17, 2019

DDN, for two decades competing at the headwaters of high performance storage, this morning announced an enterprise-oriented end-to-end high performance storage and data management for AI, big data and HPC acceleration. In so doing, the company said it’s bringing to the burgeoning enterprise market for AI some of the transferable capabilities – with an emphasis on small file speed-ups required in AI workloads –that the company has developed for HPC.

Launched here at the ISC High Performance Conference in Frankfurt, EXA5 is the newest version of DDN’s EXAscaler Storage, designed to make the EXAscaler infrastructure easier to consume by offering what the company said are deeper integrations into AI and HPC ecosystems through simpler implementation and scaling models, visibility into workflows and global data management features.

DDN said EXA5 allows for scaling either with flash or with a hybrid approach “offering flexible scaling according to needs with the performance of flash or the economics of HDDs.” EXA5 is compatible with DDN’s AI pre-configured A3I storage appliances, reducing deployment time, the company said. Together they provide benchmarking, documentation and qualification with AI and GPU environments.

“We’re looking to eliminate some of that sprawl going on at the back end,” Kurt Kuckein, DDN director of marketing, told us. “Data lakes and distributed types of architectures with tightly coupled compute and storage are not able to drive the performance needed, and some archived solutions out there are too deep to be accessible. So what we’ve done is deliver exceptional performance while managing the cost profile, whether it’s cost per gigabyte served or cost per gigabyte stored on the back end.”

DDN’s objective, Kuckein said, is coupling best-in-class technologies, “extracting the ultimate value out of emergent architectures. “We hear about organizations frustrated, for example, by high end NVME systems, you put a file system in front of it and the performance would be cut in half.”

EXA5 features and capabilities include:

Strategem is DDN’s integrated policy engine for flash tiering with data management capabilities that DDN said enables users to manage most active data to scale-out flash tiers from scale-out hard disc drive (HDD) tiers. It also controls free space on flash, responding to changing demands and scanning storage devices directly to find target files.

Integration with DDN Insight for real-time analysis providing visibility into software and appliances for monitoring of DDN EXAScaler GRIDScaler, SFA and IME platforms, Insight is designed to “derive the most value from storage infrastructures and sorts running jobs by metadata activity and throughput operations,” the company said. DDN Insight identifies problem jobs, resolves performance issues and it is scalable, allowing for open back-end database and integration with other systems and switches to cope with millions of stats per second, according to DDN.

Gateway – DDN’s NAS type interface allows non-native DDN Lustre users to export file systems through DDN CIFS and NFS gateways, “providing another avenue to get access to high performance data,” the company said, “the supportive and robust solution can scale horizontally as needed to maintain consistency and lock semantics with Linux/Unix and Windows systems.

Small File Acceleration – Complementary to DDN’s granular metadata scaling capabilities, EXA5 has been built to improve scaling across EXAScaler servers, allowing efficient application of flash to small files while expanding the domain of file sizes from a few KB to multiple MB, according to DDN.

Kuckein said DDN’s small file performance is central to DDN’s efforts to enabling enterprise AI adoption.

“We’ve focused on small file performance mainly because historically its’s been something HPC applications did not drive as much as needed,” he said. “Typically, you loaded in really big files for streaming bandwidth-intensive operation, and truth be told, the HPC community is going to benefit as HPC workloads become more small file driven. Particularly the AI workloads will be mixed-type, with unstructured data, this is driving demand for better performance on small I/O operations. So we’ve done a lot of work on metadata and allowing for more efficiency out of flash-based systems. We’ve added additional flexibility and tune-ability to these, so no matter what the file size is, they all benefit from these accelerations.”

Data Protection – To guard against data corruption, EXA5 includes T10PI/DIX on an end-to-end basis, DDN said. With fully transparent applications, users are supported by EXAScaler through drives, resulting in minimal performance impact, according to the company.

EXA5 takes a key tenant-based approach to application life cycle production sets, “all the way from the application user space to the commit on the disc itself, so there’s a verification with each step that’s fully transparent to applications,” Kuckein said.

Security – EXA5 incorporates security measures that include KMIP and FIPS support plus EXA5 auditing capabilities and multi-tenancy.

“It provides the ability to audit access,” Kuckein said, “…to track who’s accessing files, when, what they’ve changed, if things are being tested in terms of denied access, all of that is logged and securely recorded in a lock-down log that can then be accessed for later auditing. We’ve been working on the depth of information that we provide in EXAScaler, going all the way to the users’ activity, and that allows us to diagnose misbehaving users who might be sucking up all the performance on a system, or to help us help customers tune their applications for I/O performance. So it allows us to granularly go from the disc drive itself, whether it’s flash or spinning media, to the end user application to determine what’s going on.”

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!

U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios Adds DoD Research & Engineering Title

July 13, 2020

Michael Kratsios, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, has been appointed acting Undersecretary of Defense for research and engineering. He replaces Mike Griffin, who along with his deputy Lis Porter, stepped down last wee Read more…

By John Russell

Supercomputer Research Reveals Star Cluster Born Outside Our Galaxy

July 11, 2020

The Milky Way is our galactic home, containing our solar system and continuing into a giant band of densely packed stars that stretches across clear night skies around the world – but, it turns out, not all of those st Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Max Planck Society Begins Installation of Liquid-Cooled Supercomputer from Lenovo

July 9, 2020

Lenovo announced today that it is supplying a new high performance computer to the Max Planck Society, one of Germany's premier research organizations. Comprised of Intel Xeon processors and Nvidia A100 GPUs, and featuri Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Xilinx Announces First Adaptive Computing Challenge

July 9, 2020

A new contest is challenging the computing world. Xilinx has announced the first Xilinx Adaptive Computing Challenge, a competition that will task developers and startups with finding creative workload acceleration solutions. Xilinx is running the Adaptive Computing Challenge in partnership with Hackster.io, a developing community... Read more…

By Staff report

Reviving Moore’s Law? LBNL Researchers See Promise in Heterostructure Oxides

July 9, 2020

The reality of Moore’s law’s decline is no longer doubted for good empirical reasons. That said, never say never. Recent work by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers suggests heterostructure oxides may b Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Best Practices for Running Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Workloads on AWS

The scalable nature and variable demand of CFD workloads makes them well-suited for a cloud computing environment. Many of the AWS instance types, such as the compute family instance types, are designed to include support for this type of workload.  Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Supercomputing the Pandemic: Scientific Community Tackles COVID-19 from Multiple Perspectives

Since their inception, supercomputers have taken on the biggest, most complex, and most data-intensive computing challenges—from confirming Einstein’s theories about gravitational waves to predicting the impacts of climate change. Read more…

President’s Council Targets AI, Quantum, STEM; Recommends Spending Growth

July 9, 2020

Last week the President Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) met (webinar) to review policy recommendations around three sub-committee reports: 1) Industries of the Future (IotF), chaired be Dario Gil (d Read more…

By John Russell

Max Planck Society Begins Installation of Liquid-Cooled Supercomputer from Lenovo

July 9, 2020

Lenovo announced today that it is supplying a new high performance computer to the Max Planck Society, one of Germany's premier research organizations. Comprise Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

President’s Council Targets AI, Quantum, STEM; Recommends Spending Growth

July 9, 2020

Last week the President Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) met (webinar) to review policy recommendations around three sub-committee reports: Read more…

By John Russell

Google Cloud Debuts 16-GPU Ampere A100 Instances

July 7, 2020

On the heels of the Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU launch in May, Google Cloud is announcing alpha availability of the A100 “Accelerator Optimized” VM A2 instance family on Google Compute Engine. The instances are powered by the HGX A100 16-GPU platform, which combines two HGX A100 8-GPU baseboards using... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Q&A: HLRS’s Bastian Koller Tackles HPC and Industry in Germany and Europe

July 6, 2020

In this exclusive interview for HPCwire – sadly not face to face – Steve Conway, senior advisor for Hyperion Research, talks with Dr.-Ing Bastian Koller about the state of HPC and its collaboration with Industry in Europe. Koller is a familiar figure in HPC. He is the managing director at High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) and also serves... Read more…

By Steve Conway, Hyperion

OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

July 2, 2020

Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion Forecast – Headwinds in 2020 Won’t Stifle Cloud HPC Adoption or Arm’s Rise

June 30, 2020

The semiannual taking of HPC’s pulse by Hyperion Research – late fall at SC and early summer at ISC – is a much-watched indicator of things come. This yea Read more…

By John Russell

Racism and HPC: a Special Podcast

June 29, 2020

Promoting greater diversity in HPC is a much-discussed goal and ostensibly a long-sought goal in HPC. Yet it seems clear HPC is far from achieving this goal. Re Read more…

Top500 Trends: Movement on Top, but Record Low Turnover

June 25, 2020

The 55th installment of the Top500 list saw strong activity in the leadership segment with four new systems in the top ten and a crowning achievement from the f Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Neocortex Will Be First-of-Its-Kind 800,000-Core AI Supercomputer

June 9, 2020

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC - a joint research organization of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) has won a $5 million award Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Honeywell’s Big Bet on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

April 7, 2020

Honeywell doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of quantum computing pioneers, but a decade ago the high-tech conglomerate better known for its control systems waded deliberately into the then calmer quantum computing (QC) waters. Fast forward to March when Honeywell announced plans to introduce an ion trap-based quantum computer whose ‘performance’ would... Read more…

By John Russell

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

Leading Solution Providers


Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU: Up to 2.5X the HPC, 20X the AI

May 14, 2020

Nvidia's first Ampere-based graphics card, the A100 GPU, packs a whopping 54 billion transistors on 826mm2 of silicon, making it the world's largest seven-nanom Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

TACC Supercomputers Run Simulations Illuminating COVID-19, DNA Replication

March 19, 2020

As supercomputers around the world spin up to combat the coronavirus, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is announcing results that may help to illumina Read more…

By Staff report

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

John Martinis Reportedly Leaves Google Quantum Effort

April 21, 2020

John Martinis, who led Google’s quantum computing effort since establishing its quantum hardware group in 2014, has left Google after being moved into an advi 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