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Cray packs DataDirect into supercomputers

Hooks up meanest array

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Cray is using DataDirect Networks' (DDN) biggest, baddest array in its supercomputers.

This is the SFA10000, which offers up to 2.4PB from 1,200 SSD, SAS and SATA drives in two rack cabinets. It features up to 10GB/sec bandwidth for reads and writes, up to 1,000,000 random IOPS to cache and 300,000 random IOPS to disk, and over 60GB/sec of internal system bandwidth.

Data is placed on the best drive tier according to its priority and access pattern, and RAID 1, 5 and 6 are available. Connectivity is provided by 16 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel ports or 8 40Gbit/s Infiniband ports. It has a native parallel file system and application hosting, an active/active redundant design, and high-speed mirrored cache.

In other words a supercomputer can get at a lot of data very quickly by hooking up to this box.

Cray is using it in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Modeling and Research System, an XE6 supercomputer with sufficient SFA10000s to store 4.5PB of data using the Lustre file system, which is intended to improve weather forecasting. DDN says the NOAA plans to extend the XE6 system over time to achieve over a petaflop of theoretical system performance, and it represents the fourth petascale system for which DDN technology has been selected.

Cray is also using the SFA10000 for the US Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program. DDN SFA10000s will provide a combined capacity of 7.3PB of raw storage, again working with Lustre.

Another recent DDN sale was to the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission, which will use the SFA10000 for its new Tera-100 supercomputer developed in partnership with Bull. DDN claims it will power the world’s fastest POSIX file system and deliver over 300GB/sec of single file system performance in this Tera-100 machine.

DDN is getting itself a reputation in high-performance computing (HPC) circles. It says its storage is used in eight of the 10 largest supercomputers in the world. The company focuses on developing storage for the "most extreme, content-intensive environments in the world -- including the largest online gaming and music sites, social networking applications developers, photo and video sharing services, [and] high performance computing environments".

It does so by staying ahead of what EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and NetApp can do by delivering very fast access to lots of densely-packaged capacity. HP and IBM use its kit as well as Cray. Strategic partners include BlueArc, Dell and SGI, and it has its own reseller channel as well.

DataDirect is looking to be nicely positioned to sell more kit as HPC use spreads. ®

High performance access to file storage

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