DDN, a long-time leader in HPC storage, today announced two new products and provided more details on its DDN HPC technology integration strategy with the strengths of its recent acquisitions including Tintri, Nexenta and IntelliFlash ( by Western Digital). Following its shopping spree, DDN aggressively promoted the DDN “At Scale” brand as an HPC product line, separate from its Tintri “Intelligent Infrastructure” line as a corporate brand.
The two announced products, Tintri’s IntelliFlash H-Series and VMstore T7000, are upgrades to existing product lines and will use DDN’s AIX series advanced NVMe controller technology that powers some of the most advanced supercomputers. today, including Nvidia’s Selene who debuted at number 7 on the most recent Top500 list.
The IntelliFlash H-Series is a hybrid product that combines NVMe flash memory with hard drives for scalable capacity (up to 5 petabytes), while VMstore T7000 is a fully NVMe flash system targeting virtualized workloads.
“We are introducing this platform as part of a sort of ‘sandwich approach’ to integrate our businesses and get the most out of them,” James Coomer, DDN SVP of Products, told HPCwire. “The bottom piece of bread is the material. In the middle of the sandwich are these different software products, Tintri VMstore, IntelliFlash and EXAScaler on the DDN side. We took the intellectual property and moved it to the benefit of other software products. The top of the sandwich is cloud analytics, which we picked up from Tintri and applied to all other products over the past year. This will materialize next year.
Designating IntelliFlash H-Series and VMstore T7000, Tintri CTO Tomer Hagay said: “Even though they have different frames (front panel) and look different, we use the same platform underneath. Exactly. We are leveraging development done by DDN At Scale – all firmware, BIOS, and optimizations – for enterprise side use. We focus where we have always focused, i.e. on deep integration with ecosystems, with applications, with virtual machines, with containers, automatic QoS and data services of very high granularity.
Here are the product descriptions of DDN-Tintri (slightly modified):
- “IntelliFlash H-series – NVMe Accelerated Scalable Hybrid Flash Systems
IntelliFlash H-series hybrid flash systems combine NVMe performance with the economics of hard drives for an easy-to-manage, full-service intelligent storage infrastructure. H-Series systems enable multi-petabyte, multi-protocol environments that support both virtualized and non-virtualized SAN and NAS workloads. These systems provide a combination of performance and scalability for enterprise end user file shares and AI, analytics, and HPC workloads. The H Series enables simultaneous SAN and NAS protocol support on a single system, while incorporating powerful analysis software for faster data analysis. These enterprise-grade systems also enable large-scale file services without the performance degradation encountered when using other NAS systems.
- “VMstore T7000 – First NVMe-based VMStore system using DDN technology
The T7000 is the latest addition to VMstore [and] that delivers exceptional operational efficiency with autonomous AI-driven operations and advanced analytics. The T7000 is the first NVMe-based VMstore system, leveraging DDN’s proven NVMe technology to deliver 30% faster performance than current generation VMstore systems, and designed for today’s most demanding environments . The higher density NVMe system also supports more virtual machines in the same footprint for greater cost efficiency. “
DDN hopes that technological synergy will fuel its conquest of the corporate market. A privately held company, DDN has been in business for 20 years and “profitable for the majority of them,” Coomer said. The workforce is currently around 1,000. The company has 30 offices around the world, 150 patents and has sold around 20 exabytes of systems according to Coomer. The long-term challenge for some time has been growth. The traditional high-end HPC market, where DDN is a dominant player, tends to face boom and bust cycles and its absolute size – in dollars and number of customers – is overshadowed by the enterprise market. much larger.
Recently, DDN has expanded its portfolio through acquisitions. He took over Intel’s Luster division (parallel file system) two and a half years ago. Chandelier, of course, is very popular in HPC, especially in the high end, although it hasn’t gained much popularity in the business. DDN includes Luster in its EXAscaler product line.
The push towards the business started with the acquisition of Tintri (for $ 60 million) in 2018. Tintri had struggled after an IPO but had strong technology (VMstore). Over the past year, DDN has acquired IntelliFlash (flash memory) and Nexenta (SAN strength). The task now is to integrate these elements together and build an enterprise storage technology business, without hampering the success of DDN’s HPC business. DDN recently ranked number 1 in an Intersect360 search to study user satisfaction with suppliers.
“When DDN acquired Tintri, he indicated that he foresaw the growing importance of high performance data management and analysis for enterprise IT. New DDN products incorporate these technologies to address these trends, ”said Addison Snell, CEO of Intersect360.
Today’s announcements represent the first advancements in integrating and leveraging DDN’s HPC strength into its business line. Hagay said VMstore T7000 will be 30% faster and more flexible. The IntelliFlash H-Series also features scalability and enhanced NAS capabilities that have been largely taken over from Nexenta. The price of the new products was not disclosed. The IntelliFlash H-Series (two versions, H6100 and H6200) will be available in Q4 2020, so probably soon, while VMstore T7000 will not be available until Q1 2021.
Coomer said, “The IntelliFlash H-Series is a 2U system that can reach several petabytes. It’s hybrid, because we have NVMe in the controller. But then we have up to four of those 90-bay enclosures attached to it. As a 90-bay 4U top-load system, 3.5-inch SAS, [and] we can have up to four connected to the NVMe controller at launch, and more will come later, ”Coomer said.
“So that means about five or six petabytes of hard drive storage is managed by IntelliFlash, and NVMe and IntelliFlash managers have very read and write caching and metadata caching.” complete and perform inline deduplication and compression through this flash layer at the top. We don’t need this [capability] for databases with many traditional IntelliFlash workloads. But for new workloads using NAS, it’s usually more unstructured data or at least larger volumes of data where we need it, ”he said.
At least in the short term, navigating the new extended DDN franchise can be a bit confusing. Separate websites showcase Tintri’s scale DDN portfolio and lineup, although Coomer noted, for example, that both organizations will sell the IntelliFlash H series.
“DDN is both the parent company and the company name of At Scale and its sister company is Tintri, the corporate division. So really, there are two halves, one is to scale, the other is the business. Obviously [we’re] increasing cross-pollination between them, ”Coomer said.
The high-end HPC and traditional enterprise markets have been quite different, but this is changing as the demand for AI and AI-infused HPC capabilities grows in the larger enterprise market. Coomer noted that storage capacity and throughput are often used as rough benchmarks that separate the two markets. Coomer said that “20 gigs / sec or 30 gigs / sec and a few petabytes” roughly describes a fuzzy line between the two segments.
“The other thing is the integration of the ecosystem into the business. They expect to have various links to VMware, Hyper V, and many plugins in the items they use in the backup environment. [Those] don’t really have the same level of adoption at scale where it mostly comes down to performance and capacity.
IntelliFlash, he noted, “ticks all the boxes in the enterprise when it comes to deduplication, compression, thin provisioning, cloning, all that sort of thing. At scale, our EXAscalar ticks all the boxes when it comes to absolute performance and absolute cost-effective scaling capability. Plus, we’ve got some important business features, but not quite the same sort of flavors of an IntelliFlash. So we’re just presenting snapshots. We don’t do deduplication and compression, but we provide really solid data management.