DDN Brings High-Performance Computing To Enterprise Clients With Flashscale

DataDirect Networks, which has primarily focused on the high-performance computing market, moved Tuesday to increase its embrace of the enterprise storage market with the introduction of what it calls one of the fastest storage platforms available.

The new DDN Flashscale family of all-flash scale-out and scale-up storage solutions delivers up to 6 million IOPS and throughput of up to 60 GBs per second in a 4U footprint, said Michael King, senior director of marketing for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based storage vendor.

In a full-rack configuration, the DDN Flashscale SFA14KXi delivers up to 60 million IOPS and 600 GBs per second based on the latest NVMe flash storage technology, with latencies as low as 100 microseconds, King told CRN.

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The new DDN Flashscale solutions are DDN's way to bring the power of analytics and all-flash storage technology to enterprise customers, King said.

"In the past, we focused on the high-performance computing space," he said. "We had this great idea when we started that we would come into the media and entertainment market with digital transformation solutions. The joke is, on the way, we ran into a meeting with ... NASA, which said our technology would apply to solving their problems."

However, King said, enterprises are looking more at high-performance computing solutions than in the past, thanks to new applications like the Internet of Things. For instance, he said, electric companies are looking for better ways to work with smart meters.

"Having a system that performs with that kind of data helps get value from that data," he said.

The DDN Flashscale SFA14KXi, the first in the new Flashscale family, can be configured with SAS or NVMe SSDs, King said. "We have the SAS SSD option because NVMe SSDs are still hard to source," he said. "We are looking at two suppliers, and waiting to see who comes to market first."

The SFA14KXi also features Intel Broadwell processors for performance, and has a wide range of connectivity options including Fibre Channel. "We want this to be enterprise-ready from Day 1," he said.

The DDN Flashscale SFA14KXi is also the company's first solution to be promoted for use with structured data from the start, King said.

"Some of our other solutions work with structured data," King said. "But now we're promoting it. Before, customers had to work with other software to make it work. Enterprises really like SQL Server and Oracle, so we had to add this capability."

DDN's new Flashscale family is touting some impressive numbers, said Matt Odle, solutions architect at cStor, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based solution provider and DDN channel partner.

DDN has not really done much on the enterprise side of the business, but the new DDN Flashscale SFA14KXi will open doors to new enterprise customers and on the enterprise side of existing customers in the education and government business, Odle told CRN.

With many of those institutions, high-performance computing is a small portion of what they do, he said.

"This could really open some conversations on the enterprise side for big SQL or Oracle shops," he said. "I am definitely going to have conversations with our clients. DDN is not used to working with an enterprise clientele. It will be interesting to see how it does."

Street pricing for the DDN Flashscale SFA14KXi is about $1 per Gbyte, or about 5 cents per IOP, King said.

The new solution is expected to begin shipping in August.