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DDN Continues To Tame Big Data

DataDirect Networks (DDN) is announcing three members of a new series of intelligent storage products designed to accelerate data-intensive applications and consolidate infrastructure. Targeted at big data, high-performance computing, cloud and content-intensive environments, the Storage Fusion Architecture 12K (SFA12K) can house up to 84 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch SATA, SAS and SSD devices in 4U of rack space, which DDN says reduces data center sprawl by up to 40% and consumes less power per drive compared to the highest-density offerings from EMC and NetApp. It is also 240% more space-efficient than high-density EMC-Isilon offerings. The systems are expected to start shipping in the second quarter of 2012.

At the end of June, an EMC-sponsored IDC study found that data is outpacing Moore's Law, doubling every two years, with 1.8 zettabytes (1.8 trillion gigabytes) to be created and replicated in 2011. And while the cost of creating, capturing, managing and storing information has been in a free-fall, at one-sixth the cost in 2011 versus 2005, enterprises will manage 50 times more data and files will grow 75 times in the next decade.

Despite mostly flying under the radar for the last 12 years--"DDN" got 485,000 Google hits versus 4,610,000 for "big data" and 67,100,000 for storage leader "EMC"--DDN is ranked as the biggest storage company nobody has ever heard of, with an annual revenue run rate of $250 million. And if the company is little known outside the storage industry, it does have OEM relationships with many of the storage leaders, including IBM, Dell, HP, Bull and Cray.

At more than 40 Gbytes per second and 1.4 million flash IOPS, the SFA12K-40 comes with InfiniBand and Fibre Channel connectivity, and scales to 1 Tbytes per second and beyond with as little as 25 arrays, enabling consolidation at as much as 8-to-1 as opposed to competing technology such as that from NetApp, states DDN. Delivering 20 Gbytes per second of bandwidth and 700K flash IOPS, the SFA12K-20E features highly optimized virtualization and x86 co-processing, and extends DDN's In-Storage Computing offering to host its ExaScaler and GridScaler parallel file systems and/or customer applications natively within the storage array. The third member, the SFA12K-20, delivers more than 20 Gbytes per second and 700,000 Flash IOPS from a single system.

In addition to the SFA12K, DDN is announcing Storage Fusion Fabric, which supports up to 160 dedicated 6 Gbit SAS lanes and up to 500% greater storage access density than competing systems. The company also announced it will deliver real-time quality of service and predictable latency for read-intensive applications requiring sustained data access even during system component failure events, with new versions of the SFA operating system. The SATAssure+ capability will enable the system to autonomously heal itself from errant SATA drive failures through intelligent fault and power management to reduce instances of SATA drive replacement by up to 80%. In addition, the SFA12K will feature several new serviceability and usability features, including a scriptable API for simplified systems administration and monitoring.

With the SFA12K announcement, DDN has introduced new features, increased density, and lower prices, but it really comes together in terms of performance, says Addison Snell, CEO, Intersect360 Research. "Data-centric applications rely on optimal performance--per dollar, per watt, per floor tile--to drive innovations, and that has been the focus of this launch." He says the company has reaffirmed its place in the competitive landscape as the largest private provider of high-performance storage lines. "As big data analytics applications proliferate, performance-oriented vendors like DDN will find opportunities for their scalable products in new markets."

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