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Enterprise storage meets HPC with DDN SFA14KXi all flash array

High performance computing specialist aims at analytics- and transaction-heavy workloads in the enterprise with its upgraded Intel Broadwell-powered SFA array, the 14KXi

DDN has launched the Flashscale SFA14KXi, which it claims as its fastest all-flash storage array and is aimed at a market where it says enterprise storage is converging with high-performance computing (HPC).

The array makes use of Intel Broadwell CPUs and packs 72 SAS-connected flash drives or 48 NVMe PCIe-connected flash cards (plus 24 SAS-connected drives if required) into a 4U box.

This gives capacity of up to 276TB in a single box, with performance of up to 60 million input/output per second (IOPS), throughput of 60GBps and latency of less than 1 millisecond. Those figures are with the NVMe-connected cards, which give higher performance than the traditional format SSDs.

Flashscale is aimed at structured and unstructured data use cases that span traditional enterprise transactional workloads, such as financial services, databases and processor-heavy operations, such as big data analytics, life sciences and HPC.

Growth can scale-out by adding more SFA14KXi appliances with controllers or scale-up by adding up to 10 extra disk enclosures with 84-drive capacity.

A 42U rack can provide up to 60 million IOPS and 2.7PB of capacity. Up to 17 racks can be linked to provide billions of IOPS, 10TBps of throughput and up to 46PB of capacity. 

Michael King, senior marketing director with DDN, said: “The enterprise is increasingly using internet of things and machine-generated data and coming up against challenges more usually associated with HPC environments in terms of the sheer volume of transactions.”

King described DDN customer Paypal’s use of its arrays, in which it sought to maximise the amount of data it could put to use during the 1.75 seconds it set as a top limit for customer tolerance of web page latency.

Read more about all-flash storage

In this time, Paypal interrogates customer cookies to optimise suggestions for attached sales. It claimed an 8x increase in extra sales was made possible by use of DDN storage.

SFA14KXi arrays can operate as hyper-converged devices. The controller operating system (OS) is based on a CentOS Linux OS. Customers can run a KVM hypervisor on this that can act as host to their chosen applications, but also includes OpenStack, Microsoft SQL Server, Hadoop and others.

DDN launched its SFA14K arrays in November 2015. The SFA14KXi is an upgrade based on use of Intel Broadwell CPUs, replacing the previous iteration’s Haswell chips. This has reduced latency to a claimed minimum of 100μs.

Fibre channel connectivity at 16Gbps and 32Gbps has been introduced with enterprise environments in mind. DDN claims a price per GB of $1 and price per IOP at 0.5c. 14KXi arrays will be available from August 2016.

Read more on SAN, NAS, solid state, RAID