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DataDirect Networks' IME14K jumps into all-flash market

The IME14K all-flash array from DataDirect Networks runs Infinite Memory Engine accelerator software to create a data-aware tier that writes to fast SSD cache and reorders I/O as it moves to storage.

DataDirect Networks (DDN) today unveiled its first all-flash storage system, the second product in its newly released DDN14Ke hardware line.

The DataDirect Networks IME14K all-flash array runs the vendor's Infinite Memory Engine (IME) I/O flash accelerator software. It scales to 150 TB of raw capacity in 4U of rack space with 72 SAS-connected solid-state drives or 48 NVMe-compliant flash cards.

A scalable read/write cache is designed to deliver line speed performance. IME creates a fast data-aware tier that sits between a compute layer and parallel file system. The high-performance computing vendor said compute-intensive jobs typically performed in memory could be run on the scalable IME flash cache instead.

"Putting faster disks in the data center doesn't really speed things up very much, because the file system that sits in front of storage is not optimized," said Molly Rector, DataDirect Networks' chief marketing officer and executive vice president for product management and worldwide marketing. "IME enables the file system to accept I/O in the same way that an application writes it."

DataDirect Networks' flash software learns which datasets an application is likely to recall and uses the intelligence to pre-warm the cache. To optimize writes to the file system, IME reorders I/O traffic as it moves out of cache in to storage.

DDN all-flash array supports open systems

The DataDirect Networks IME14K array features FUSE driver software semantics to eliminate I/O bottlenecks and enable IME to be used in any application environment without modifying code. An out-of-band open API supports data flushing, integration with job schedulers and pre-staging IME cache to receive new jobs. Customers of DataDirect Networks can burst compute workloads directly into IME cache to avoid overprovisioning storage. 

Data Direct Networks flash software learns which datasets an application is likely to recall and uses the intelligence to pre-warm the cache.

"The key to what DDN is doing is using a huge amount of flash in the array," said Steve Conway, a research vice president with IDC's high-performance computing practice. "With the era of big data, supercomputers have become very compute-centric. The trick is how you move that data around. Using intermediate storage with SSDs is going to really help organizations solve that problem more quickly."

The DataDirect Networks IME14K flash array follows last week's debut of the company's SFA14Ke hyper-converged appliance. Both platforms are part of the DDN14Ke hardware line. The DDN14Ke devices embed an internal PCIe fabric with Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and run the high-performance computing vendor's Storage Fusion Architecture operating system software.

 The DataDirect Networks IME14K arrays are available now, but the vendor did not disclose pricing.

Next Steps

Is all-flash the best option?

How to select an all-flash array

A closer look at the all-flash market

Dig Deeper on SSD array implementations

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