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DataDirect Networks’ S2A9550 Storage System Helps Indiana University Win 2007 Supercomputing Bandwidth Challenge


DataDirect Networks Proves Yet Again That its Storage Systems can Handle the World’s Most Computationally-Intense Applications


11/15/2007 | Reno, NV


DataDirect Networks Inc., a leading provider of scalable storage systems for performance and capacity-driven applications, today announced that the company’s S2A9550 was the storage system used by Indiana University to win this year’s prestigious Supercomputing ’07 bandwidth challenge.


The challenge, which was held at Supercomputing ’07 in Reno, Nevada, is an annual competition for leading-edge network applications developed by teams of researchers from around the world. The event provides a showcase for the technologies and people who provide the networking capabilities crucial to supercomputing. The Bandwidth Challenge is designed to test the limits of network capabilities.


Bandwidth Challenge Methodology


Each participant this year had to fully utilize one 10 Gig path, end-to-end, disk-to-disk, from SC07 in Reno, Nevada back to their home institution, using the actual production network back home. Participants had to demonstrate and publish the configuration, troubleshooting, tuning and policies, not only to show off at SC07, but to leave a legacy at their home institution whereby the institute’s scientists can achieve the same results after the participant has left the institution.


Bandwidth Challenge entries were judged on a number of criteria, including:


Support of science mission
Use of production network at home institution
Serving as a Model
Efficient Bandwidth Utilization – maximum 1 x 10 Gbps
Innovative use of protocols
End-to-end, disk-to-disk applications


Indiana University’s Entry


Indiana University demonstrated a model for remote data collection using the Lustre filesystem across the wide area network. Using distributed filesystem mounts located in Reno, NV, Rochester, NY, Dresden Germany and Bloomington, Indiana, IU ran five simultaneous applications representing fields as diverse as high energy physics and digital humanities. In each test, Indiana University demonstrated a complete workflow, producing, analyzing and visualizing the data. Using a full-duplex 10 Gigabit link, Indiana University reached a peak bandwidth of 18.2Gbits/sec using Internet2 to connect to their home network. Among the physical tests they ran included:


An analysis of the amyloid peptide, which is believed to be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. The object was to find the weak point in that molecule so that we could break it down
The capture of live instrument data from multiple geographically distributed X-ray diffractometers using the Common Instrument Middleware Architecture (CIMA) developed at IU


“We have been ecstatic with the level of performance we have achieved with DataDirect Networks’ S2A9550. DDN has been a perfect match for IU’s Data Capacitor because their disk system is capable of accommodating even the most aggressive data fire hose,” said Stephen Simms, manager of the Data Capacitor project at Indiana University.


DataDirect Networks’ S2A9550 employs the company’s award-winning Silicon Storage Architecture technology and is the industry’s highest performing and densest storage solution. The system enables the creation of differentiated high performance, high capacity NAS and SAN storage, parallel and shared file system storage, primary and nearline storage and virtual tape library storage solutions and incorporates enterprise-class data protection such as on-the-fly parity checking of all read I/Os and hardware RAID 6. The S2A9550’s pioneering hardware-based DirectRAID engine protects data in the event of a double disk failure in the same redundancy group, without adversely affecting data availability or system performance.


“We are pleased to learn that the S2A9550’s powerful parallel, hardware-accelerated storage engine was instrumental in Indiana University’s win today,” said Alex Bouzari, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of DataDirect Networks. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Indiana University into the future as they develop bold new applications that require data-intensive computing and advance storage solutions.”


On November, 13, 2007 DataDirect Networks announced the S2A9900 StorageScaler, the company’s eighth-generation S2A system, which delivers sustained bandwidth of up to 6GB/s per appliance and enables storage systems to scale to beyond 250GB/s in total throughput to the disk drives. The S2A9900 delivers eight times the performance of competing technologies.


New features built into the S2A9900 StorageScaler include support for 8Gbps Fibre Channel and 20Gbps Infiniband DDR host connections. The system leverages the latest serial attached SCSI (SAS) protocol to communicate to the drives it manages, providing a future-proof roadmap to the latest disk drive technologies, speeds and capacities. With enhancements to DirectRAID and SATAssure, customers have full system bandwidth in both reads and writes, providing the utmost in data protection. In addition, the system’s performance is not impacted by single or multiple drive failures, enabling very high quality service and performance predictability. And the new Sleep Mode allows the S2A to “spin down” drives when they are not actively accessed based on user-definable policies. Sleep Mode reduces the operational costs of storage by saving power and cooling requirements while still maintaining near-instant accessibility to data.

The newest S2A StorageScaler system will be demonstrated at the DataDirect Networks booth (booth #1437) at SuperComputing 2007 and will additionally be on display in the booths of Mellanox (Booth #127), Voltaire (Booth #1137), Sun/CFS (Booth #514) and Dell (Booth #1816). Systems will be available for delivery in March 2008.