DDN Storage Supporting Breakthroughs in Autonomous Vehicles and Data-Intensive Research at the University of Michigan

DDN Storage Used in Highly Diverse Research, Including Large Imaging Files that Explore the Future of Transportation and Data-Intensive Studies on Opioid Misuse and Alternative Treatments

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – September 5, 2018 – DataDirect Networks (DDN®) announced today a new data management solution developed and deployed at the University of Michigan (U-M) that will help support an increasingly diverse set of research projects spanning machine learning, transportation, precision health, chemistry, computational flow dynamics, life sciences, physics and public policy.

U-M’s Advanced Research Computing – Technology Services (ARC-TS) unit has seen demand for research storage surge. With more than 4,000 students and faculty working on approximately 370 independent data-intensive projects annually, storage needs have grown beyond 14PB. Moreover, an increase in diversified areas of study has caused demand to grow 100 percent annually over the past three years, which taxed ARC-TS’s ability to address the rise in data volume and computational complexity.

As data volumes climbed, ARC-TS sought storage that could handle large file sizes, especially massive raw video files and sensor data produced by Mcity, a one-of-a-kind urban test facility for connected and automated vehicles. The University has deployed two driverless shuttles on campus, which requires not only collection of data from each shuttle, but also the monitoring of how passengers interact in an environment where there is no human driver.

Separately, large image datasets are being generated by electron microscopy, and the university-wide Precision Health initiative is applying genomic, epigenetic and public policy research to better understand the risk factors associated with long-term opioid use and abuse. To provide researchers with storage to support these burgeoning research areas, ARC-TS chose a 5PB DDN storage solution that provides the ability to scale as workloads increase.

The result is the Locker Large-File Storage service, a cost optimized, high-capacity service that provides high performance for large files, and allows investigators across U-M to connect their data to computing resources necessary for their research, including U-M’s HPC clusters.

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“DDN storage is performance-optimized and able to handle large volumes of data,” said ARC-TS director Brock Palen. “We can scale DDN storage capacity in small increments to reduce cost, while maintaining the ability to grow to more than 1,700 drives behind a single pair of controllers and meeting rigorous performance requirements—that’s pretty unusual in the industry.”

DDN’s support for native encryption is allowing ARC-TS to work toward storing sensitive personal health data to support U-M’s varied life sciences research and precision health projects.

“Thanks to DDN, we can help our faculty to budget for the storage performance they need to support major breakthroughs across all types of research,” Palen said.

ARC-TS plans to continue to grow the Locker Large-File Storage service to address expanding research storage requirements.

“Data-intensive organizations choose DDN to create the right-size building blocks for their environment,” said Paul Bloch, president and co-founder of DDN. “The University of Michigan is conducting pioneering research across varying workflows and multiple disciplines, so they need to grow storage quickly, reliably and securely. Researchers using the Locker service can move forward with the peace of mind that their storage is optimized to handle the most demanding machine learning and research workloads.”

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About DDN
DataDirect Networks (DDN) is the world’s leading big data storage supplier to data-intensive, global organizations. For 20 years, DDN has designed, developed, deployed and optimized systems, software and storage solutions that enable enterprises, service providers, universities and government agencies to generate more value and to accelerate time to insight from their data and information, on premise and in the cloud. Organizations leverage the power of DDN storage technology and the deep technical expertise of its team to capture, store, process, analyze, collaborate and distribute data, information and content at the largest scale in the most efficient, reliable and cost-effective manner. DDN customers include many of the world’s leading financial services firms and banks, healthcare and life science organizations, manufacturing and energy companies, government and research facilities, and web and cloud service providers. For more information, go to or call 1-800-837-2298.

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