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Report on Supercomputing 2019 (SC19)

With lot of storage in various flavors

We wrote this a few days ago but Supercomputing 2019 conference is becoming one of the most important independent and industry event covering HPC, storage and associated data management.

This year the conference took place on November 18-21 at the Convention Center of Denver, CO we count more than 370 exhibitors and sponsors for almost 14,000 attendees globally.

Many topics were super hot, NVMe, AI, cloud, file storage to name a few.

Nvidia, with the biggest booth, made several announcements especially one about Magnum IO based on GPUDirect. It is related to GPUDirect Storage available for early-access customers. We also visited Cerebras Systems and Lambda Labs booths.

NVMe was very visible, no doubt about it, many booth displayed solution, and the opposite is true, not having one creates doubt. We saw Kioxia, Supermicro, Inspur, QCT but also Vexata at Nexsan booth (both StorCentric’s brand) and SwitchStor at Smart IOPS one. On the same block storage topic, DDN closed officially the WD IntelliFlash business acquisition.

All three cloud service providers giants – AWS, Azure and GCP – got big booth to promote storage and compute in the cloud.

File storage was of course very visible as well as usual promoting distributed models such IBM Spectrum Scale, Lustre, BeeGFS, DDN, WekaIO, Panasas or Quobyte but also NAS vendors such Pure Storage, Qumulo and VAST Data. We invite the reader to access the 2019 edition of the Coldago Research Map for file storage report.

The convergence of use cases and technologies with enterprise adopting HPC storage and HPC applications using NFS solutions are more and more visible. The recent IO500 illustrates this perfectly with VAST Data and Qumulo listed.

GCP has promoted DDN ExaScaler both in the IO500 ranking and on their booth. We continue to wonder why Elastifile got acquired or we understand it is just used as a scale-out extension of Google’s historic Filestore confirming a real good bargain. Google swallowed Elastifile for a pretty small amount.

Back to the IO500 in the top 20, WekaIO is #1 and# 2 deployments, DDN has 6 installations, Lustre 8, Spectrum Scale only 2, BeeGFS 5 promoted by Dell, Inspur, Penguin Computing, AdvancedHPC and “homemade” at IST Austria, CephFS 1, VAST Data 1 and Intel DAOS 1 (Intel pitched DAOS on their booth). Lustre is #1 with 40% of presence, BeeGFS #2 with 25%, Spectrum Scale #3 with 10% like WekaIO and NFS appears with 1 installation representing 5%. Interestingly IBM is not mentioned directly as the 2 Spectrum Scale configurations are attributed to Oracle and DDN. Also NAS and Qumulo occupy the next 3 positions (#21, #22 and #23).

VAST Data was present at General Dynamics and at Penguin Computing booths having signed a reseller deal with them. Penguin also promotes WekaIO in its FrostBytes offering. WekaIO and Panasas took advantage of the conference to introduce a new logo and colors. Panasas finally displayed ActiveStor Ultra and PanFS 8 and spoke about its future direction around NVMe-oF.

Spending time at IBM booth, we understand that the new Spectrum Scale licensing model for partners between v4 and v5 created some friction. It explained why DDN has made a strategic move to address and cut its IBM relationship eventually. In fact, DDN acquired Whamcloud, the Intel Lustre business entity, mid 2018, to control Lustre destiny, at least influence it, with the ultimate goal to convert Spectrum Scale/GPFS installed base to Lustre. It justified why DDN is developing a migration service for such usage to complement DataFlow from Atempo.

Object storage was pretty weak with Caringo, Cloudian, DDN, IBM, Pure Storage, NetApp and Spectra Logic to list major players.

Mellanox made also several announcements around 200Gb HDR IB with partners such Dell and around solutions dedicate to AI and HPC.

We recently published all 47 press releases from Cray, DDN, Dell, Eideticom, Igneous, Intel, Kalray, Kioxia, Liqid, Mellanox, PAC Storage, Panasas, Qumulo, ScaleMP, Tyan, Viking and WekaIO.

Next edition on November 19-21 2020 in Atlanta, GA