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Recap of Huawei Innovative Data Infrastructure Forum 2024 in Berlin, Germany

Main topic was about AI.

Huawei Technologies, the Chinese technology giant, organized its European 2024 edition of its Innovative Data Infrastructure Forum in Berlin, Germany, May 7. It was a key show for the company to provide an update on its company trajectory and storage products with several hundreds of its customers and partners coming from Europe.

The main topic was about AI and this hot topic currently plays a significant role on the market in 2 ways at least: Storage for AI, often named AI Storage, and obviously AI in Storage and associated domains like data management.

The team took advantage of the event to demonstrate current products and new ones with the announcement, again, of the A800, already promoted during the last Huawei Connect in Shanghai last September 2023 but also the official launch of its last NVMe SSD for a record capacity of 128TB.

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The second announcement is related to DME – Data Management Engine – and how this product plays in AI. DME offers data view, management and mobility to build a global data layer that facilitates access to data wherever it resides. DME is extended with Omni-Dataverse to better manage data in an AI centric world.

Peter Zhou, VP, data storage, Huawei, also has insisted on 6 key dimensions to define Huawei’s AI Ready data Infrastructure:

  1. Performance
  2. Data paradigm with different format, access, type…
  3. Resiliency
  4. Data Fabric
  5. Scalability
  6. Sustainability

He also gave 2 key metrics and thresholds with 1W/TB and 1PB/U that drive their developments as well.

Back to the A800, the model is hyper scalable, 4,096 cards can be coupled and up to 512 controllers with 1PB/U with 0.7W/TB. Performance is impressive and Zhou claimed to beat the reference in the domain by a factor of 4 in the bandwidth and 8 in IO/s.

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At the expo show, we saw lots of interesting products. Among them the Combo screen displaying 3 mid-range storage chassis able to offer dense storage in reduced size. For instance the OceanStor 5310 delivers 3.2PB/U.

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The storage team wishes also to address the shared-nothing model present in the parallel file system domain for years with the simplicity of storage servers coupled together. Here the OceanDisk replaces 20 storage servers based on simple capacity and these servers become diskless connected to this array with fast networks. Finally the shared-nothing model is changed to a shared-disk model contributing to reducing the power consumption, improving the reliability with 5 nines and better bandwidth.

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File system is central at Huawei, present across several products. We find NFS+, a parallel flavor of NFS working with v3 and v4 developed with OpenEuler team that leverages OceanFS, a global data layer deployed on NAS heads. NFS+ is distinct from pNFS. There is also a global file system service, a multisite software and approach, that can be coupled with DME and NFS+.

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Of course, data protection is everywhere at Huawei with RAID-TP, wide erasure coding, OceanProtect as a de-dupe backup appliance and obviously ransomware protection with a chain of data management functions and OceanCyber.

The Huawei event confirms what Coldago Research mentioned for several years with the U3 – Universal, Unified and Ubiquitous – Storage.

At the same time, business restrictions continue for Huawei with some countries and prevent them from penetrating some markets. But we saw and met several European customers in various domains who chose Huawei’s products even with this directive. We can imagine the other side of the coin if this restriction wouldn’t exist as Huawei is very active with new products with innovation in tons of areas.

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