Data At AI Speeds

News from SwiftStack on NVIDIA acquisition, today, as well as news on WDC U.2 NVME QLC NAND enterprise SSDs and two recent announcements from Kioxia in today’s blog.

SwiftStack is being acquired by NVIDIA. SwiftStack is a software-driven data storage and management platform for data-intensive applications and workflows, providing access to data across the edge, core data centers and public clouds. The image below, from the SwiftStack web site gives some idea of the SwiftStack software ecosystem.

SwiftStack says that it has worked for more than a year with NVIDIA to solve the data challenges to enable AI at scale. The release about the announcement says that, “Last year, when we announced SwiftStack 7, we unveiled our focus on the SwiftStack Data Platform for AI, HPC, and accelerated computing. This included SwiftStack 1space as a valuable piece of the puzzle, enabling data acceleration in the core, at the edge, and in the cloud.”

During a briefing with Erik Pounds, VP of Marketing at SwiftStack and Manuvir Das, Head of Enterprise Computing at NVIDIA I was told that NVIDIA sees itself as an accelerated computing company, making raw workloads run faster for AI and other data intensive applications. NVIDIA is involved with full stack software up to applications but doesn’t want to be a storage vendor. OpenStack’s open source model appealed to NVIDIA and the company adopted SwiftStack’s 1space for its internal AI/ML operations. 1space plugs into existing storage in use by NVIDIA’s customers to enable their AI applications

SwiftStack’s strong installed base combined with NVIDIA’s own experience made the acquisition attractive. Swiftstack provides support for storage at scale and with high performance. SwiftStack implementation are as large as 200 PB in a single namespace with impressive performance and allows caching and tiering in S3.

Western Digital announced their new WD Gold Enterprise-class U.2 NVMe SSDs for small and medium sized enterprise (SME) data centers to improve application responsiveness, lower TCO and accelerate time to make business decisions. The product is said to provide up to 5 X the sequential performance available on enterprise SATA SSDs.

The product is slated to ship in Q2 2020 and complements the recently launched WD Gold HDDs by providing a high-performance storage tier for applications and data sets requiring low latency and high throughput. WDC says that these SSDs are using its 3D TLC NAND flash with purpose-built firmware and their own integrated controller. The products provide secure boot and secure erase for data protection.

Also recently Kioxia said that it is sampling UFS 3.1 embedded flash memory devices for mobile applications requiring high-performance and low power consumption. The product comes in four capacities, 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB. The new devices integrate BiCS FLASH 3D flash memory and a controller in a JEDEC-standard 11.5 x 13mm package. The controller performs error correction, wear leveling, logical-to-physical address translation, and bad-block management for simplified system development.

Separately, Kioxia announced that its KumoScale storage software based on NVMe-oF now includes a distributed, resilient provisioner service that according to the company, “…removes the guesswork associated with software allocation, and automatically provides the right amount of capacity and performance to each application workload within a cloud data center.”

NVIDIA is buying SwiftStack to enable data availability at AI speeds on their customers own storage hardware. WDC introduces Gold Enterprise-class U.2 NVMe SSDs. Kioxia is sampling UFS 3.2 embedded flash devices for CE applications and adds storage provisioner services to its KumoScale NVMe-oF storage software.


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