DataDirect Networks Storage Buying Guide

DataDirect Networks (DDN) of Chatsworth, Calif. is positioning itself to deal with what it calls a “nuclear explosion of information” that is forcing the convergence of storage and compute power and changing how organizations handle data.

“Machine-to-machine technology, social networks, consumer content creation and mobile devices such as iPads and smartphones are generating huge amounts of data, much of it semi-structured or unstructured,” said Jeff Denworth, vice president, product marketing, DataDirect Networks. “IDC predicts that the amount of digital video content available will grow 40x between now and 2020.”

The company’s product family is divided into three main categories: storage arrays, files systems and web object storage systems designed for the cloud.


DDN’s storage arrays use a couple of architectures. Its Storage Fusion Architecture (SFA) is a parallelized storage processing technology for high IOPS and throughput — Denworth said up to 1 million IOPS and up to 10GB/s throughput. It also delivers up to 2.4PB in two racks.

“SFA is the storage technology of choice for the most extreme storage infrastructure projects,” he said.

Another architecture is DataDirect’s Silicon Storage Appliance (SSA) or “S-two-A” technology, which is aimed at throughput-intensive environments.

DDN storage array platforms include the S2A9900, S2A6620 and SFA10000. The S2A6620, for example, is a 4U-dense storage appliance aimed at the midrange. By adding additional enclosures, it can scale up to 120 drives up to 360TB in what becomes 8U).

DDN’s Realtime Adaptive Cache Technology (REACT) delivers balanced throughput and IOPS performance — up to 335,000 IOPS from its 12GB of mirrored, battery backed-up cache, and 2GB/s of sustained bandwidth for large file throughput. It can combine SATA, SAS and SSD drives within the appliance. SATAssure helps the appliance manage large pools of SATA storage via error detection and correction and other features.

DDN arrays come with active/active dual controllers, sequential read and write up to 6GB/s, various RAID configurations and support for Windows, Linux, Solaris, IRIX, AIX and Mac OS.

Software features include LUN mapping and masking and/or port zoning, real-time data verification, background data scrubbing and more.

Web Object Scaler

DDN’s Web Object Scaler (WOS) cloud storage is a file storage technology that aims to simplify and improve how content is stored, distributed and accessed across multiple sites.

“WOS is ideal for building geographically dispersed global storage clouds holding billions of files and Petabytes of content in a single namespace,” said Denworth.

Currently the following enclosure types are available:

  • 4U, dual-node, 30TB and 1 billion objects per node (2 billion total objects, 60TB total storage) — 30KB average object size — optimized for large scale WOS Clouds with lots of data
  • 4U, dual-node, 15TB and 1 billion objects per node (2 billion total objects, 30TB total storage) — 15KB average object size–optimized for medium scale and cost effectiveness
  • 4U, dual-node, 13.5TB and 1 billion objects per node (2 billion total objects, 27TB total storage) — 13.5KB average object size–optimized for large scale, high-performance delivery of small files
  • 3U, single-node, 16TB and 1 billion objects per node — 16KB average object size — optimized for entry-level clusters.
  • 3U, single-node, 7.2TB and 1 billion objects per node — 7.2KB average object size — high object read and write rate optimized. Ideal for lots of small files and thumbnail image storage.

“Different enclosure types may be mixed within the same WOS Cloud,” said Denworth. “You can start with smaller 3U, 16TB enclosures and expand the cloud later with 4U, 60TB enclosures.”

File Storage

DDN also offers a variety of file system storage options. This includes the ExaScaler, GridScaler, xStream Scaler and NAS Scaler. Each delivers high I/O, scalability and streaming engine capabilities.

xSTREAMScaler, for example, is both file storage and an hierarchical storage management (HSM) system, which can be combined with the S2A Extreme Storage, for high throughput and low latency data streaming. It supports many server platforms and operating systems as a means of tying together disparate systems and providing greater bandwidth via SAN file sharing as compared to network attached storage approaches.

“The xSTREAMScaler manages data across performance storage tiers, archive storage tiers and tape systems to reduce data management overhead and reduce capital expense,” said Denworth.

He laid out a few sample configurations:

  • Large Building Block: S2A9900SAN Connectivity: 8 x FC8; Performance: 5.5GB/s per scaling unit; Capacity: Up to 1.9PB usable per SU


  • Medium Building Block: S2A9700SAN Connectivity; 8 x FC4. Performance: 2.5GB/s per scaling unit; Capacity: Up to 1.9PB usable
  • Small Building Block: S2A6620SAN Connectivity; 4 x FC8. Performance: 1+GB/s per scaling unit; Capacity: Up to 192TB usable


“Pricing per solution varies upon each customer’s environment and implementation,” said Denworth.

Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in California, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).

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Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb has been a full-time professional writer and editor for more than twenty years. He currently works freelance for a number of IT publications, including eSecurity Planet and CIO Insight. He is also the editor-in-chief of an international engineering magazine.
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