NetApp targets storage for high-performance computing

Data Ontap GX eases the movement of data among storage nodes and tiers

Network Appliance on Monday introduced a new operating system to power its storage for high-performance Linux computing clusters in large-scale computational systems.

With its new Data Ontap GX operating system, NetApp has combined the global namespace functionality of Spinnaker Networks' SpinOS technology, which it acquired in 2003, with capabilities of its own operating system, Data Ontap 7G. The software, which runs on NetApp's FAS6070 and FAS3050 arrays, allows multiple nodes to appear as one single system and eases the movement of data among storage nodes and tiers, the company said.

The company is targeting systems such as those used for seismic analysis in oil exploration; the creation of special effects in the entertainment industry; and semiconductor design simulation.

The new architecture has allowed Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), a provider of visual effects services for the entertainment industry, to simplify storage management and to cut its storage budget by about half, said Michael Thompson, senior systems engineer, for ILM, in San Rafael, California.

"We have 200 terabytes of storage split across 20 servers, and our end users see this as one big, giant 200 terabyte disk on the network. It dramatically simplifies things, where people don't have to keep track of where stuff is," Thompson said.

The company has been beta-testing Data Ontap GX for six months, as well as a prerelease version of GX for two years before that.

"With the GX system because you virtualize all of the storage into looking like one big disk, you can smush the data out over all the servers so it's all very evenly loaded. We used to have to build each of our file servers big enough for our whole render farm, which has about 3,000 processors, and that got very expensive. Now we can have a larger number of smaller servers," Thompson said.

Data Ontap GX is available now.

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