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November 28, 2012

Video Interview: Mellanox CEO, DDN Talk Big Data Future

Datanami Staff

Mellanox and DDN have been working together for nearly eight years, before the big data enterprise market really started to take shape. Now, the two companies are adapting storage infrastructures to better suit companies looking to store and analyze in the cloud and in Hadoop clusters.

Datanami’s Managing Editor Nicole Hemsoth spoke with Mellanox CEO Eyal Waldman and DDN VP of Marketing Jeff Denworth at Supercomputing about the partnership between the two companies and how they have integrated cloud and Hadoop into their storage-focused technologies. The discussion, the full-length version of which can be found below, touched on some products Mellanox and DDN had on display at the conference as well as performance improvements, some special use cases, and more.

“What we provide for companies is an interconnect solution for their back-end,” said Waldman of their partnership with DDN. “DDN is one of our leading storage customers,” he said before going into how performance in the big data sector has improved as a result of their work.

According to Denworth, traditional enterprise storage systems require copying data multiple times, an inefficient use of storage space for an organization trying to run big data analytics. “We’re seeing a pendulum shift,” said Denworth, “back to enterprise infrastructures for big data analytics and things like that as people start to recognize, ‘I don’t want to replicate my data three ways, I don’t want to pass it over inefficient commodity platforms.’” As a result, DDN is building what Denworth calls high-scale shared-nothing platforms where the data does not have to be replicated as much.

The overall goal, as stated by many big data vendors today, not just Mellanox and DDN, is to be able to provide access to data stored in the cloud or Hadoop to business users. As Denworth noted, technologists need to become less involved as people want simple appliances to be able to solve their business problems.

While DDN specializes in storage capabilities, Waldman sees Mellanox as something of a Midas in performance, noting that “everything we touch, we improve the performance in a significant way.” In order to accomplish that in this cloud and Hadoop context, Mellanox took their infrastructures from supercomputers and high performance computing and implemented them in the cloud. It is their goal, according to Waldman, to be able to expand a supercomputing network from a room to an entire metro area.

At the conference, DDN showed off its 7700 platform (which Denworth said is built for modular, high-speed data analytics) and a “high-scale Hadoop implementation” which are being used to power some intriguing use cases. Wall Street, for example, is using a financial services database called KX, which is reportedly performing 500% faster than similar flash-based databases. DDN is also, according to Denworth, working with SAS in providing data storage support for drug discovery.

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