When I first joined Cray and heard what we were doing with the Lustre file system and the types of customers we were working with, it was obvious the company had something unique. One of those unique traits is that, unlike traditional storage vendors (aka suppliers), Cray understands parallel systems — from the apps on down to the storage — and delivering complete solutions that meet customers’ expectations (for performance, dependability and others).
Initially when Cray got started in the storage business, Cray deployed storage solutions attached to Cray supercomputers. It became clear that there were big benefits to deploying Cray storage solutions under commercial HPC Linux clusters requiring higher bandwidth and capacity.
One customer, a large commercial oil and gas company, deployed Cray’s Lustre storage solution across its massive IBM iDataPlex cluster running the Linux® operating system. What’s unique about Cray’s offerings for Linux clusters is that we fully qualify and support the complete solution: from drives to client. In this case, the Lustre Client by Cray is deployed across all nodes in the cluster, connected to an InfiniBand fabric, and back to a number of shared file systems hosted on Cray Sonexion® storage system. For deployments that require both performance and capacity, the Sonexion storage system provides an integrated system for scaling both. The customer trusts Cray to support the entire storage solution — from the drives to the client software running on IBM iDataPlex nodes..
Cray just announced a new offering called Cray Cluster Connect. It’s a storage solution for Linux clusters of pretty much any compute hardware brand. The only requirement is that the OS is the Linux operating system (CentOS, RHEL or SLES). The idea is to provide an optimal experience and single point of support for customers. What Cray does is fully qualify, deliver and support the entire solution, end-to-end. There’s one trusted point of support for everything, including the Lustre file system.
What is also different about Cray from conventional storage suppliers is that Cray offers choice. Customers pick the storage they want (we sell Cray Sonexion, DDN and NetApp storage systems), choose the compute platform they want (any x86 hardware platform), select data management options, and specify how big and fast they need the system to be. Form follows function: Cray’s configurations are designed around small (50–250TB), medium (250TB–1PB), and large petascale configurations. Most suppliers force a proprietary platform. Cray utilizes open systems.
Many people don’t yet know that Cray offers scalable storage solutions for both Cray and non-Cray compute cluster environments, but the message is getting out there.
Jason Goodman, Cray Storage & Data Management