DDN’s Record 2014 And Helping Scientists Unlock The Universe

DataDirect Networks is a storage vendor on the up. Specialising in big data high performance storage platforms, the Santa Clara-based company claims to be the world’s largest privately held storage vendor.

After a turbulent couple of years which saw dipping revenues and a plethora of high-profile executive departures, the latest news from DDN seems to be positive.

Traditionally operating in the high performance computing market, DDN has recently moved to scoop up cloud and big data workloads.

Record 2014

Earlier in March, TechWeekEurope spoke to the company’s marketing head Molly Rector after the company announced a record fourth quarter 2014 and 16 percent annual growth and profitability.

For the year ending December 31, 2014, DDN bookings grew 16 percent year-over-year with 31 percent growth compared to Q4 2013, while the company increased its total number of net new petabyte class customers by more than 150 organisations managing mission critical data.

Also helping the view that DDN is on the up is the growth in the company’s size, which DDN says is back up to over 600 staff.

Rector told TechWeekEurope: “DDN grew our customer base by over 10 percent in 2014 and we see continually rapidly growing demand for our solutions.

DDN’s Molly Rector

“In 2015 we have several new products coming into the market and new customers and application interest in our technology that need benchmarking, optimisation and implementation.”

Really pitching for the enterprise, DDN’s continued expansion of its customer base of new businesses included 111.5.com, Imperial College London, Kern County Sheriff’s Department, one of world’s largest banks (we’re not privy to who though), and a ‘leader in global oil and gas exploration’.

Rector said: “Enterprise HPC is the fastest growing HPC segment. This includes biotech and genomic research, oil and gas exploration, automotive and airplane manufacturing, and financial services high frequency trading environments.”

Outside of this, DDN said that it’s also worth mentioning that web and cloud environments are also undergoing rampant growth in HPC.

“Some of the largest compute farms that require the most optimised high performance storage solutions are the web and telco hosting and service provider companies,” said Rector.

Adding to DDN’s growth, the company joined IBM’s OpenPOWER Foundation in February this year. The initiative seeks to create an open ecosystem using the IBM POWER architecture. Rector told TechWeekEurope that the move is part of the natural need for technology companies to “relentlessly innovate” and will see DDN “continue on this path to bring the compute and storage closer together”.


It was announced just today that DDN is also making waves in the physics world. TRIUMF, one of the world’s leading subatomic physics laboratories and Canada’s national laboratory, is using DDN’s Storage SFA high-performance engine in combination with dCache, a global data distribution service, to help 3,000 scientists at 177 institutions collaborate on scientific discoveries as part of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

As an ATLAS Tier-1 data centre, TRIUMF stores, processes and distributes around the clock massive amounts of data generated by the experiment. Located at CERN, the European organisation for nuclear research, the ATLAS experiment played a major role in the most important particle physics breakthrough to date—the discovery of the Higgs boson, a fundamental ingredient to the building blocks that constitute our universe.

But at what cost?

TechWeekEurope quizzed Rector on DDN’s stance on the $/GB race to the bottom. She said that the bigger the workload, the cheaper it works out in the long run for customers.

This is DDN’s capacity vs the competitors, the firm claims

“Converged architectures, public/private clouds and large storage environments (storage condos, data lakes etc.) enable users to achieve lower $/GB infrastructures from both an OpEx and CapEx perspective. Because DDN is quite focused on large scale data problems, we often are able to lead the market in delivering efficient $/GB (see image above to reflect how much less hardware we need to deliver both capacity and storage vs. competitors).

“But, we also see this is not just a matter of cheaper or denser hardware. Smart software is essential.  Just as deduplication changed the data centre efficiency measurement in groundbreaking ways a decade ago, DDN’s IME will deliver equivalently significant efficiencies through software to enable budgets and hardware to stretch much further.  Smart software and converged infrastructures change the game on the $/GB race to the bottom.”

So, DDN, is an IPO is the pipeline?

Take our Big Data quiz here!

Ben Sullivan

Ben covers web and technology giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and their impact on the cloud computing industry, whilst also writing about data centre players and their increasing importance in Europe. He also covers future technologies such as drones, aerospace, science, and the effect of technology on the environment.

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