Today DataDirect Networks (DDN) and NVIDIA announced the DDN A3I solution for deep learning training. We had the opportunity to discuss the announcement with the company last week in a preview. Part of NVIDIA’s strategy is to partner with high-performance storage vendors. DDN makes solutions that are popular in the high-performance computing (HPC) arena, so this mating makes a lot of sense.
DDN A3I Solution
The DDN A3I solution with DGX-1 mates DDN and NVIDIA products into an easy to deploy solution for customers. For companies who are starting their deep learning journey and are ready to move from desktop and lower-end solutions to a distributed training solution the concept is near a “roll it into the data center and get started.”
DDN has a number of different solutions from smaller edge training and inferencing systems with a single NVIDIA DGX-1 to larger four and nine DGX-1 deployments.
DDN believes in a parallel file system solution that it uses in the HPC space. The parallel architecture it positions as a better solution compared to a NFS based solution. NFS is one of the most common network storage solutions, but it is not known for achieving maximum performance in default implementations.
DDN and NVIDIA also suggest that using either 100GbE or EDR Infiniband (by Mellanox) will achieve the best performance. This includes bringing data to the GPU from storage while providing efficient GPU-to-GPU communication. EDR Infiniband is the default technology in this space but 100GbE is sometimes requested as an easier to integrate alternative for some deployments.
If you are an existing DDN customer, you may just add GPU machines. If you want an easy to deploy DDN solution with NVIDIA DGX-1 machines, then the DDN A3I may make a lot of sense.
DDN A3I with DGX-1 Sales Model
One area that the company highlighted is that the solution is being sold through leading HPC suppliers.
Given DDN’s customer base, one may assume that they would be focusing on direct sales. Instead, the company made a point to highlight that it is using this as a near turnkey solution that its partners can resell or use as a building block for a customized solution.
Price wise, expect to spend six figures for even the single DGX-1 DDN A3I solution.