Nyriad, Netlist, HPC Systems Collaborate on GPU-Accelerated Storage Solution

New Zealand-based storage start-up Nyriad has teamed up with Netlist and HPC Systems to develop a Linux storage platform accelerated by GPUs and NVDIMMs.

The foundation of the platform is Nyriad’s NSULATE technology, which uses a GPU to perform the processing typically done by a RAID controller in large storage arrays. According to the company, it uses superior number-crunching capacity of a GPU to “generate parity calculations to enable automatic data recovery on scales impossible with a RAID card or a CPU.” The claim is that NSULATE can deal with dozens of simultaneous device failures in real-time, while maintaining I/O performance.

NSULATE technology also allows for compute and storage to co-mingle on the same node. The idea is to enable storage nodes to be configured for computation in order to speed up I/O-related code, which can accelerate applications bottlenecked by storage. As the Nyrian website says, NSULATE offers a platform “where parallel computing and distributed storage-processing become the same thing.”

The technology was spun out of the Square Kilometre Array project, a multi-billion dollar effort to construct the world’s largest radio telescope. In its first phase, the project will have to deal with raw radio data streaming into computers at the rate of 160 terabytes per second. That level of I/O and the speed at which computation will need to process it was the inspiration for Nyriad and what would become the NSULATE technology.

Last year at SC17, TYAN qualified the Thunder SX (FA100-B7118) storage server integrated with NSULATE software. Each server was outfitted with an NVIDIA Pascal GPU and supported the creation of a large direct-attached storage array with “hundreds of parallel storage devices, able to provide high performance even with massive array degradation.”

In this latest solution, the NSULATE technology is combined with Netlist’s NVvault non-volatile DIMMs (NVDIMMs) to create a Linux storage platform that can scale to millions of IOPs. These NVDIMMs use a combination of DDR4 DRAM and NAND flash to achieve both speed and nonvolatility in a DDR4-compliant package. According to Nyriad Chief Technology Officer Alex St. John, the NVvault NVDIMMs allow data can be directly shuttled to the GPU for storage processing, bypassing the Linux kernel and thus delivering better performance.

Although no product has yet been announced for the Nyriad-Netlist combo, the intention here is to deliver a solution to market using HPC Systems, a Japanese systems integrator targeting the small-to-mid-range HPC market. The company specializes in GPU-accelerated solutions and has aspirations to extend its customer base worldwide.


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