NEC Selects DDN and Nvidia for AI Research Supercomputer in Japan

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CHATSWORTH, Calif., May 18, 2022 — High performance storage company DDN today announced that NEC Corporation (NEC) has selected DDN storage for its new supercomputer dedicated to AI research. DDN said the system will have a raw compute performance of 580 PFLOPS, provide “data scientists at NEC with access to the largest AI-focused development environment in the industry in Japan….”

DDN said the system has entered production and is expected to reach planned capacity in March 2023. It will use the DDN EXAScaler parallel file system, built to support large-scale AI use cases. The storage environment consists of multiple DDN ES400NVX EXAScaler appliances with a total capacity of 16 PB, providing 400 GB/sec read and 320 GB/sec write IO performance, and around 24 million IOPS. The AI research supercomputer’s hardware system is configured with NVIDIA’s A100 80GB Tensor Core GPU for processing and NVIDIA Spectrum SN3700 switches for networking, which are  integrated with the DDN solutions.

“NEC has been developing various advanced AI technologies such as biometric authentication, image recognition, video analysis, and data analytics. Therefore, we handle a wide variety of large-scale data, including images, video, audio, and text,” said Mr. Takatoshi Kitano, senior AI platform architect, Digital Technology Development Laboratory, NEC Corporation. “After a year of technical verification and operation, we decided to adopt DDN’s high-performance storage, which can handle a wide variety of I/O workloads. Another deciding factor in our decision was DDN Japan’s excellent technical development and maintenance capabilities. We expect both companies to collaborate on the development of the AI supercomputer and take on the challenge of creating new social value in the future.”

DDN said that in AI, the “data pre-processing” phase—from data ingestion to data transfer to training—is the most critical phase for a storage environment. DDN said EXAScaler storage system provides GPU Direct Storage integration, the CSI driver necessary for storage access through Kubernetes, and multi-tenancy—standard features for “secure and simplified management without compromising on performance improvements when utilized in a leading-edge deep learning environment.”

“Data has become a strategic tool to address a wide variety of business opportunities,” said Robert Triendl, general manager of DDN Japan. “We are excited by this opportunity to supply NEC with an efficient solution to help drive their data-centric AI initiatives.”