It’s a newly created position that reflects the growing market for virtualized storage, driven by the rise of data-intensive technologies including analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine-learning and cloud computing.
DDN supplies big data storage systems to enterprises, service providers, universities, and government agencies. It also sells hardware and software. Earlier this month the company launched its Infinite Memory Engine (IME) business unit, which includes flash storage products sold as software-only, commodity-based appliances, or custom appliances.
In his new position, Barton will be responsible for IME product design. In an email, he said DDN’s software-defined storage products fill a market need for high-performance, elastic storage systems.
“The focus for most software-defined storage has traditionally been on areas such as object storage, which is mostly used as archive, so performance hasn’t been much of an issue,” Barton wrote. “Our focus will be on high-performance, both in terms of transactions and in terms of throughput. I don’t see a lot of people trying that.”
At Intel, Barton was lead architect in the high performance data division. In this post he helped create high-end storage architectures using object storage, Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) flash technology, distributed file systems, multi-core processors and 3D XPoint.
Before Intel, Barton co-founded and served as CTO of Whamcloud, the main development arm behind the open-source Lustre file system, which Intel acquired in 2012. He also designed and built one of the first commercially available distributed file systems.
His new job as software-defined storage CTO at DDN “takes advantage of the current inflection point in the evolution of storage products brought about by the prevalence of solid state storage technologies and the commoditization of computing infrastructure,” he said. “The former demands a fresh look at how storage services are constructed — not least to ensure the latency benefit provided by the hardware is delivered to applications — and the latter increasingly places the onus on software to provide product differentiation.”
As the company’s software-defined storage business continues growing rapidly, Barton will lead DDN’s “next wave of technological innovation,” said DDN CEO and co-found Alex Bouzari in a statement.
Barton says while DDN will continue to sell hardware for the foreseeable future, it will also start working with partners and some end users differently. “In some of the projects under discussion right now, we plan to combine dedicated storage nodes with software that aggregates tens of thousands of local NVMe devices on compute nodes into a single high-performance storage pool using a very sophisticated erasure coding technique.”
DDN’s announcement comes as other companies are boosting their SDS offerings. Earlier this month Dell EMC rolled out new SDS products and updates that it said will help businesses modernize their data centers and move their operations to a hybrid cloud.