PowerScale: The Architectural Backbone for GenAI Workloads

Dell PowerScale elevates GenAI with enterprise-class storage for faster, cost-effective model deployment.

Embarking on the journey of generative AI (GenAI), a groundbreaking blend of artificial intelligence and unstructured data, demands a robust storage architecture capable of navigating complexities and scaling alongside innovation. Enter PowerScale. Our trusted, market-leading storage is engineered to streamline IT environments and drive GenAI model delivery with unprecedented speed, simplicity and cost-effectiveness.

PowerScale Architecture Demystified

At the heart of PowerScale is an AI-crafted architecture, powered by OneFS software, designed to manage unstructured data in distributed environments. Let’s dive into the three foundational layers.

Client Access Layer. This pivotal component of the network file system ensures seamless access to unstructured data from a variety of clients and workloads. Boasting high-speed ethernet connectivity and support for multiple protocols such as Network File System (NFS), Server Message Block (SMB) and Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), the Client Access Layer simplifies and unifies file access across diverse workloads. It embraces cutting-edge technologies like NVIDIA GPUDirect Storage and Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA), facilitating direct data transfer between GPU memory and storage devices for GenAI applications. Intelligent load-balancing policies optimize performance and availability, while multi-tenancy controls ensure security and tailored service levels.

OneFS File Presentation Layer. Unifying data access across the cluster, this layer eliminates the hassle of worrying about physical data locations. OneFS seamlessly integrates volume management, data protection and tiering capabilities, simplifying the management of large data volumes across various storage types. Boasting high availability and non-disruptive operations, it enables users to upgrade, expand and migrate effortlessly, ensuring a smart and efficient file system that adapts to diverse needs.

PowerScale Compute and Storage Cluster Layer. Serving as the backbone, this layer delivers nodes and internode networking elements, enabling scalable and highly available file clusters. From small, affordable clusters handling basic capacity and computational tasks, to expansive configurations accommodating petabyte-scale data, PowerScale effortlessly scales and auto-balances clusters without administrative burden. Designed for easy lifecycle management, nodes facilitate upgrades, migrations and tech refreshes without disrupting cluster operations.

These layers form the bedrock of GenAI deployment, empowering high-performance data ingestion, processing and analysis in a flexible and “always-on” manner.

PowerScale’s Core Capabilities

Enhanced by the latest innovations in PowerScale all-flash technology and OneFS software, developers can accelerate the AI lifecycle from data preparation to model inference. Driven by Dell PowerEdge servers, PowerScale delivers enhanced performance, accelerating streaming reads and writes for advanced AI models. These core capabilities, combined with high-performance and high-density nodes, pave the way for intelligent data-driven decisions with unparalleled speed and precision.

GPUDirect for ultra-high performance. Leveraging GPUDirect storage, PowerScale establishes a direct path between GPU memory and storage, slashing latency and boosting bandwidth. Supporting GPUDirect-enabled servers and NFS over RDMA, it enhances throughput and reduces CPU utilization, delivering up to eight times improvement in bandwidth and throughput.

Client driver for high throughput Ethernet support. Enhancing NFS clients’ performance over high-speed Ethernet networks, the optional client driver allows leveraging multiple TCP connections to different PowerScale nodes simultaneously. This distributed architecture achieves higher throughput for I/O operations, improving single NFS mount performance and balancing network traffic to prevent bottlenecks.

Scale-out to scale up and down. Designed for seamless scalability, PowerScale accommodates evolving GenAI needs, from small clusters to multi-petabyte environments. With easy node additions and upgrades, PowerScale ensures consistent and predictable performance, even across different node types and configurations.

Flexibility to support storage tiers. Offering All Flash, Hybrid and Archive nodes, PowerScale caters to diverse storage needs and budgets. Intelligent load-balancing policies optimize resource utilization, while in-line data reduction reduces effective storage costs by eliminating duplicate or redundant data.

Delivering on GenAI Today

In the realm of GenAI, the choice of architecture is paramount. PowerScale emerges as the ultimate solution, accelerating the AI journey and driving better outcomes. With its unparalleled capabilities, including direct GPU communication, high-speed data processing and seamless scalability, PowerScale paves the way for unparalleled innovation for GenAI workflows. Learn more about the world’s most flexible, secure and efficient scale-out file storage here.

Scott Delandy

About the Author: Scott Delandy

As an advocate for Dell Technologies and its customers, Scott Delandy accelerates technology transformations across operations to exceed business objectives and deliver results. He drives engaging conversations that prioritize client needs within Dell’s vision, technology roadmap and modernization initiatives. As a vital leader of Dell’s Infrastructure Solutions Group, Scott is known for his transparency and inviting team members into real world dialogues to invest in the company’s future. Since 1990, Scott has served EMC/Dell Technologies in numerous roles, building meaningful, sustained relationships across technology areas, including storage infrastructure, disaster recovery, cloud computing, virtualization, next gen apps and containers. Scott holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.