Supermicro, Vast collaborate to deliver turnkey AI storage at rack scale

Supermicro and Vast Data are jointly offering an AMD-based turnkey solution that promises to simplify and accelerate AI and data pipelines.

  • April 26, 2024 | Author: Peter Krass
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Supermicro and Vast Data are collaborating to deliver a turnkey, full-stack solution for creating and expanding AI deployments.

This joint solution is aimed at hyperscalers, cloud service providers (CSPs) and large, data-centric enterprises in fintech, adtech, media and entertainment, chip design and high-performance computing (HPC).

Applications that can benefit from the new joint offering include enterprise NAS and object storage; high-performance data ingestion; supercomputer data access; scalable data analysis; and scalable data processing.

Vast, founded in 2016, offers a software data platform that enterprises and CSPs use for data-intensive computing. The platform is based on a distributed systems architecture, called DASE, that allows a system to run read and write operations at any scale. Vast’s customers include Pixar, Verizon and Zoom.

By collaborating with Supermicro, Vast hopes to extend its market. Currently, Vast sells to infrastructure providers at a variety of scales. Some of its largest customers have built 400 petabyte storage systems, and a few are even discussing systems that would store up to 2 exabytes, according to John Mao, Vast’s VP of technology alliances.

Supermicro and Vast have engaged with many of the same CSPs separately, supporting various parts of the solution. By formalizing this collaboration, they hope to extend their reach to new customers while increasing their sell-through to current customers.

Vast is also looking to the Supermicro alliance to expand its global reach. While most of Vast’s customers today are U.S.-based, Supermicro operates in over 100 countries worldwide. Supermicro also has the infrastructure to integrate, test and ship 5,000 fully populated racks per month from its manufacturing plants in California, Netherlands, Malaysia and Taiwan.

There’s also a big difference in size. Where privately held Vast has about 800 employees, publicly traded Supermicro has more than 5,100.

Rack solution

Now Vast and Supermicro have developed a new converged system using Supermicro’s Hyper A+ servers with AMD EPYC 9004 processors. The solution combines 2 separate Vast servers. 

This converged system is well suited to large service providers, where the typical Supermicro-powered Vast rack configuration will start at about 2PB, Mao adds.

Rack-scale configurations can cut costs by eliminating the need for single-box redundancy. This converged design makes the system more scalable and more cost-efficient.

Under the hood

One highlight of the joint project: It puts Vast’s DASE architecture on Supermicro’s  industry-standard servers. Each server will have both the compute and storage functions of a Vast cluster.

At the same time, the architecture is disaggregated via a high-speed Ethernet NVMe fabric. This allows each node to access all drives in the cluster.

The Vast platform architecture uses a series of what the company calls an EBox. Each EBox, in turn, contains 2 kinds of storage servers in a container environment: CNode (short for Compute Node) and DNode (short for Data Node). In a typical EBox, one CNode interfaces with client applications and writes directly to two DNode containers.

In this configuration, Supermicro’s storage servers can act as a hardware building block to scale Vast to hundreds of petabytes. It supports Vast’s requirement for multiple tiers of solid-state storage media, an approach that’s unique in the industry.


At the NAB Show, held recently in Las Vegas, Supermicro’s demos included storage servers, each powered by a single-socket AMD EPYC 9004 Series processor.

With up to 128 PCIe Gen 5 lanes, the AMD processor empowers the server to connect more SSDs via NVMe with a single CPU. The Supermicro storage server also lets users move data directly from storage to GPU memory supporting Nvidia’s GPU Direct storage protocol, essentially bypassing a GPU cluster’s CPU using RDMA.

If you or your customers are interested in the new Vast solution, get in touch with your local Supermicro sales rep or channel partner. Under the terms of the new partnership, Supermicro is acting as a Vast integrator and OEM. It’s also Vast’s only rack-scale partner.

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