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Panasas: ActiveStor Ultra Featuring PanFS 8

Storage software deployed on standard hardware delivers performance, flexibility and price point for HPC workloads and emerging applications.

Panasas, Inc. announced ActiveStor Ultra, the next generation of its HPC storage solution, featuring PanFS 8, a plug-and-play, portable parallel filesystem.

ActiveStor Ultra expands company’s position in the HPC market by delivering up to 75GB/s per rack on industry-standard commodity hardware combined with enterprise-grade reliability and manageability at a competitive price point.

ActiveStor Ultra is delivered as an integrated plug-and-play appliance running PanFS 8 on industry standard hardware. PanFS 8 is the completely re-engineered Panasas parallel filesystem designed to deliver high performance and reliability on properly configured and qualified storage hardware platforms.

PanFS 8 now runs on Linux and features intelligent data placement across three tiers of media: metadata on NVMe, small files on SSDs, and large files on HDDs, resulting in optimized performance for all data types.

“Panasas has achieved a re-set with its ActiveStor Ultra platform which is designed to deliver the highest levels of HPC performance while offering the plug-and-play simplicity, reliability and low total-cost-of-ownership that customers have come to expect,” said Steve Conway, senior research VP at Hyperion Research. “Panasas reports that the new PanFS 8 portable parallel filesystem will be available at highly competitive price points. It could be a potential game-changer for the company and have a strong impact on the HPC storage industry in general.”

Designed for extreme performance, linear scalability and high reliability, ActiveStor Ultra is suited to support the complex and varied data sets associated with traditional HPC workloads and emerging applications like AI, precision medicine, autonomous driving, and Virtual Reality (VR).

ActiveStor Ultra’s modular architecture and building-block design enables enterprises to start small and scale linearly. With dock to data in one hour, it delivers fast time to first data access and virtually eliminates manual intervention to deliver low TCO.

“Our customers have long valued the hassle-free management of Panasas storage and now, with the release of PanFS 8 on ActiveStor Ultra, we are achieving the highest levels of performance at an exceptional price point,” said Faye Pairman, CEO, Panasas. “No other HPC storage solution delivers this combination of speed and simplicity in a single product.”

ActiveStor Ultra will be available in early 2H19.


With this announcement, Panasas introduced a new term 'portable' to differentiate from the software-defined storage approach where finally you download a software and build a storage rack from just a bench of servers. Here portable means you will run the software on properly configured and qualified storage hardware according to the company.

It means that Panasas has made the effort to port its code to Linux for storage nodes, the director introduced one year ago is still under FreeBSD. It’s also a way to offer more flexibility for configurations and deliver high performance numbers.

This initiative towards industry hardware standards improves cost efficiency and represents a difference from the Prime product line. With PanFS8 and ActiveStor Ultra, Director and storage nodes use standard servers, four nodes in 2U for the Director and four storage nodes in a 4U chassis.

ActiveStor Ultra uses SATA SSD for small files, SATA HDD for large files, NVMe SSD for metadata on the director and of course NVDIMM to secure the write sequence.

This new product iteration introduces also the support of IB and Omni-Path in addition to Ethernet. IB was supported with the Prime version as an external element connected via an IB router.

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Panasas continues its morphing process and effort to redesign its product adopting industry standards at all levels. File storage is definitely hot and 2019 will be interesting…