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Panasas upgrades parallel file system storage for HPC

Panasas tackles high-performance computing (HPC) with PAS 12 parallel file system storage device that scales to 400 TB and 1.5 Gbps performance per 40U system.

Panasas Inc. today introduced its fourth-generation parallel file system storage blade-based device for high-performance computing (HPC). The Panasas PAS 12 includes the Panasas PanFS parallel file system, with integrated RAID protection and scalable architecture for large storage deployments that focus on file services through object-based storage.

The PAS 12 has 64-bit multi-core processing and integrated 10 GbE technology. It holds 10 chassis in a 40U rack, with each chassis delivering 40 TB of storage and 1.5 Gbps throughput performance. An aggregate 40U system scales to 400 TB and 150 Gbps performance. The chassis can be networked to create large, high-performance storage pools connected through a global namespace. Customers can scale performance and capacity can scale by adding individual blades, chassis or entire racks up to 4 PB without any system disruption.

"To the outside world, it appears as one extremely large pool of storage that is accessible to everybody," said Barbara Murphy, chief marketing officer at Panasas. "Object storage contains the data and enough information to allow the data to be autonomous and self manage. The object can have attributes that define the various aspects of the data. These attributes can be defined on a per-file basis, including RAID levels, data layout and permissions. The object can only be assessed by a compute node that has permission to access that particular object. All of the management of the objects is done by our meta manager."

While Panasas isn't alone in offering object-based storage, Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Terri McClure said its parallel file system sets it apart.

"Panasas does object-based storage, but its claim to fame is parallel file services," she said. "Panasas has been delivering in the parallel space for a long time. It allows you to get data without going through a NAS head so you get extremely high performance. Panasas has been quietly running a successful business in a very competitive marketplace and they're profitable. It's very quietly setting itself up as a successful business in the high-performance computing space. "

The PAS 12 uses metadata server polices traffic between the object storage and servers. "You get much more data about the data with metadata, unlike a file system where you just get very basic data," McClure said. "Once you get richer data from the metadata, you can set robust policies against the objects. With object storage you can extend data a lot in regards to groups. It can vary by what vertical market you are in and what you need to know about the data."

Panasas claims it has more than doubled the performance of its previous product, PAS 8, and has added software features such as user quotas and per user chargeback. "This is really a performance story," Murphy said. "We had dramatically increased the performance and bandwidth I/Os and added new features such as department chargebacks. These large systems typically are used by large departments, such as universities."

Pricing for the PAS 12 starts at $110,000 for 40 TB of storage and 1.5 Gbps throughput.


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