ludodesign - Fotolia

Panasas ActiveStor gets denser with He8 Helium drives

Panasas enhances its hybrid NAS system with He8 Helium-filled 8TB hard drives, more SSD capacity and cache. It also boasts 200 gigabit per second throughput.

Panasas today launched a denser, faster version of its high-performance, hybrid scale-out NAS array, which will take advantage of the vendor's recent data protection advances.

The Panasas ActiveStor 18 supports HGST He8 Helium-filled 8 TB drives and can scale up to 20 PB of storage capacity.

Like previous ActiveStor versions, ActiveStor 18 includes director blades that handle metadata access and system management and storage blades consisting of hard disk drives, solid-state drives (SSDs) and cache.

Each storage blade in the Panasas ActiveStor 18 can hold 181 TB of hard drive capacity per 4U shelf with 8 TB helium drives. The previous version held 135 TB with 6 TB helium drives. Each storage blade also holds 480 GB of SSDs that are used to store metadata, small files and optimized for the Panasas PanFS RAID 6+ triple parity data protection. Panasas claims its RAID can reduce drive rebuild times and keep a system running after three simultaneous disk failures.

Panasas doubled the cache in ActiveStor 18 to 16 GB per blade, bringing it to 2.7 TB per rack or 272 GB per 4U enclosure. The system runs at 1.5 GB per shelf for an overall 200 gigabit per second throughput in a single global namespace. The new ActiveStor has 4 KB native sector size support.

Geoffrey Noer, Panasas' vice president of product marketing, said the vendor has a customer using 130 shelves for 20 PB of capacity.

"It's a 33% increase in density," he said. "For a scale-out configuration, you can start with one shelf and then add shelves as you linearly scale out the system."

The ActiveStor is a hardware upgrade, but the bigger deal is they now have an architecture that they have enhanced over the last six months.
Arun Taneja, consulting analyst, Taneja Group

Panasas ActiveStor 18 can take advantage of the SiteSync replication capability that was launched last November. SiteSync can move large unstructured data sets by using up to 64 compute clients that replicate a portion of the data to move the workload in parallel.

Arun Taneja, consulting analyst of the Taneja Group, said data protection features such as SiteSync can help Panasas crack the commercial market outside of its traditional high-performance computing base.

He said that has been part of the vendor's strategy under CEO Faye Pairman, who took over in 2010.

"The ActiveStor is a hardware upgrade, but the bigger deal is they now have an architecture that they have enhanced over the last six months," Taneja said. "I think the company now is ready to attack the commercial world. We are going to be hearing a lot more noise from them."

Next Steps:

Next Steps

Panasas upgrades RAID, adds 6 TB helium drives to ActiveStor

Complete guide to NAS basics, selection and implementation

Panasas looks to broaden appeal of its scale-out NAS

Dig Deeper on NAS devices