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Panasas expands focus with new release

Panasas, which provides network-attached storage (NAS) for industry and research, is showing confidence in its Activestor product with two new senior sales appointments, covering both the vertical sector of industrial users and the geographical sector of EMEA, as well as announcing a new version of its NAS appliance, Activestor 18. The new version comes just a year after the major launch of Activestor 16.

The company plans to increase its presence in EMEA and in industry by appointing Martin Eves as VP of sales in EMEA alongside a new VP for marketing David Sallak who will concentrate on the vertical industry sector, with an initial focus on media and entertainment.

Activestor 18, Panasas’ latest generation hybrid scale-out NAS appliance, increases scalability to more than 20 petabytes (PB) and data transfer rates of 200 gigabytes per second (GB/s) by adopting 8 terabyte (TB) drive technology. Activestor 18 also offers increased CPU power and twice the storage cache capacity to further accelerate mixed workload performance.

Geoffrey Noer Vice President of Product Management at Panasas stressed that Panasas is aimed ‘not just at data centric workloads but also more general-purpose applications’.

Noer also stated that the company was concerned to establish a balance between compute and data storage architectures to remove the bottleneck for data centric applications. ‘The Activestor solution is designed around finding a balance between computer power, storage and networking, so all three scale as the system scales,’ he said.

There are relatively few HPC applications that do not involve a lot of I/O these days, he continued. Activestor, especially with the Direct Flow protocol, allows direct access between the compute notes and those portions of the file being worked on. Although the system has director blades, these ‘step out of the way’ to facilitate fast access to the data when needed. The appliance also supports the NFS and SMB protocols.

A key improvement over the previous generation of this technology is that the director blades, which orchestrate file system activity outside of the data path, allowing reads/writes to occur in parallel directly between compute clients and Panasas storage blades, have been upgraded with a 19 percent faster CPU. The storage cache has also been increased up to 2.7TB per rack (or 272GB per 4U enclosure) which lead to a greater availability of data for some of the most intensive workloads.

Activestor 18 features a number of key updates such as the use of up to 8TB drives in the system for the first time which helps them to achieve a 33 per cent increase in density. Users can get as much as 1.8PB per rack (or 181.2TB per 4U enclosure); by making use of 8TB drive technology.

Additionally the system has been field to deliver linear scalability at more than 20PB and 200GB/s in a single global namespace with 130 shelves, 2,600 HDDs, 1,300 SSDs.

 ‘Driven by growing unstructured data sets and the promise of big data, business continues to demand more of storage – more performance, greater scale and higher reliability – to drive ideas and innovation,’ said Steve Conway, IDC Research vice president, high performance computing/data analysis. ‘Panasas Activestor benefits from its deep roots in technical computing where performance, scalability and data protection, as well as ease of management, are tested by the most challenging compute workloads. As industries such as media and entertainment, manufacturing and life sciences find their storage needs moving further into the technical realm, Panasas is well positioned to meet their requirements.’

Panasas Activestor 18 is available for ordering now. Production systems are expected to ship in September 2015.

Media Partners