Panasas CEO Faye Pairman makes way for COO Tom Shea

HPC storage supplier Panasas is changing its CEO and President, as 10-year incumbent Faye Pairman hands over the reins to COO Tom Shea.

Panasas CFO Elliot Carpenter left last month and the position has not yet been filled.

Faye Pairman.

Pairman joined Panasas in April 2010 from Applied Micro Circuits, where she was GM, and prior to that, President and CEO at 3Ware. Shea joined Panasas from Sandisk, where he ran software solutions, in 2014.

Pairman said in her departure statment: “It has been my privilege to lead the Panasas team over the past 10 years and I am proud of what we have accomplished together. We commercialised the product, expanded into new markets and did something very few data storage companies have achieved: building a new HPC parallel file system, an effort that took four years of deep engineering work.

“After focusing on product development and market expansion, it is now time to transition the company to customer-focused leadership, and I am confident that Tom will drive Panasas in that direction.”

Tom Shea.

Shea said: “We have re-invented ourselves over the past five years, and we are re-defining the price-performance equation in HPC storage with innovative technology that eliminates hidden costs.


Panasas released its ActiveStor Ultra hardware and PanFS in November last year. It said PanFS can run on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) X86 servers instead of only Panasas proprietary hardware. However PanFS has not been released in software-only form.

The firm also claimed PanFS is “the fastest parallel file system at any price point, when taking into account the price/performance it delivers for a given configuration, compared to the competition.”

ActiveStor Ultra hardware

Panasas’ product competition includes DDN, HPE Cray ClusterStor, IBM Spectrum Scale which it recently replaced at the University of Buffalo, and WekaIO.


This Panasas re-org suggests a renewed focus on bringing in sales revenue. The company, funded to the tune of $155m, has built a solid HPC customer base but DDN is bigger, HPE is pushing ahead with Cray and ClusterStor, and WekaIO is making waves with its parallel file system software.

The enterprise HPC-style market is expanding fast, with AI and machine learning applications. Panasas markets its products there and is meeting competition from suppliers such as Dell EMC (PowerScale) and Qumulo. The latter is building up product selling partnerships with HPE and Fujitsu.

They key need at Panasas as B&F sees it, is to grow product sales while thinking about predictive system management from the cloud, partnerships and subscription business models.