Panasas accelerates bulk data access in latest software release

High-performance computing parallel file storage supplier Panasas now has support for dual-actuator disk drives and has added the S3 protocol to speed dataset access and provide public cloud tiering.

Panasas announced the previous PanFS v9 major release in August 2021. Just over two years later we have PanFS 10 which adds support for Seagate Exos 2×18 dual-actuator disk drives in the ArchiveStor filers, Amazon’s S3 object storage protocol, 24TB disk drives and InfiniBand HDR (200Gbps) connectivity.

Ken Claffey

CEO Ken Claffey said of the release: “We understand that our customers’ data environments demand greater performance and cost-efficiency coupled with storage solutions that are easy to install, configure, and manage at scale.”

The AI and HPC worlds are increasingly overlapping, says the company, adding that PanFS v10 has been developed with that in mind.

Claffey said: “We’re setting a new performance/cost benchmark with the new PanFS 10 capabilities. With support for Seagate’s MACH2 dual-actuator drives, organizations can now benefit from twice the performance capacity without having to evaluate a cost-multiplier of using all-flash storage solutions, which prove costly as storage requirements for emerging workloads expand.”

PanFS 10 stores large files on 3.5-inch disk drives, smaller ones on faster access SSDs and very small files (<1.5MB) and metadata in NVMe SSDs.

Seagate’s MACH2 dual-actuator drives offer around twice the bandwidth and IOPs per TB of capacity as single-actuator HDDs. However, the additional actuators use up the space occupied by a disk platter in a 10-platter chassis, meaning that they are 9-platter drives and so have a reduced capacity; Exos 2X18 18TB drives instead of 20TB or larger.

An Exos 2X18 drive, functioning logically as two 9TB drives, delivers up to twice the sequential read performance of a single actuator 18TB drive.

PanFS v10 software now supports the S3 protocol as well Panasas’ proprietary DirectFlow protocol, NFS and SMB/CIFS v3.1. Panasas’s Director Nodes translate NFS, SMB/CIFS and S3 into the DirectFlow protocol. The S3 support enables cloud-native applications, that use S3 as their primary data access protocol, to store and retrieve data in PanFS systems. 

Panasas documentation says: “Objects stored in PanFS via the S3 protocol are visible as POSIX files in PanFS via the other data access protocols (DirectFlow, NFS, and SMB/CIFS), and POSIX files stored in PanFS via any other data access protocol are accessible as Objects via the S3 protocol.”

A PanMove facility can migrate any number of files between on-prem HPC deployments and AWS, Azure, or Google plus any other S3-supporting cloud service provider.

A 20-page PanFS v10 architectural white paper can be read here. The new release of ActiveStor Ultra and PanFS 10 will be available in Q1 2024.