Panasas teams up with Avnet on hardware manufacturing

HPC parallel filer outfit Panasas has tapped Avnet to be its primary manufacturing and fulfillment operations partner.

Panasas supplies scale-out PanFS software, with NFS and SMB/CIFS protocol support, and ActiveStor Ultra hardware nodes. Avnet helps design, build, and deliver systems with electronic components. Its global systems integration arm, Avnet Integrated, has a worldwide supply chain and manufacturing footprint. Going forward, Avnet Integrated will be the principal commercial manufacturing partner for Panasas worldwide.

Panasas CEO Ken Claffey said in a statement: “One of my first goals when joining Panasas was to move to a best-in-class operational model that would enable greater supply chain efficiency and flexibility in order to meet the demand growth that we are seeing across our global customer base, while also accelerating our ability to bring a broader range of solutions to market.”

Nicole Enright, president of Avnet Integrated, added: “The agreement with Panasas provides access to our global manufacturing and supply chain capabilities, accelerating both time to market and time to scale for their solutions.”

Erik Salo, Panasas
Erik Salo

In her view, such partnerships enable Avnet customers to increase their pace of innovation and ultimately elevate their competitiveness.

Since joining Panasas in September 2023, Claffey has hired many new execs and is pointing the company at the AI and HPC markets. Erik Salo joined Panasas in December 2023 to become its VP for Marketing and Product Management, moving from Seagate where he was VP for Products and Markets. Salo was involved with the launch of the CORVAULT product line, contributions to the creation of the IT4.0 (Fourth Industrial Revolution) initiative, and the strategic acquisitions of Xyratex, Dothill, and Evault. 

Claffey also hired a new CFO, Paul Hiemstra, in March, away from a Group CFO position at HPE’s HPC & AI division, with time spent at Cray before that. 


Paul Hiemstra, Panasas
Paul Hiemstra

Panasas is now effectively a software company with a commodity hardware platform focus, which lessens the need for involvement in hardware design, manufacturing, and related capital commitments. In this it is to some extent following VAST Data, which exited hardware design and manufacturing three years ago, and with certified hardware appliances also built by Avnet.

Last year we speculated that Panasas, re-energized by Claffey and a new leadership team, could look towards making its software available in the public clouds and deliver data faster to GPUs by supporting protocols like GPUDirect. We can’t add anything to that but we can say that Panasas is now able to commit more resources and energy to software development, and must have roadmap plans.

Its competitors – BeeGFS, DDN, IBM, VAST Data, and Weka, for example – better get prepared for stronger product and market offerings.