Panasas pivots to SaaS under VDURA brand

Legacy parallel file system supplier Panasas is exiting the hardware biz and embracing the public cloud as it rebrands itself VDURA.

Currently, Panasas supplies scale-out PanFS software with DirectFlow, NFS and SMB/CIFS protocol support, and ActiveStor Ultra hardware nodes. A PanFS 10 release added support for Seagate Exos 2×18 dual-actuator disk drives in the ArchiveStor filers, the S3 object storage protocol, 24 TB disk drives and InfiniBand HDR (200 Gbps) connectivity. It supports SSDs and puts metadata and small files on NVMe SSDs.

Ken Claffey, Panasas
Ken Claffey

Recently appointed CEO Ken Claffey said in a statement: “The PanFS software created by Panasas has always been best in class for combining high performance with enterprise class reliability, durability, and ease of use. VDURA maintains these attributes yet abandons the previous need to be tied to proprietary hardware platforms that can’t offer the range of performance and cost that customers need today.”

“Today’s announcement marks phase one of this transition as an Avnet Direct Connect partner, and phase two will come later this year with plans for a major public cloud partnership. Ultimately, VDURA’s transition to a software (SaaS) model enables a broader ecosystem of hardware systems where performance meets the diverse demands of HPC and AI on any type of environment.”

The Avnet Direct Connect partnership provides hardware choice, including SSD and HDD storage classes, customization, and cost savings. Claffey thinks an all-flash approach is restrictive. “Other storage software vendors are placing all their bets on an isolated type of commodity storage media, such as flash, and then they task their customers with managing discrete capacity tiers of storage.”

Claffey said he thinks that “in order to optimize value and simplicity for the customer, data infrastructure architectures need to be adaptable and mix and match multiple storage media types.” VDURA notes that cloud and hyperscale data centers store 90 percent of their exabytes of data on disk drives, according to IDC. 

Panasas VDURA rebrand graphic

The Avnet agreement will also reduce Panasas/VDURA support costs, shorten the time for new hardware to become available, and increase VDURA’s profit margins, or so we’re told.

In a supporting quote, Tom Coughlin, President at digital storage analyst Coughlin Associates, commented: “Being tied into one type of storage technology is not a great strategy for any business, and with the prices for flash memory going up this year there is pressure in the market to provide economical yet flexible storage. VDURA is making a smart move given these conditions. Having more types of storage media in a format that mimics a hyperscaler’s hybrid architecture should be a popular option.” 

VDURA’s PanFS software “will be available for on-premises, hybrid, and cloud native environments.” It has a roadmap to improve capacity, performance and data durability.

VDURA will be at ISC High Performance in Hamburg, Germany, on May 12-16, Booth G22.


VDURA will be able to offer a wider software environment running on more cost-effective hardware than previously. It will preserve and build on the PanFS software legacy, provide a development path for its customers, and much stronger competition to suppliers such as BeeGFS, DDN, IBM (StorageScale), VAST Data, and Weka. VDURA is on a market and business expansion path and positioning its products for the ongoing surge in generative AI applications and workloads, both training and inference.