Panasas ActiveStor is a Scale-out File System with software that executes on standard hardware and is used for high performance applications in vertical markets including research laboratories, manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and artificial intelligence. Panasas has offered their parallel file system since their founding in 1999. A majority of customers have been in research and development, high performance computing environments. With the high performance, parallel access, Panasas primarily competes with GPFS (IBM Spectrum Scale), BeeGFS, WekaIO and Lustre.
Parallel access is through the POSIX client called DirectFlow. Data is distributed across multiple nodes with a single global namespace enabling the scaling of performance. A minimum of three storage enclosures (12 nodes) are required but there is no limit to scaling of nodes according to Panasas. There are both storage nodes and director nodes in a configuration. Standard NAS protocols of NFS and CIFS/SMB are also supported with ActiveStor through software executing on the Director nodes.
Storage nodes have an object storage device file system, which is an object layer on top of EXT4 Linux file system. Files are stored as objects in the Object Storage Device file system across the storage nodes. Read caching is used to increase the performance on the storage nodes. Performance and cost efficiency are factors addressed with the tiering of data with ActiveStor. Metadata in a database is kept on an NVMe SSD, small files and metadata are stored on SATA SSDs, and large files are stored on HDDs. In addition, DRAM caching and NVDIMMS for transaction logs add to the performance.
Data protection is with Reed Solomon erasure codes in an N+2 algorithm at the file level, allowing fast rebuilds of any files affected. Data is continuously scrubbed in the background, checking for any potential errors and then correcting.
The advanced features included in ActiveStor are snapshots, user and group quotas, and asynchronous replication.
Panasas ActiveStor Product Brief includes:
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