Panasas Adds SSDs To ActiveStor Series 9 Platform

Unique automatic tiered storage architecture provides new levels of performance and reliability.

May 19, 2009

4 Min Read
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FREMONT, Calif. - May 19, 2009 - Panasas, Inc., the leading provider of high-performance storage for the world's most performance-intensive applications, today announced a new, innovative architecture and design for the ActiveStor Series 9 system based on the high-performance Intel X25 E Extreme SATA Solid-State Drive (SSD). Using the Intel SSD in a unique way, the Panasas Automatic Tiered Storage Architecture optimizes performance, cost, reliability, and data management in a high-performance storage system.

"Automated tiering is the critical next step in widespread adoption of solid state disk. The new ActiveStor Series 9 architecture is an excellent example of this," said George Crump, president, Storage Switzerland. "As a result customers will see significant performance benefits. Customers are demanding greater intelligence from their storage systems, and it is clear that Panasas applied a tremendous amount of insight to the Series 9 design to help drive higher levels of efficiency through automated data management."

Unlike single-dimensional storage solutions, which offer either high-bandwidth performance or optimized input/output per second (IOPS), the ActiveStor Series 9 uses multiple storage technologies in a synchronized architecture to produce both. The Panasas global namespace technology further enhances the Series 9 solution by providing a system that can scale to millions of operations per second and hundreds of gigabytes per second of throughput performance.

"Intel solid-state drives are designed to dramatically improve storage performance and remove system bottlenecks," said Pete Hazen, director of marketing, Intel NAND Solutions Group. "Companies like Panasas can use the Intel X25-E Extreme SATA SSD to achieve performance breakthroughs and improve power and cooling efficiencies due to the X25-E's superior input/output operations per second per watt capability."

New Automatic Tiered ArchitectureThe ActiveStor Series 9 achieves new performance levels via an architecture that combines three tiers of storage -- cache, SSD, and SATA -- on each blade.

???Cache - An extremely fast cache tier optimizes write data for optimal layout, reducing fragmentation and aggressive read-ahead operations, and providing faster access.

???SSD - The SSD tier provides fast metadata and small file access, minimizing seek times for access to all files in the system.

???SATA - A cost-effective SATA disk drive optimizes large file management.

Managed, optimized, and completely automated via the Panasas PanFS operating system, the three tiers synchronize to deliver cost-effective and highly tuned performance for data-intensive applications. Other storage platforms cost significantly more; have lower performance; or rely heavily on manual intervention, copying data between tiers and policies to manage the various storage tiers.Initial benchmarks of the new system showed a 300 percent improvement on access to file metadata, resulting in significantly faster backup and data snapshot operations; and a 200 percent improvement in NFS performance for applications including economic modeling with Monte Carlo simulations, electronic design automation (EDA) simulation and test, bioscience genome alignment, and molecular dynamics modeling. In addition, the large-scale architecture, global namespace, and NFS performance provide an attractive combination for enterprise data mining applications by accelerating the time to results for large data set queries.

"We're constantly striving to push the storage performance envelope for data-intensive applications," said Randy Strahan, CEO, Panasas. "Our innovative new architecture is further boosted by the Intel X25-E Extreme SATA SSD, which is 100 times faster than hard disk drives, producing unprecedented performance for our customers across the globe."

Enhanced System Reliability

The PanFS file system works in conjunction with the Intel X25-E SSD to minimize the problem of "write amplification" and dramatically extend the useful life of the SSD in the very demanding storage environments in which Panasas customers use ActiveStor products. Panasas has also developed a unique approach to enhance long-term system reliability using innovative advanced monitoring tools that ensure the SSD performs within specifications over an extended period of time. The advanced monitoring tools provide increased investment protection by ensuring that applications are always running at optimal performance and that customers receive advanced notification of any potential SSD-related issues.

The Panasas ActiveStor Series 9 system will be available during the second half of 2009 through direct and reseller channels worldwide. For more information, visit Panasas

Panasas, Inc., the leading provider of high-performance storage for the world's most performance-intensive applications, helps commercial, government and academic organizations accelerate their time to results, leading to real-world breakthroughs that improve people's lives. Panasas high-performance storage systems enable customers to maximize the benefits of technical computing systems by eliminating the storage bottleneck created with legacy network storage technologies. Panasas ActiveStor Parallel Storage Clusters, in conjunction with the ActiveScale?? operating environment and PanFS??? parallel file system, offer the most comprehensive portfolio of storage solutions for technical and high-performance computing environments. Panasas is headquartered in Fremont, California. For more information, please visit

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