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Introducing ActiveStor 16 and PanFS 6.0

Geoffrey Noer

VP of Product Management

There’s no question that this is a big announcement: not only have we announced our new flagship platform ActiveStor 16 but we also announced PanFS 6.0, the biggest step forward for our storage operating system in many years.

ActiveStor 16 builds on our successful ActiveStor 14 hybrid scale-out NAS platform, improving both density and performance. Leveraging 6TB helium-filled hard drive technology from HGST, ActiveStor 16 now attains 122.4TB per shelf (50% higher density). The ActiveStor 16 director blade also sports a faster CPU and four times the memory for improved file system responsiveness and metadata performance.

Whereas ActiveStor 16 refreshes the platform, PanFS 6.0 should really turn heads.

From the beginning, Panasas customers have benefited from the PanFS per-file RAID architecture based on erasure codes, delivering scalable RAID rebuild speed and high I/O performance from the direct-access architecture.

What’s new? Starting with PanFS 6.0, a new RAID level called RAID 6+ is available for data protection. RAID 6+ is no mere RAID 6 implementation as it delivers triple parity protection for a 150x increase in base reliability in comparison to dual parity protection schemes. And because of how file content is scattered across drives in a random pattern, data reliability increases with the scale of storage rather than decreasing as is common with other storage platforms.

Not content to stop at an industry-leading level of data protection, Panasas has also improved availability and disaster recovery in PanFS 6.0. RAID 6+ protects the namespace (directory data) deeper than data. This means that even after a catastrophic failure with three simultaneous drive failures, ActiveStor systems can now stay online, fully accessible except for a very small percentage of files damaged by the failure. The storage administrator can then restore a specific list of affected files from back-up and restore the system to 100% health. Contrast that to most other systems which would not only experience unplanned downtime but would likely require restoring the entire file system and you can understand why our customers should be excited about this feature, even if they hope to never benefit from it.

Put all of this together and I hope you’ll agree that PanFS 6.0 puts Panasas on a completely new level when it comes to data protection, availability, and disaster recovery.

In future blog posts I will explore the benefits of these features in more detail but until then, thanks for reading!