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PanFS 5.5: Delivering Enterprise Grade Windows Support

Geoffrey Noer

VP of Product Management

Enterprise grade Windows support for technical computing? Are you crazy? Everybody in this space runs Linux!

Yes, I know, the compute clusters used for technical research and enterprise workloads pretty much all run Linux. After all, that’s why we originally created DirectFlow® - to maximize aggregate I/O performance and successfully handle thousands of concurrent compute nodes.

So why then did we just spend several years of development effort to transform the quality of our Microsoft® Windows support and interoperability? Because we know the IT world is usually a heterogeneous one and this is still the case for technical research and enterprise workflows. Look past a large Linux cluster and you will often find researchers or engineers on a mixture of Windows and Linux workstations creating and analyzing the data that’s analyzed by applications on the cluster. Multiple applications are involved in most workflows with some applications being Windows-based.

In PanFS 5.5, we replaced an open source implementation of Windows support with a commercially licensed, fully Microsoft compliant version of the SMB protocol (also known as CIFS) while making many other important supporting changes inside PanFS. This included a reimplementation of our file system’s base user and group authentication support, with high-fidelity Access Control Lists (ACLs) properly handling inheritance as required by Windows specifications. Also, PanFS now correctly handles trusted domains in support of more complex Active Directory environments.

As a result of this new functionality, ActiveStor is now the industry’s first hybrid scale-out NAS appliance designed for technical workloads that offers enterprise grade Windows support. As important as Linux is to our markets, make no mistake – Windows is here to stay and our new Windows support in PanFS 5.5 makes ActiveStor the best choice for scale-out storage needs in a wide range of technical workflows.

Visit PanFS 5.5 page to learn more.