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Storage Hardware Architecture

Panasas ActiveStor is based on a revolutionary storage blade architecture designed to deliver the best possible capabilities from the Panasas PanFS® storage operating system. By taking a scalable, modular appliance approach, ActiveStor systems facilitate ease of management and maintenance while delivering high performance, reliability, and availability.

Every ActiveStor deployment consists of one or more fully self-contained storage blade shelves that can be easily expanded within a rack or multiple racks to support virtually any capacity and performance requirement. Each shelf contains up to three director blades which orchestrate file system activity, and multiple storage blades that store and transact all file system data and metadata and handle more than 90% of file system activity.


The ActiveStor blade shelf and integrated 10Gb Ethernet switch module(s) provide an enterprise-class foundation optimized for simple scalability and reliability. Each shelf accommodates up to eleven blades: configuration options range from eleven storage blades for storage expansion to three directors and eight storage blades for optimum performance. Up to two 10Gb Ethernet switch modules optimize I/O scalability by providing line-rate switching between the blades and data center switches.

Panasas Storage Blade

Storage Blade

ActiveStor storage blades are the hardware foundation of the system. Storage blades contain all application and user data, storing files as objects for optimal performance and reliability. Every storage blade enhances both the capacity and performance of the system, allowing ActiveStor to linearly scale performance and capacity as the size of the deployment increases. Each storage blade includes two high-capacity, cost-effective SATA drives for high-speed data streaming. ActiveStor 16 & 18 storage blades also include one enterprise Solid State Drive (SSD) for lightning-fast access to metadata and small files.

Director Blade

Panasas Director BladeActiveStor director blades orchestrate file system activity outside of the data path, allowing reads/writes to occur in parallel directly between compute clients and Panasas storage blades. This design not only speeds data transfers but also facilitates much better scalability. In addition, director blades virtualize data objects across all available storage blades, enabling the system to be viewed as a single, easily managed namespace. Director blades automatically cluster together for high availability, and the ratio of storage to director blades can be configured to meet the demands of each specific application environment.


Find out more about our Storage Hardware Architecture