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DirectFlow & other protocols


The PanFS storage operating system supports simultaneous multiple protocol access, suitable for a diversity of customers, applications and types of users.

  • DirectFlow®: The parallel data access protocol designed by Panasas
    • For Linux clients
    • For Mac clients
  • NFS v3: for Linux, Unix and Mac clients
  • SMB v2: for Microsoft Windows clients


DirectFlow avoids traditional protocol I/O bottlenecks by allowing Linux compute clients to access the entire Panasas storage cluster directly and in parallel. This results in higher performance than what can be achieved with industry-standard protocols such as NFS and SMB, and avoids the load balancing and congestion side effects of these client protocols when addressing clustered file systems.

DirectFlow is a sophisticated file system software that runs inside each compute client, establishing a parallel I/O relationship from the client to the PanFS storage operating system for every file read/write. DirectFlow also performs client-side data parity calculations when writing to Panasas storage, relieving this burden from storage to unleash greater performance benefits.

When you double the performance of client applications accessing scale-out NAS you double the productivity of all users. Using DirectFlow, Panasas customers have re-rendered entire movies in record time, reduced the cost of sequencing a human genome, and designed breakthrough products by running twice as many engineering simulations more quickly than ever before.

DirectFlow® for Linux®
DirectFlow provides unmatched performance for Linux clusters of all sizes and is ideal for the high performance Linux clusters deployed in nearly 500 technical computing environments such as manufacturing, life sciences, media & entertainment, education, government, energy, and the public sector. Deployed across a large variety of Linux-based computing environments, the DirectFlow protocol has proven success at delivering more than 10x the performance of workloads using traditional I/O protocols.

DirectFlow® for Mac®   See the demo
DirectFlow for Mac delivers breakthrough performance to all commercial markets serviced by the Apple® Mac® platform, including media & entertainment, life sciences and education. With DirectFlow for Mac, the ecosystem of Apple applications can tap the parallel performance benefits of DirectFlow over Ethernet for the first time, leaving SAN complexity behind and leveraging Ethernet’s economic benefits and infrastructure simplicity while also maintaining open access to the Panasas ActiveStor platform. Production teams are able to ingest, process and deliver video in higher resolution and consolidate their workflows under a single global namespace – all while working alongside other platforms using DirectFlow for Linux clients and other platforms using traditional file protocols.


PanFS also supports open scalable access for compute clients that require standard NFS or SMB protocol access. Clients working with these protocols experience equivalent access with DirectFlow clients, meaning that all users have cache-coherent I/O regardless of protocol used by the client. No matter what protocols are employed, Panasas storage seamlessly integrates into existing infrastructure to accelerate return on investment and delivers an unprecedented level of flexibility to optimize the utilization of the ActiveStor platform.

Enterprise-grade SMB (sometimes referred to as CIFS) enables users to easily manage files from Microsoft Windows environments – minimizing user and group authentication issues. More information on SMB features and benefits in PanFS is listed below:

Feature Description
Enterprise-grade Microsoft Windows Support
  • Commercially licensed SMB protocol
    • SMB 1.0, 2.0, 2.1
  • Comprehensive Windows client support
    • Windows Server 2003, 2008 (including RC2)
    • Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Improved integration into heterogeneous IT environments
    • High-fidelity Access Control List (ACL) support (including inheritance)
    • Active Directory enhancements: trusted domain support
  • Simplified manageability
    • Single computer account/single domain join