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Panasas ActiveStor Ultra – What you need to know about the fastest and simplest HPC storage

Jim Donovan | December 10, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, we made our most important product announcement in 10 years: ActiveStor® Ultra featuring PanFS® 8, the industry’s only plug-and-play, portable, parallel filesystem. Why is this significant? Because we are changing HPC buyers’ choices in a fundamental way by eliminating the compromise of fast or simple and instead offering both: unmatched performance together with the plug-and-play capabilities our customers have come to rely on.

We created a storage platform that features a completely reengineered portable file system running on industry-standard commodity hardware, with performance levels up to 60 GB/s per rack while also offering Enterprise-grade reliability, manageability, and cost efficiency.

The ActiveStor Ultra appliance is delivered with PanFS 8, which is a portable network attached storage software product that can run on any properly configured and qualified storage hardware. Making the PanFS 8 parallel filesystem portable allows us to offer our customers an array of storage configurations choices, adopt new hardware innovations as they become available, and quickly adapt to the demands of new application areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous vehicles, and precision medicine. In addition, PanFS 8 now runs on Linux and features intelligent data placement across three tiers of media – metadata on non-volatile memory express (NVMe), small files on SSDs and large files on HDDs – resulting in optimized performance for all data types.

Steve Conway, senior research vice president at Hyperion Research, said “Panasas has achieved a re-set…. It could be a potential game-changer for the company and have a strong impact on the HPC storage industry in general.”

Here’s what ActiveStor Ultra with PanFS 8 brings to the table:

Fast – With performance levels up to 60 GB/s per rack, ActiveStor Ultra delivers consistently high performance regardless of complexity. Performance and capacity scale linearly without limitations as more racks are added.

Simple – With dock to data in 1 hour, ActiveStor Ultra delivers the industry’s fastest time to first I/O. With the system optimally tuned for 80% of the workloads, users can easily add new workloads without tuning or retuning. Automatic distributed erasure coding-based data protection delivers extreme reliability and eliminates the need for manual intervention.

Flexible – ActiveStor Ultra is exceptional at mixed workloads because it separates data and metadata, and uses advanced techniques to store both. In addition, the new portable file system allows for quickly adopting new features and technologies. As with all Panasas ActiveStor products, ActiveStor Ultra has been designed to be fully backward and forward compatible with the Panasas ActiveStor product portfolio.

Cost-effective – Delivered on industry standard hardware and with only one admin needed to manage at any scale, ActiveStor Ultra delivers exceptional performance at a highly competitive price point.

Take a quick tour of our SC18 booth demo to see the new ActiveStor Ultra up close and hear more technical details outlined by Panasas Software Architect Curtis Anderson.