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Panasas PanFS

Panasas PanFS Parallel File System

The Panasas® PanFS® operating environment for the Panasas ActiveStor® architecture combines a parallel file system, volume manager, and scalable RAID engine into a single integrated platform. Offering unprecedented speed, the PanFS platform avoids the bottlenecks associated with traditional RAID.

For more information on the PanFS operating environment, download the Panasas Performance Scale-out NAS Architectural Overview white paper.

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Object Scalability

The PanFS clustered parallel file system delivers scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) file access from an underlying pool of Object Storage Device (OSDs) pool. Every file you store consists of two or more objects on independent OSDs.

In the PanFS operating environment, ActiveStor storage nodes act as the OSDs. Director nodes function as metadata managers, implementing file system semantics and mediating access to objects from clients of the file system.

The Panasas DirectFlow® protocol provides high-performance direct client access to OSD data. DirectFlow clients read and write objects directly to OSDs in parallel, using a remote procedure call to speed access and enable high performance.


Distributed Object Storage

All PanFS data services are built on the ActiveStor storage node OSDs. The storage node software, called Object Storage Device File System (OSDFS), transacts objects, and the DirectFlow protocol performs object-level reads and writes.

OSDFS includes advanced caching capabilities that streamline storage by caching write data to power-protected DRAM. It also optimizes performance by determining the most appropriate physical storage device within the storage node for each object, based on object size.


Metadata-Enabled Architecture

Unlike most storage operating environments, PanFS uses unique software algorithms for each type of metadata and distributes metadata management across director and storage nodes.

Metadata Scalability

Storage administrators can easily create additional volumes within the PanFS global namespace by configuring the global namespace into one or more logical volumes.

File-Level Metadata

The PanFS platform maintains several types of metadata about files, including typical user-visible information such as owner, size, and modification time.

Block-Level Metadata

OSDFS software manages block-level metadata using a delayed allocation scheme in which it batches data, block pointers, and object descriptors into large write operations.


Streamlined Management, Single Global Namespace

Scale-up storage architectures grow in complexity, often reducing manageability. The PanFS file system architecture simplifies management by offering a single global namespace that easily scales from one to many ActiveStor units. In addition, automated capacity balancing and centralized management features streamline management as storage volumes grow.

Cluster Management

Cluster management software monitors hardware, manages configurations, and supports overall control. It identifies healthy nodes, responds to cluster node failures, and handles software upgrades.

Realm Management

Realm management software dynamically and logically clusters directors into active-active configurations so that all directors are fully engaged in workload processing.

Panasas PanActive Manager

Panasas PanActive Manager provides an easy-to-use HTML and command-line interface that simplifies initial configuration, ongoing monitoring and report generation, and troubleshooting.