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PanFS Parallel File System

The Most Adaptable Parallel File System

Panasas® PanFS®, the operating environment for the Panasas ActiveStor® architecture, maximizes the efficiency of all storage media in a seamless, total-performance storage system. PanFS uses Dynamic Data Acceleration to automatically adapt to changing file sizes and workloads, delivering consistently superior performance for today’s demanding workloads. A scale-out object back-end supports limitless scaling, while optimal data placement and an internally balanced architecture boost efficiency. All with frustration-free deployment, operation, and maintenance.

For more information on the PanFS operating environment, download the Panasas Architectural Overview white paper.

Download White paper

PanFS with Dynamic Data Acceleration

Consistently Fast Performance in the Face of Change

PanFS Dynamic Data Acceleration technology automatically maximizes the performance of any workload, performing uniformly fast across a diversity of use-cases and mixed workloads in a single seamless system

Object Scalability


PanFS delivers parallel file access from an underlying pool of Object Storage Devices (OSDs). ActiveStor storage nodes act as OSDs, and director nodes function as metadata managers. The Panasas DirectFlow protocol provides direct client access to OSD data.

Distributed Object


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. Advanced caching capabilities streamline storage.



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.