Panasas Backfills ActiveStor Lineup

By Nicole Hemsoth

June 23, 2011

High performance parallel storage vendor Panasas is once again eyeing the technical computing and big data markets with the release of its ActiveStore 11 parallel storage system appliance–this time with keen emphasis on customer needs to consider storage in the face of budget constraints versus simply no-holds-barred performance.

Last year Panasas launched its PAS 12 high performance NAS storage line, which represented the fourth generation of the flagship product, which they dubbed as the world’s “fastest parallel storage system.” Notice that they are moving backwards in their numbering system with ActiveStor 11, a fact that represents going in reverse on pricing and compute-side features.

According Geoffrey Noer, Senior Director of Product Management at Pansas this backpedalling was intentional. He claims that when they built out to ActiveStor 12, they left some room in the middle to add value and create a line that was intended to offer more balanced storage capacity that is tailored to a wider range of storage budgets.

While ActiveStor 12 was made for extreme performance, Panasas has tried to find middle ground with 11. The company scaled back to make more room on the hardware end that could be spent on drives, allowing Panasas offer 11 with what Noer described as “a more pleasing dollar per terabyte package.”

The degree to which Panasas is offering something far below ActiveStor 12 can be debated since both 11 and 12 are available with 3 terabyte drives. As Noer said, “whereas before we were talking about 40 terabytes per chassis scaling up to 4 petabytes, we’re now talking about 60 terabytes per chassis, scaling up to 6 petabytes in a single file system.” The real news is contained in the fact that there is no price premium for the bump, customers who bought 40 terabyte ActiveStor 12 systems can but the same system in essence with the 3 terabyte drives and get 50% more capacity.

Noer says that moving “back” to ActiveStor 11 is not necessarily much of a downgrade from 12, given the system’s ability to scale to 6 petabytes and 115 GB/s of throughput via a single global namespace. He claims that the fully parallel performance driven by a blade design that meshes capacity and speed can scale linearly due to the shedding of filer heads and hardware RAID controllers that can buffer performance. These distinctive discards of filer heads and controllers are a hallmark of the Panasas line of storage products and drive their reputation as a suitable HPC storage option, Noer explained.

Noer also touted the deployment, use and manageability advantages that can come from a tightly integrated system versus software-only approaches. He said that Panasas is always being compared to Lustre or IBM GPSS running on SAN storage but with that taking a software-driven angle means you’re trying to marry to a hardware architecture that wasn’t explicitly designed to handle such a system. Noer says by doing this, you introduce manageability issues that Panasas is freed from due to their Object RAID model wherein are stored on the blades. Since these blades have been designed at ground level to deliver maximum performance all elements of the hardware architecture are driven to mirror advantages on the storage OS side.

Panasas is pulling in 3 terabyte SATA drives with the introduction of ActiveStor 11, which is another density bump that Noer says stretch traditional hardware RAID controllers to the limit. He claims that with each density upgrade the reconstruction times haven’t been going up as fast as the drive capacity, which is a problem since it can take several days to rebuild a single drive after failure in many hardware environments. He says that under the object-oriented paradigm, it is possible to take advantage of the massive parallelism and throw a slew of processors at the problem to reconstruct in the tens of minutes. Additionally, although it might seem a bit illogical, Noer argued that the larger the scale of the single file system the faster a rebuild takes place.  

He said that when all is said and done, “we still have the software and hardware redundancy on the hardware and software services side, but in many ways our object storage architecutre enables the use of these high speed drives–and the high performance we’re getting for disk allows us to take advantage of them without becoming an archival solution.”

On a side note, if you’re off looking for something that falls just below ActiveStor 11 and find yourself on a fruitless chase for ActiveStor 10 there isn’t one. According to Noer, plans for 10 were on the table but we scrapped. He says the performance and price appeal of 11 provides a balance between previous NAS solutions and the more expensive, performance-driven ActiveStor 12.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Scientists Conduct First Quantum Simulation of Atomic Nucleus

May 23, 2018

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 23, 2018—Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are the first to successfully simulate an atomic nucleus using a quantum computer. The results, published in Ph Read more…

By Rachel Harken, ORNL

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Francisco, one would be tempted to dismiss its claims of inventing Read more…

By John Russell

Intel, Micro Debut Quad-Level Cell NAND Flash

May 22, 2018

Chipmakers continue to gear designs toward AI and other demanding cloud workloads that take advantage of datacenter flash storage capacity. To that end, memory specialist Micron Technology Inc. began shipping compact sol Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPC and AI Convergence is Accelerating New Levels of Intelligence

Data analytics is the most valuable tool in the digital marketplace – so much so that organizations are employing high performance computing (HPC) capabilities to rapidly collect, share, and analyze endless streams of data. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Mastering the Big Data Challenge in Cognitive Healthcare

Patrick Chain, genomics researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, posed a question in a recent blog: What if a nurse could swipe a patient’s saliva and run a quick genetic test to determine if the patient’s sore throat was caused by a cold virus or a bacterial infection? Read more…

Japan Meteorological Agency Takes Delivery of Pair of Crays

May 21, 2018

Cray has supplied two identical Cray XC50 supercomputers to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) in northwestern Tokyo. Boasting more than 18 petaflops combined peak computing capacity, the new systems will extend the a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Franci Read more…

By John Russell

Japan Meteorological Agency Takes Delivery of Pair of Crays

May 21, 2018

Cray has supplied two identical Cray XC50 supercomputers to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) in northwestern Tokyo. Boasting more than 18 petaflops combine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ASC18: Final Results Revealed & Wrapped Up

May 17, 2018

It was an exciting week at ASC18 in Nanyang, China. The student teams braved extreme heat, extremely difficult applications, and extreme competition in order to cross the cluster competition finish line. The gala awards ceremony took place on Wednesday. The auditorium was packed with student teams, various dignitaries, the media, and other interested parties. So what happened? Read more…

By Dan Olds

Spring Meetings Underscore Quantum Computing’s Rise

May 17, 2018

The month of April 2018 saw four very important and interesting meetings to discuss the state of quantum computing technologies, their potential impacts, and th Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Quantum Network Hub Opens in Japan

May 17, 2018

Following on the launch of its Q Commercial quantum network last December with 12 industrial and academic partners, the official Japanese hub at Keio University is now open to facilitate the exploration of quantum applications important to science and business. The news comes a week after IBM announced that North Carolina State University was the first U.S. university to join its Q Network. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Democratizing HPC: OSC Releases Version 1.3 of OnDemand

May 16, 2018

Making HPC resources readily available and easier to use for scientists who may have less HPC expertise is an ongoing challenge. Open OnDemand is a project by t Read more…

By John Russell

PRACE 2017 Annual Report: Exascale Aspirations; Industry Collaboration; HPC Training

May 15, 2018

The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) today released its annual report showcasing 2017 activities and providing a glimpse into thinking about Read more…

By John Russell

US Forms AI Brain Trust

May 11, 2018

Amid calls for a U.S. strategy for promoting AI development, the Trump administration is forming a senior-level panel to help coordinate government and industry research efforts. The Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence was announced Thursday (May 10) during a White House summit organized by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Read more…

By George Leopold

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

HPC and AI – Two Communities Same Future

January 25, 2018

According to Al Gara (Intel Fellow, Data Center Group), high performance computing and artificial intelligence will increasingly intertwine as we transition to Read more…

By Rob Farber

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Wins $57 Million DoD Supercomputing Contract

February 20, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today revealed details of its massive $57 million HPC contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The deal calls for HP Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CFO Steps down in Executive Shuffle at Supermicro

January 31, 2018

Supermicro yesterday announced senior management shuffling including prominent departures, the completion of an audit linked to its delayed Nasdaq filings, and Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Portends ‘Sea Change’ for Oil and Gas Sector

February 1, 2018

The billowing compute and data demands that spurred the oil and gas industry to be the largest commercial users of high-performance computing are now propelling Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Ups Hardware Game with 16-GPU DGX-2 Server and 18-Port NVSwitch

March 27, 2018

Nvidia unveiled a raft of new products from its annual technology conference in San Jose today, and despite not offering up a new chip architecture, there were still a few surprises in store for HPC hardware aficionados. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

April 17, 2018

On Monday June 4, 2018, 2017 A.M. Turing Award Winners John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson will deliver the Turing Lecture at the 45th International Sympo Read more…

By Staff

Part One: Deep Dive into 2018 Trends in Life Sciences HPC

March 1, 2018

Life sciences is an interesting lens through which to see HPC. It is perhaps not an obvious choice, given life sciences’ relative newness as a heavy user of H Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This