Storage clusters: Panasas upgrades HPC systems

By Ann Silverthorn

—Panasas this week introduced two ActiveStor families of storage clusters and an upgraded ActiveScale storage operating system. The ActiveStor 3000 line provides storage for block-based, batch-oriented Linux cluster applications. The ActiveStor 5000 line is targeted at high-performance computing (HPC) users who need a unified storage fabric for both block-based and file-based applications.

The ActiveStor 5000 is designed to help organizations speed workflow across both product development and research environments. Panasas claims that the unified SAN and NAS cluster reduces operating costs by minimizing duplication of data and simplifying storage management. ActiveStor 5000 also features the StorageBlade XC, which increases the StorageBlade cache from 512MB to 2GB.

Panasas' new ActiveGuard feature ensures high availability for the ActiveStor 5000 by using a second Gigabit Ethernet link for storage network fail-over. Another new feature, ActiveImage, enables volume snapshots with more than 32,000 images per storage cluster, capturing only the changes from the previous image.

The ActiveStor 3000 is designed for applications such as seismic processing and large-scale modeling. The addition of 1TB StorageBlades delivers up to 10TB of capacity per 4U shelf and up to 100TB in a single-rack system.

The company also announced the third generation of its ActiveScale operating system. Added to ActiveScale's existing PanFS parallel file system are ActiveScan and ActiveUpgrade self-management capabilities. ActiveScan scans the storage environment and enables proactive replacement of failing disks. ActiveUpgrade allows software upgrades to be performed while applications are running.

The ActiveScale 3.0 operating system supports the NFS, CIFS, and "DirectFlow" protocols, allowing the solution to work in heterogeneous HPC environments. The DirectFlow capability provides a parallel data path to allow direct communications between Linux clusters and Panasas' storage systems.

The ActiveStor 5000 and 3000 systems and ActiveScale software will be demonstrated at next week's Supercomputing (SC06) conference and will be available in January 2007.

This article was originally published on November 07, 2006