Panasas ActiveScale Storage Cluster Accelerates Research Productivity at Arizona State University's Supercomputer Facility

Posted by dcparris on Jun 30, 2006 2:24 AM EDT
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Panasas Storage Boosts Cluster Performance by 10X and Eliminates Need for Costly NFS Servers

FREMONT, Calif., June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Arizona State University's (ASU) Fulton High-Performance Computing (HPC) Initiative Center provides researchers faster access to collaborative research information vital to solving complex scientific and engineering problems due to their adoption of the Panasas ActiveScale Storage Cluster(TM). By deploying the Panasas ActiveScale Storage Cluster, ASU has increased its Linux cluster performance by 10X while eliminating the need for costly NFS servers.

The HPC Initiative serves as a university hub for high-performance computing. ASU researchers use the facility's 200-node Linux cluster to study complex problems ranging from the design of golf balls that fly farther and straighter, to developing massively large numerical simulations that can lead to more accurate weather predictions. In building out the HPC Initiative Center, ASU recognized that reliance of legacy storage solutions would require multiple NFS servers to scale, realized this was not a viable solution, and selected Panasas to meet their increased performance requirements and their scalability needs.

"We evaluated several storage solutions with parallel file systems, knowing that a reliance on legacy NFS servers would not enable us to scale quickly or match the demands of our Linux cluster. Over time adding more NFS servers would stifle the cluster's usability," said Dr. Dan Stanzione, director of the High Performance Computing Initiative. "In evaluation tests on 32- and 64-node test data, Panasas with DirectFLOW(TM) outpaced competitive storage solutions right out-of-the-box, without requiring any fine-tuning. Quite simply, we plugged in Panasas storage and it worked. It's reliable and remarkably fast."

The Panasas Storage Cluster with DirectFLOW provides a fully-parallel data path for high speed and direct communications between the facility's Linux cluster and Panasas storage, eliminating performance bottlenecks that can idle the cluster as it waits for data. Instead, Panasas storage optimizes the speed in which meaningful results can be processed and delivered.

In addition, Panasas' integrated hardware/software solution streamlines management tasks so that IT managers can be more productive and spend less time on tedious administrative tasks. The Panasas Storage Cluster also supports clustered NFS so that non-Linux nodes can access data running on the Linux cluster. This means that ASU faculty and students running applications from their Windows-based workstations can use the Panasas Storage Cluster to process their jobs directly on the Linux cluster. In this way, the facility can fully maximize IT investments in its infrastructure and reduce the overall cost of ownership.

"Panasas continues to shatter the myth that high-performance, scalable storage has to be complex," said Larry Jones, vice president of marketing at Panasas. "We're setting the standard for exceptional ease of use with the Panasas Storage Cluster and we've established DirectFLOW as the de facto standard benchmark in achieving the highest in clustered Linux storage performance for use in universities such as ASU as well as government, and commercial organizations," said Larry Jones, vice president of marketing at Panasas.

About Panasas

Panasas, Inc. helps companies accelerate the speed and accuracy of their business decisions, leading to real world breakthroughs that improve people's lives. Panasas customers maximize the benefits of Linux clusters by breaking down the storage bottleneck created by legacy network storage technologies. Through the delivery of the company's Storage Cluster, which combines industry-standard hardware with the company's ActiveScale File System and professional services, the company has become the established leader in high performance, clustered storage. Panasas is headquartered in Fremont, Calif., with development facilities in Pittsburgh, Pa. For more information, please visit

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