back to article Teen Pennsylvania HPC storage pusher Panasas: Small files, fat nodes, sharp blades

HPC storage array maker Panasas has been talking about the new architecture for its scale out, parallel filesystem array, involving separate and scale-out director nodes talking to scale-out storage nodes. The company, born in Pennsylvania, is far from the hustling, VC-fuelled growth frenzy that is Silicon Valley – although it …

  1. cloudguy

    Data storage has been a conservative business

    Well, Panasas has been around for a long time. Garth A. Gibson, one of the founders of Panasas, is credited with being in the group of three Ph.D. computer science graduate students at UC Berkeley whose research was instrumental in the development of RAID back in 1987. The other graduate students were David Patterson and Randy Katz. Panasas has had its niche in data storage and was not competing with emergent object-based storage vendors like Caringo. Now there is competition with companies like Qumulo and Weka.io getting some traction so Panasas is upping their game. That said, data storage has been a conservative technology business built on proprietary hardware and proprietary firmware. Errors in storage hardware and firmware can lead to the loss or corruption of the data being stored, so moving fast and breaking stuff was never an acceptable approach to doing business.

    Now we are in the era of software-defined storage based on COTS (commodity off-the-shelf) hardware. Storage software vendors can now move faster because they are not dependent on building and testing proprietary hardware and firmware in their storage systems. Panasas is making this transition and will have to do it successfully to remain a viable player. Curiously, companies like Pure Storage have at least partially abandoned the use of software-defined storage in favor of using proprietary hardware. This would seem to run counter to the storage industry trend of relying on COTS hardware and doing everything of value in software.

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