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Panasas Targets Life Sciences with Latest Version of Storage Platform


By Uduak Grace Thomas

Panasas this week released a new version of its storage platform intended to help the firm increase its footprint globally and in the life sciences market.

Panasas ActiveStor 11, the latest version of the company's parallel storage system, is powered by the PanFS operating system, based on a blade architecture, and can provide up to 1,150 megabytes of throughput from a single global namespace.

ActiveStor’s blades each have a pair of high-capacity drives: a DirectorBlade, which orchestrates system activity and provides metatdata services; and a StorageBlade, which enables parallel reads and writes as well as advanced caching algorithms, according to the company.

ActiveStor provides 60 terabytes of storage per 4U chassis and scales up to 6 petabytes. Furthermore, the solution does not require in-band filer heads or hardware RAID controllers, which impose limits on performance, the firm said.

This release offers 48 GB maximum cache per chassis. It also includes user quotas, snapshots, and per-user chargeback reporting so that administrators can monitor and manage storage resources within their private cloud.

Panasas is targeting its latest release towards life science groups with data-intensive applications who could deploy ActiveStor 11 as part of a research cluster or a private cloud platform.

The company also hopes to extend its reach beyond the US, where most of its current customer base is located, Barbara Murphy, Panasas chief marketing officer, told BioInform. Along these lines, the firm has hired a vice president for its Asian market and is also looking to expand further into the European market.

In addition to customers in the biosciences, including groups such as the European Bioinformatics Institute, the firm has clients in energy, finance, government, manufacturing, and in academia.

Panasas is currently accepting orders for ActiveStor 11 and expects to start shipping in August. The company also plans to release a 60 TB configuration of its ActiveStor 12 appliance within that timeframe.

ActiveStor 12 was released in November and is targeted towards customers that are looking for solutions that provide high performance with less emphasis on capacity.

Version 11 with 60 TB of capacity has a list price of $90,000 while ActiveStor 12 is priced at $110,000

Panasas opened its doors in 2004 with venture funding from Intel Capital, Mohr Davidow, Carlyle Group, and Centennial and is currently in its fourth generation of ActiveStor appliances. At the end of last year, Panasas had about 100 employees and plans to double its staff by the end of 2011.

Panasas' main competitors are companies like Isilon and Data Direct Networks, which also target their solutions to a life science clientele.

Isilon, for example, recently launched two network attached storage hardware platforms that it said should be of interest to customers in the life science market who are looking to store more than 20 terabytes of data (BI 04/15/2011).

Data Direct Networks, meantime, has recently installed its storage platform at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Stanford University, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

Have topics you'd like to see covered in BioInform? Contact the editor at uthomas [at] genomeweb [.] com.