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10/16/2003
04:39 PM
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Speedy Storage For Linux

Panasas aims for growing market with low-cost, object-based ActiveScale Storage Cluster

Startup storage vendor Panasas Corp. this week will introduce a low-cost way to store and retrieve files. The Panasas ActiveScale Storage Cluster uses object-based storage and separates the intelligent controller from disk drives, relying on a network file system to store and find files on its pizza-box-sized appliance.

The Linux-based appliances can be mounted in a rack. DirectorBlades orchestrate system activity and balance objects across StorageBlades, which store them using low-priced serial ATA disks. Prices for a storage cluster with 1.6 terabytes of capacity start at $25,000.

A single global naming system is key to performance. It helps provide bandwidth of around 8 Gbytes per second and input/output processing of more than 300,000 operations per second. Panasas believes there's an opportunity as Linux's popularity grows. "Storage hasn't caught up with the server move to Linux," says Garth Gibson, founder and chief technology officer at Panasas.

An industry analyst says Panasas stands out because of the global file system and object-based approach, where the attributes of a file are hidden from customers within a black box. "Data is transferred directly between servers and the storage," says Arun Taneja, founder and president at the Taneja Group. "Data arrives much faster in Panasas."

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