Panasas launches PanFS 9, a next-generation portable storage platform


Panasas has introduced its next-generation PanFS portable parallel file system, a major release delivering customers performance enhancements, optimisations, and a multi-layer security foundation.

These advancements are designed to meet the demanding requirements of today’s HPC and AI/ML workloads while safeguarding sensitive and confidential data, and providing the underpinnings needed to deploy a secure, multi-tenancy environment.

The PanFS version 9 release expands the ActiveStor Ultra HPC storage platform capabilities adding substantial layers of security, including hardware-based encryption at rest with zero performance degradation or cost impact, and file labelling support for Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux), a set of Linux kernel security modifications that sets constraints on how files are accessed. 

At the physical data layer, PanFS9 establishes NIST-approved encryption at rest data protection with AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption on self-encrypting drives (SEDs) and features automatic cryptographic erasure the instant a drive is removed without authorisation. At the file access layer, PanFS9 implements a comprehensive level of access control, storing SELinux Context information as per-file security labels for use by SELinux and Multi-Level Security (MLS) policies. 

Encryption at rest is fully managed and data encryption keys are generated by PanFS9 for all new and deployed removeable ActiveStor Ultra drives. That is, all installed ActiveStor Ultra units have been future-proofed and can be enabled with a simple PanFS9 upgrade. For robust, mature key management, Panasas teamed with industry leading security providers like Thales to deliver field-hardened compatible and well-tested key management solution options.

PanFS9 also delivers additional hardening of the Dynamic Data Acceleration (DDA) technology introduced last year for intelligent mixed HPC and AI/ML workload processing. Already having set a new standard for hybrid HPC storage by doubling performance over competitive solutions, PanFS9 with DDA includes performance optimisations and enhancements to the software stacks on both the storage and metadata nodes. Additionally, significant increased metadata performance for DirectFlow, NFS, and SMB protocols are provided.  

“We architected our latest PanFS parallel file system specifically with an eye on the growing performance and security requirements our HPC and AI/ML customers encounter from new diverse and exponentially expanding workloads,” said Brian Reed, VP Products and Alliances. “Together with scalability, performance, reliability, and ease of management, we’ve identified security and protecting our customer’s data as a pillar of the PanFS architecture. 

“The most effective way to provide comprehensive data security is to deploy a multi-layer foundational approach including increased access control through SELinux support and hardware-based encryption-at-rest with a trusted key management system. To that end, we’re pleased to be working with a key management industry leader like Thales along with partners in the security ecosystem including Micron, Seagate, and Supermicro to deliver a comprehensive, interoperable, and performant solution.”

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