FREMONT, Calif. — October 9, 2007— Panasas, Inc., the leader in parallel clustered storage solutions for the high-performance computing industry announced the Panasas Tiered Parity Architecture, the most significant extension to disk array data reliability since Panasas CTO Garth Gibson’s pioneering RAID research at UC-Berkeley in 1988. With the release of the ActiveScale 3.2 operating environment, Panasas will offer an innovative end-to-end Tiered-Parity architecture that addresses the primary causes of storage reliability problems and provides the industry’s first end-to-end data integrity checking capability.
Traditional RAID implementations protect against disk failures by calculating and storing parity data along with the original data. In the past 10 years, individual disk drives have become approximately 10 times more reliable and over 250 times denser than those protected by the first generation RAID designs in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, the number of disk media failures expected during each read over the surface of a disk grows proportionately with the massive increase in density and has now become the most common failure mode for RAID. A RAID disk failure can cause loss of all the data in a volume which may be tens of terabytes (TB) or more. Recovery of the lost data from tape (assuming that is all backed up) can take days or even weeks. Other storage system vendors recognize this same issue and apply RAID 6, often called double parity RAID, to address this problem. Double parity schemes only treat the symptom of the failure, not the cause, and they carry substantial cost and performance penalties, which will only get worse as disk drive densities continue to increase. Panasas Tiered Parity architecture directly addresses the root cause of the problem, not the symptom. Solving the storage reliability problem caused by these new 1TB and larger disks allows Panasas to build larger and more reliable storage that allows users to get more value from their data and are less expensive for IT to support.
“The challenges with storage system reliability today have little to do with overall disk reliability, which is what RAID was designed to address in 1988. The issues that we see today are directly related to disk density and require new approaches. Most secondary disk failures today are the result of media errors, which have become 250 times more likely to occur during a RAID failed-disk rebuild over the last 10 years,” said Garth Gibson, CTO of Panasas. “Tiered Parity allows us to tackle media errors with an architecture that can counter the effects of increasing disk density. It also solves data path reliability challenges beyond those addressed by traditional RAID and extends parity checking out to the client or server node. Tiered Parity provides the only end-to-end data integrity checking capability in the industry.”
Panasas Tiered-Parity architecture addresses reliability and data integrity in three independent tiers that combine to deliver the most comprehensive reliability architecture available today.
· Horizontal Parity uses the current Panasas Object-RAID to provide protection from disk failure across the entire storage array. This unique technology provides scalable RAID recovery, parallel reconstruction, and per-file fault isolation.
· Vertical Parity, a new technology from Panasas, detects and fixes media errors on disk before the failure can interfere with RAID recovery. This new technology fixes the leading cause of failed RAID recovery operations.
· Network Parity, which provides the industry’s first end-to-end data integrity capability, enables a compute node to be absolutely certain of the integrity of data it reads over the network from the Panasas Parallel Storage Cluster.
“Panasas is unique in that they have extensive experience deploying very large storage systems to a broad range of commercial and government customers who have strict requirements on reliability and data integrity. Tiered-Parity builds on Panasas’ RAID expertise and further extends their leadership by providing reliability features built to protect peta-scale storage systems,” said Mike Karp, senior analyst, Enterprise Management Associates.
Panasas Tiered-Parity architecture, coupled with Panasas’ industry-leading RAID implementation, will enable customers to scale storage systems seamlessly and reliably while maintaining the same high level of data protection. The net result is maximum user and IT productivity enabling more intelligent, faster business decisions leading to the competitive advantage that every enterprise seeks.
“We are very excited to see Panasas take such a leadership position and address this critical issue for users throughout the IT industry,” said Bill Rickert, Global Computing Resources Manager, Petroleum Geo-Services. “We utilize Panasas parallel storage throughout the world and it is a valued component of our seismic processing system. The Panasas Tiered Parity offerings will help us to ensure reliability in meeting the needs of our oil and gas exploration customers.”
Panasas, Inc., the global leader in parallel storage solutions, helps commercial, government and academic organizations accelerate their time to results leading to real world breakthroughs that improve people’s lives. Panasas’ high-performance storage systems enable customers to maximize the benefits of Linux clusters by eliminating the storage bottleneck created by legacy network storage technologies. The Panasas® ActiveStor Parallel Storage Clusters, in conjunction with the ActiveScale® Operating Environment and PanFS™ parallel file system, offer the most comprehensive portfolio of storage solutions for High Performance Computing (HPC) environments. Panasas is headquartered in Fremont, California. For more information, please visit www.panasas.com.
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