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Panasas, Inc.
Industry Data Storage
Founded 1999
Headquarters Sunnyvale, California, USA
Key people
Faye Pairman, CEO
Jim Donovan, CMO
Tom Shea, Chief Operating Officer
Products ActiveStor
Number of employees

Panasas, Inc. is a privately-held data storage company that specializes in high-performance network-attached storage for technical computing environments.


Founded in 1999 by Garth Gibson and William Courtright, Panasas is a computer data storage product company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. The company initially started with venture capital funding from Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV) and additional investors include the Carlyle Group, Centennial Ventures, Evercore Partners, Goldman Sachs, Intel Capital and Novak-Biddle Venture Partners. Its first products were shipped in 2004. After an estimated 20 customers, Victor M. Perez became chief executive in August 2004.[1] Faye Pairman (previously of Applied Micro Circuits Corporation's 3ware division) became chief executive in 2011.[2]


Panasas developed an extension for managing parallel file access in the Network File System (NFS).[3] This work was later integrated in Parallel NFS (pNFS), part of the NFS version 4.1 specification, published by the Internet Engineering Task Force as RFC 5661 in January, 2010. pNFS describes a way for the NFS protocol to process file requests to multiple servers or storage devices at once, instead of handling the requests serially.[4]

Panasas products utilize the proprietary DirectFlow[5] protocol, which is based on the pNFS standard and ideally suited for the high performance Linux clusters commonly found in technical computing environments.

Panasas supports NFS, Parallel NFS and Server Message Block (also known as CIFS) data access protocols to integrate into existing local area networks. Panasas blade servers manage metadata, serving data for NFS and CIFS clients using 10 Gigabit Ethernet.[6]

Panasas systems provide data storage and management for high-performance applications in the biosciences, energy, media and entertainment, manufacturing, government and research sectors.[7]


The ActiveStor product line is a computer appliance that integrates hybrid storage hardware, file system PanFS and network protocols. It uses a computer cluster to provide scalability, known as "scale-out".[8] ActiveStor systems combine high-capacity hard drives and solid state drives for improved mixed-workload performance with rapid access to small and large files alike. ActiveStor 20 was announced in August 2016 with increased capacity, using larger and faster disks.[9][10]


The PanFS clustered file system creates a single pool of storage under a global filename space to support multiple applications and workflows in a single storage system with high performance for technical applications.[11] PanFS supports DirectFlow (pNFS), NFS and CIFS data access protocols simultaneously.[12]


DirectFlow is the parallel data access protocol designed by Panasas and delivered on ActiveStor products. DirectFlow avoids traditional protocol I/O bottlenecks by allowing compute clients to access Panasas storage directly and in parallel [13]

DirectFlow was originally supported on Linux, and expanded in April 2016 to support Apple MacOS. [14]


  1. ^ "Panasas Plots New Path". Byte and Switch. August 10, 2004. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Faye Pairman, President and CEO, Panasas, Inc.". HPCWire. 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ Mary Jander (May 26, 2007). "Panasas Leads Charge to Parallel NFS". Network Computing. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ S. Shepler, M. Eisler, and D. Noveck, editors (January 2010). Network File System (NFS) Version 4 Minor Version 1 Protocol. IETF. RFC 5661. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Panasas Accelerates pNFS Adoption". News release. Panasas. May 23, 2007. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Panasas ActiveStor 14 Parallel Storage". Product web page. Panasa. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Scale-Out NAS Storage Vendor | Panasas". Retrieved 2015-09-17. 
  8. ^ "Panasas Corporate Overview" (PDF). Panasas. September 14, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Click your heels Dorothy, ... We're not in gen-7 Panasas any more; 8th generation scale-out box lands - The". Retrieved 2017-01-19. 
  10. ^ Michael Feldman (August 2, 2016). "Panasas Upgrades ActiveStor Line with Bigger, Faster Drives". Top 500. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  11. ^ "New Multi-Petabyte, Scale-Out NAS". Storage Newsletter. 2010-04-20. Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  12. ^ "PanFS". Panasas. Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  13. ^ "DirectFlow". Panasas. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 
  14. ^ "Panasas brings DirectFlow NAS to Mac platform". Post Magazine. 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 

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