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11Mar/10Off

Panasas NFS performance posted

TechOps Guy: Nate

I have heard of Panasas on occasion and for some reason recently I saw a story or a link to them so I decided to poke around to see what they do. I like technology..

Anyways I was shocked to see their system design. I mean I've seen systems like Isilon and Xiotech and Pillar who have embedded controllers in each of their storage shelves, this is an interesting concept for boosting performance though given the added complexity and stuff to each shelf I imagine can boost the costs by quite a bit too I don't know.

But Panasas has taken it to an even further extreme, putting a disk controller for every two disks in the system! I mean I'm sure it's great for maximum performance but wow, it just seems like such a massive overkill(which can be good for certain apps I'm sure). I was/am still shocked :)

So today I was poking around again at the latest SPEC SFS results for NFS, and saw they posted some numbers finally.

Fairly impressive numbers but I just can't get past the number of CPUs they are using. They posted 77,137 IOPS with 160 disks hosting NAS data (80 SATA and 80 SSD). They used a total of 110 Intel CPUs (80 1.5Ghz Celerons and 30 1.8Ghz Pentium Ms) and 440 gigabytes of  RAM cache.

By contrast, Avere which I posted about recently (never used their stuff, never talked to them before), posted 131,591 IOPS with 72 disks hosting NAS data(48 15k SAS, 24 SATA), 14 Intel CPUs(2.5Ghz quad core, so 56 cores) and 423 gigabytes of RAM cache. This is on a 6-node cluster. This Avere configuration is not using SSD (they released an SSD version since these results were posted)

The bar certainly is being raised by these players implementing massive caches. NetApp showed off some pretty impressive numbers as well with their PAM last year, more than 500GB of cache(PAM is a read cache only) though again not nearly as effective as Avere since they came in at 60,507 IOPS with 56 15k RPM disks.