ALICE Supercomputer Runs Computationally Intensive Research with Panasas High Performance Storage

June 1, 2011

Panasas® ActiveStor™ Storage and PanFS™ Parallel File System Deployed Within Private Cloud at the University of Leicester in the UK.


SUNNYVALE, Calif., June 1, 2011 –Panasas®, Inc., the leader in high performance parallel storage for technical computing applications and big data workloads, today announced that the University of Leicester has consolidated its HPC capabilities into a private cloud infrastructure with Panasas ActiveStor, a high performance parallel storage system running over 10GbE and InfiniBand. The centralized supercomputer, Advanced Leicester Information and Computational Environment (ALICE), allows multi-disciplinary researchers to run computationally intensive research projects quickly and efficiently while resulting in significant cost savings for the university.

“Academic departments typically struggle to secure research funding to employ skilled IT support staff simply to administer their HPC systems,” said Dr. Chris Rudge, facility manager for the UK Astrophysics Fluids Facility at Leicester University, who was tasked with creating the centralized supercomputing facility. “Panasas storage performance and manageability were the key reasons that the University of Leicester chose Panasas for ALICE. Benchmarking during the tender process demonstrated clearly that Panasas offered the best performance both on a per-node basis and also without degradation of the aggregate performance with access from multiple nodes.”

Prior to ALICE, Leicester’s researchers utilized custom HPC clusters scattered throughout the campus. The new system had to scale out performance on a single system and be both reliable and easy to use, particularly for academics who do not have expertise in managing HPC clusters. By consolidating its high performance storage and compute resources into a centralized private cloud, the university avoided the cost of over-provisioning individual HPC clusters to meet the demands of peak workloads. The private cloud allows researchers to test new ideas with smaller problem sizes, as well as perform a small number of large runs that leverage all 2,048 of ALICE’s processing cores. With Panasas, researchers are achieving significantly higher performance for computationally intensive projects including physics, engineering, chemistry and astronomy – all within a single, global namespace.

“Panasas ActiveStor and the PanFS operating system are built to support compute-intensive workloads, while keeping management simple so people can focus on the research and not the system,” said Barbara Murphy, chief marketing officer of Panasas. “At the University of Leicester, economists model the world’s stock markets, geneticists analyze genome sequences, and astrophysicists model star formation. Panasas is pleased to be part of the ALICE supercomputing environment supporting these and other research endeavors.”

Panasas ActiveStor is a high performance storage system that brings plug-and-play simplicity to large-scale storage deployments while pushing aggregate performance to 150GB/s – the industry’s ultimate system throughput per gigabyte of storage. Panasas provides scalability, cost-effective performance, reliability, flexibility, and critical ease-of-use needed to support expansion within a limited project budget. With features like user quotas and per-user charge back, Panasas ActiveStor is optimized for a shared cloud environment.

About Panasas

Panasas, Inc., the leader in high-performance parallel storage for technical computing applications and big data workloads, enables customers to rapidly solve complex computing problems, speed innovation and accelerate new product introduction. All Panasas storage products leverage the patented PanFS™ storage operating system to deliver superior performance, data protection, scalability and manageability. Panasas systems are optimized for demanding storage environments in the energy, government, finance, manufacturing, bioscience and higher education industries. For more information, visit www.panasas.com.