New Server Vendor Looks to Speed Up Data Flow

Panta Systems' new platform aims to solve bottlenecks at the interconnect level.

Panta Systems is looking to make its mark in the competitive enterprise x86 server space with systems designed to quickly move massive amounts of data.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company is offering a new server platform powered by Advanced Micro Devices Opteron processors that uses an integrated InfiniBand I/O fabric that speeds up data processing and that can easily scale to meet workload demands.

"What we have is a very flexible environment and very high I/O bandwidth," Bob Sawyer, director of product marketing at Panta, said in an interview. Over the years, processing power and form factors have advanced rapidly, but bandwidth hasnt, which has created a bottleneck as enterprise applications have grown increasingly bandwidth hungry, he said.

/zimages/5/28571.gifDell introduces Opteron-based servers. Click here to read more.

Panta on Oct. 19 rolled out its Pantamatrix system, an x86 platform that company officials say exceeds the data handling capabilities of the most expensive proprietary systems.

"The goal is not to just add another blade server to the market, but to displace RISC and maybe the mainframe," said Tung Nguyen, Panta founder and chief technology officer.

Officials said Oct. 25 that an eight-node Pantamatrix with its native InfiniBand fabric hit a milestone with what they said was a record-setting TPC-H One Terabyte benchmark running Oracle Database 10g Release 2 and with Oracles Real Application Clusters with Linux. The mark set the standard for both speed and price/performance, they said.

The benchmark plays into Pantas goal of improving data flow and hardware utilization rates while keeping the technology within a reasonable price range.

Pantas platform, which is available now starting at $50,000, offers modules that can be aggregated into a system, enabling users to scale out their environments. An 8U (14-inch-high) enclosure can hold up to eight compute modules and two I/O modules. Each compute module can hold up to four dual-core Opteron processors. The system takes advantage of such technologies as InfiniBand, PCI-Express and HyperTransport, and offers an air-cooled design that allows for greater density, said Scott Rose, vice president of product management and marketing.

"You get the density of [a Rackable Systems environment], but you also get the I/O benefits of a Superdome [high-end server from Hewlett-Packard]," Rose said.

Panta also offers a storage module with high-performance storage agent software. The modules have 3TB of Raid-5 capacity in a 3U (5.25-inch) enclosure with sustained speeds of 800MB-per-second I/O rates.

In addition, the Pantamatrix System Manager software offers automated discovery of modules, and when servers are restarted, the software will automatically use spare compute modules with the original I/O configuration. There also is the instant cloning of systems for quick provisioning and interfaces so that it can be integrated with existing management infrastructures from other vendors.

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