PowerScale OneFS 9.5

Dell PowerScale is already powering up the new year with the launch of the innovative OneFS 9.5 release, which shipped today (24th January 2023).

With data integrity and protection being top of mind in this era of unprecedented corporate cyber threats, OneFS 9.5 brings an array of new security features and functionality to keep your unstructured data and workloads more secure than ever, as well as delivering significant performance gains on the PowerScale nodes – such as up to 55% higher performance on all-flash F600 and F900 nodes as compared with the previous OneFS release.[3]

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OneFS and hardware security features

New PowerScale OneFS 9.5 security enhancements include those that help address US Federal and DoD mandates, such as FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria, and DISA STIGs – in addition to general enterprise data security requirements. Multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO) support, data encryption in-flight and at rest, TLS 1.2, USGv6R1 IPv6 support, SED Master Key rekey, plus a new host-based firewall are all part of OneFS 9.5.

15TB and 30TB self-encrypting (SED) SSDs now enable PowerScale platforms running OneFS 9.5 to scale up to 186 PB of encrypted raw capacity per cluster – all within a single volume and filesystem, and before any additional compression and deduplication benefit.

Delivering federal-grade security to protect data under a zero trust model 

Security-wise, the United States Government has stringent requirements for infrastructure providers such as Dell Technologies, requiring vendors to certify that products comply with requirements such as USGv6, STIGs, DoDIN APL, and so on. Activating the OneFS 9.5 cluster hardening option implements a default maximum security configuration with AES and SHA cryptography, which automatically renders a cluster FIPS 140-2 compliant.

OneFS 9.5 introduces SAML-based single sign-on (SSO) from both the command line and WebUI using a redesigned login screen. OneFS SSO is compatible with identity providers (IDPs) such as Active Directory Federation Services, and is also multi-tenant aware, allowing independent configuration for each of a cluster’s Access Zones.

Federal APL requirements mandate that a system must validate all certificates in a chain up to a trusted CA root certificate. To address this, OneFS 9.5 introduces a common Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) library to issue, maintain, and revoke public key certificates. These certificates provide digital signature and encryption capabilities, using public key cryptography to provide identification and authentication, data integrity, and confidentiality. This PKI library is used by all OneFS components that need PKI certificate verification support, such as SecureSMTP, ensuring that they all meet Federal PKI requirements.

This new OneFS 9.5 PKI and certificate authority infrastructure enables multi-factor authentication, allowing users to swipe a CAC or PIV smartcard containing their login credentials to gain access to a cluster, rather than manually entering username and password information. Additional account policy restrictions in OneFS 9.5 automatically disable inactive accounts, provide concurrent administrative session limits, and implement a delay after a failed login.

As part of FIPS 140-2 compliance, OneFS 9.5 introduces a new key manager, providing a secure central repository for secrets such as machine passwords, Kerberos keytabs, and other credentials, with the option of using MCF (modular crypt format) with SHA256 or SHA512 hash types. OneFS protocols and services may be configured to support FIPS 140-2 data-in-flight encryption compliance, while SED clusters and the new Master Key re-key capability provide FIPS 140-2 data-at-rest encryption. Plus, any unused or non-compliant services are easily disabled.

On the network side, the Federal APL has several IPv6 (USGv6) requirements that are focused on allowing granular control of individual components of a cluster’s IPv6 stack, such as duplicate address detection (DAD) and link local IP control. Satisfying both STIG and APL requirements, the new OneFS 9.5 front-end firewall allows security admins to restrict the management interface to specified subnet and implement port blocking and packet filtering rules from the cluster’s command line or WebUI, in accordance with federal or corporate security policy.

Improving performance for the most demanding workloads

OneFS 9.5 unlocks dramatic performance gains, particularly for the all-flash NVMe platforms, where the PowerScale F900 can now support line-rate streaming reads. SmartCache enhancements allow OneFS 9.5 to deliver streaming read performance gains of up to 55% on the F-series nodes, F600 and F9003, delivering benefit to media and entertainment workloads, plus AI, machine learning, deep learning, and more.

Enhancements to SmartPools in OneFS 9.5 introduce configurable transfer limits. These limits include maximum capacity thresholds, expressed as a percentage, above which SmartPools will not attempt to move files to a particular tier, boosting both reliability and tiering performance.

Granular cluster performance control is enabled with the debut of PowerScale SmartQoS, which allows admins to configure limits on the maximum number of protocol operations that NFS, S3, SMB, or mixed protocol workloads can consume.

Enhancing enterprise-grade supportability and serviceability

OneFS 9.5 enables SupportAssist, Dell’s next generation remote connectivity system for transmitting events, logs, and telemetry from a PowerScale cluster to Dell Support. SupportAssist provides a full replacement for ESRS, as well as enabling Dell Support to perform remote diagnosis and remediation of cluster issues.

Upgrading to OneFS 9.5 

The new OneFS 9.5 code is available on the Dell Technologies Support site, as both an upgrade and reimage file, allowing both installation and upgrade of this new release.

We’ll be taking a deeper look at the new  OneFS 9.5 features and functionality in additional blog articles over the course of the next few weeks.

[1] Based on Dell analysis, August 2021.

[2] Based on Dell analysis comparing cybersecurity software capabilities offered for Dell PowerScale vs. competitive products, September 2022.

[3] Based on Dell internal testing, January 2023. Actual results will vary.

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