Isilon Claims Massive Scalability in New Cluster Nodes

Isilon offers the first storage arrays to scale to 1.6 petabytes in a single file system and single volume.

Enterprise storage vendor Isilon Systems on July 23 launched two new very-high-density cluster storage systems that the company claims achieve scalability levels 100 times those of traditional SAN and NAS systems.

Isilons IQ 9000 and EX 9000 products, combined with the latest version of the Seattle-based companys OneFS operating system (Version 4.7), feature high-performance data access, modular scalability and ease of administration. They are the first storage arrays to scale up to 1.6 petabytes of capacity in a single file system and single volume, Isilon Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Brett Goodwin told eWEEK.

Isilons high-end clustered storage is designed for extremely heavy I/O activity and large linear file transfers, such as video and audio streaming, oil and gas exploration applications, and scientific research.

Isilon also announced that Comcast Entertainment Group, Dailymotion (the YouTube of Europe), Kodak Gallery and PhotoBox are some of its customers that are early adopters of the IQ 9000 and EX 9000.

The Isilon IQ 9000 platform node and Isilon EX 9000 platform extension node each contain 12 Seagate 750GB SATA-II disk drives, providing 9TB of capacity in a 2U (3.5-inch) form factor.

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The IQ 9000 provides linear scaling of both capacity and performance with the addition of each modular, 2U node. The EX 9000, when paired with the Isilon IQ 9000, provides scaling of capacity independent of performance to achieve unmatched value for storing and accessing large and rapidly growing archives of unstructured data and digital content, the company said.

"Clustered storage, following the rise and broad adoption of the clustered computing paradigm, is a hot topic," Goodwin said. "With the IQ 9000 and EX 9000, Isilon offers a single pool of storage that is 100 times more scalable than traditional storage systems, providing unprecedented economies of scale ... to enable dramatic advancements in data access, collaboration and sharing that are necessary for the near-line archive and Web 2.0 application markets."

Isilon also provides a package of proprietary software applications that include SnapshotIQ, SmartConnect, SmartQuotas, MigrationIQ and SyncIQ that run on OneFS, Goodwin said.

Clustered storage—of which Isilon is one of the leading examples—is maturing and crossing over from highly technical computing applications to more mainstream applications in the core of the data center, analyst Steve Norall of the Taneja Group told eWEEK.

"As that transformation occurs, Isilon will increasingly run up against Network Appliance and EMC. Both NetApp (speaking of their FAS line) and EMC are mature and have large set of value-added software that users crave and desire (snapshots, thin provisioning, clones, quotas, compliance functions, etc.)," Norall said.

Clustered storage has a superior architecture for sequential large-block I/O applications over NetApp and EMC main filers, Norall said.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read about Data Domains claim to offer the "industrys most scalable" inline storage controller.

"With this announcement and Isilons previous announcement of snapshots, they are closing the feature/function gap between traditional NAS incumbents, but on a superior architecture (e.g. clustered). Capabilities like snaps and quotas are critical and a prerequisite for running in the core data center," he said.

"Specifically, their SmartQuotas implementation is, in my opinion, more flexible and powerful than traditional NetApp qTrees (what NetApp calls their quotas)," Norall said. "Isilon can do directory-level quotas throughout the namespace. So in one sense, Isilon has leapfrogged NetApp on this feature."

The Isilon IQ 9000 and EX 9000 arrays are available now. For pricing information, go here. The software package, including SmartQuotas, is priced at $1,950 per node, Goodwin said.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...