Isilons Clustered NAS Solutions Aim at the Enterprise

Isilon Systems' new line of products offers greater scalability, capacity and throughput than the company's previous systems.

Isilon Systems, a provider of intelligent clustered storage systems, has introduced a new line of products with greater scalability, capacity and throughput than its previous systems.

The Isilon IQ 1920, 3000 and 4800 contain from 1.9TB to 4.8TB of self-contained storage per 3.5-inch node and can scale from four to 168TB of capacity in a single file system, said Sujal Patel, chief technology officer of the Seattle-based company.

The Isilon IQ series uses the 3.2 GHz Intel Xeon high-performance server processors with advanced Intel E7520 chipsets for its performance and advanced I/O capabilities, enabling it to support more than 150TB in a single file system and deliver more than 3GB per second from a single file system.

The lightning-fast speed the Isilon cluster offers is in large part due to using InfiniBand—a channel-based, switched fabric technology designed to support massive node-to-node communications between servers—as the interconnect.

InfiniBand is primarily responsible for the system being able to scale easily and being able to allow for very large system file sizes, said Brad ONeill, senior analyst at Taneja Group of Hopkinton, Mass.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead more here about InfiniCon Systems Inc.s two additions to its InfinIO family of InfiniBand switches.

"If youre just using traditional interconnecting, like Gigabit Ethernet, youll hit some potential bottlenecks in terms of how many nodes you can have without getting performance degradation," he said.

"This way, you can create a clustered environment where you lay down a wide, fat highway between the nodes that removes the potential for bottlenecking."

The speed and scalability the Isilon IQ series offers is most appropriate for high-performance computing environments, ONeill said.

"You want to be able to ensure that there are no bottlenecks on the back-end storage, and you want to know that you can scale without any sort of interruption," he said.

The fact that the Isilon IQ series offers load balancing—referred to as SmartConnect by the company—using standard Gigabit Ethernet networking also is important, ONeill said.

"Say you are deploying a 500 Linux server high-performance environment. Even if youve got great interconnect speed, you could still end up with a bottleneck because one node is getting hammered," he said. "But if you can load balance, the entire cluster can support the load."

With the IQ series, Isilon also announced a new version of its OneFS distributed file system software that combines the file system, volume manager and RAID into one software layer.

The software helps ensure that all data is fully accessible even if the system experiences multiple hardware failures, Patel said.

This announcement positions Isilon to begin encroaching on Network Appliances hold on the enterprise NAS (network-attached storage) market, although Isilon has a long way to go to become a serious challenger, given NetApps market domination, ONeill said.

/zimages/3/28571.gifTo read more about NetApp rebranding its gFiler NAS head product line to emphasize storage virtualization, click here.

"Its clear from this announcement that they are very serious about moving into high-performance, high-scale enterprises," he said.

/zimages/3/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.