Monday, May 16, 2011

EMCWorld: Part2 - Isilon Builds on Last Months Announcements with Support for 3TB Drives and a 15PB FileSystem

In April Isilon announced a major refresh their scale-out NAS architecture. They doubled their IOP number for a maximum cluster size of 144 nodes to 1.4M IOPs and doubled of their maximum throughput to 85GB/s. It is not just the power of Intel (Westmere/Nahalem upgrades) that has driven this performance increase but also the intelligent use of SSD’s. By supporting HDD’s and SSD’s in the same enclosure and by placing the file metadata on SSD, performance gets a significant boost. The IOP number has not yet been submitted to SpecFS so the performance number is still “unofficial”.

With list pricing starting at $57,569 ($4.11/GB) for the S200 the value metric is not the traditional capacity view but $/IOP and $/MBs i.e. $6/IOP and $97/MBs respectively for the S200. With a starting price of $27,450/Node the X200 comes in at nearly $13/IOP and $110/MBs but has an attractive starting price of $1.14$/GB, even more attractive when their 80% utilization claim is factored in.

The latest announcement last week at EMCWorld increased the maximum supported single file system, single volume to 15PB plus support for 3TB HDD’s on their capacity platform, the NL-108. Worth noting that this impressive scalability is only for the NL108 configured with 3TB drives. In comparison the higher performance X200 scalability tops out at 5.2PB.

Basic feature summary:

Feature                                                S200                                               X200

  • Form Factor                                 2U                                                 2U
  • Maximum Drives                         24                                                 12
  • Drive Types                                  2.5” SAS, SSD                             3.5” SATA, SSD
  • Maximum Node Capacity       14TB                                            24TB
  • Max Memory                               96GB                                            48GB
  • Global Coherent Cache           14TB                                             7TB
  • Max Cluster Size                        144                                               144
  • Protocols                                     NFS, CIFS, FTP, HTTP, iSCSI
                                       (NFS 4.0, Native CIFS and Kerberized NFSv3 supported)
  • Maximum IO/s                        1,414,944 IO/s                             309,312 IO/s
  • Maximum Throughput             84,960 MB/s                               35,712 MB/s
  • List Price Starting at;              $57,569/node                               $27,450/node
It is no secret that EMC is pushing the notion of Big Data and positioning Isilon and Atmos as the foundational technologies to deliver the needed local and cloud based big data storage. EMC is in the process of divorcing the notion of big data from the traditional thinking that it is restricted to scientific HPC to include all large unstructured data sets including those increasingly found in enterprise environments.
Front and center in Isilon’s promotional pitches are the advantages of scale-out namely, scalability, efficiency, ease of use and availability and are positioning themselves as the scale-out architecture that is integrated with capabilities that elevate it to enterprise class. This they believe serves them well in both their traditional space as well positioning them to penetrate the commercial HPC, Big Data space.

Expect to see a strong push by Isilon to broaden their enterprise data center footprint, the space that has so far been dominated by NetApp.

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