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Isilon Taps the Accelerator

Trying to get the jump on Network Appliance's upcoming clustered NAS, Isilon today rolled out a performance accelerator and a capacity expansion node for its IQ storage platform. (See Isilon Distributes New Clusters.)

Isilon was among the early vendors to sell distributed file systems that cater to industries demanding high throughput, such as digital broadcasting and oil and gas exploration. (See Energy Firms Clamor for Clusters, Storage Shapes Up for Multimedia, and Next-Gen File Systems.) Another early player in the field, Spinnaker, was gobbled up by NetApp in late 2003, and NetApp expects to ship an operating system built on that technology later this year. (See NetApp Nudges Closer to New OS and NetApp Annexes Spinnaker.)

Isilon, which could feel the brunt once NetApp fully integrates its Spinnaker software, moved to strengthen its product line with the Isilon IQ Accelerator and the EX 6000. The IQ Accelerator is a controller without disk, aimed at speeding performance if a customer doesn't want to add capacity. The EX 6000 is for shops that want to go the other way; they can add 6 Tbytes per expansion node without adding processing power.

Isilon also upgraded its OneFS distributed file system, which runs on all of its storage systems. OneFS adjusts the size of the cluster and file system as customers add nodes, and supports up to 528 Tbytes of capacity and 7 Gbytes per second of performance. That's up from 256 Tbytes and 3 Gbytes/s from the previous OneFS version.

"Customers are always pushing us to go larger and larger," says Isilon CTO Sujal Patel. "And faster."

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