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USGS Deploys Isilon

SEATTLE -- Isilon Systems (Nasdaq: ISLN - News), the leader in clustered storage, today announced that the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has selected Isilon's IQ clustered storage system as the primary repository for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) data. HiRISE, currently orbiting Mars onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), is an advanced digital imaging project led by the University of Arizona. HiRISE is focused on collecting groundbreaking, high-resolution images of Mars' terrain to deepen scientists' understanding of the planet's evolution, and assist in planning future Mars missions and landings. With Isilon IQ, the USGS Astrogeology Research Program is able to efficiently and cost-effectively consolidate all its HiRISE images -- with file sizes often exceeding 2 GB -- into one, single global namespace and file system, delivering unmatched scaling of capacity and performance to meet the rapidly growing storage demands of their massive digital imaging data sets.

"With the advances in photographic telescopes and aerial cameras, the digital images we are able to capture with HiRISE are unique in their incredibly high resolution and complexity, thereby creating visual depictions of Mars much greater in detail -- and file size -- than ever before," said Chris Bradshaw, Senior Engineer, USGS Astrogeology Research Program. "We found that only Isilon clustered storage was capable of cost-effectively and efficiently storing this type of digital imaging data, as it delivers the unparalleled scalability of capacity and performance we require to store, process and analyze our valuable imagery of Mars and its terrain."

HiRISE is collecting thousands of images of Mars' surface in unprecedented detail -- images can resolve objects as small as one square meter -- enabling scientists, engineers, and cartographers to investigate Mars' surface with much greater accuracy and confidence than in the past. HiRISE itself contains 14 separate "cameras" behind a 50 cm aperture telescope, combining to create a 1200 megapixel black-and-white camera and a 240 megapixel color camera, which capture very high resolution imaging data of Mars. These data is transmitted from the MRO to the University of Arizona's Lunar Planetary Lab, where it is processed to produce clear visual imagery of Mars' terrain, and then sent to the USGS Astrogeology Research Program facility in Flagstaff, AZ, where it is stored directly on Isilon IQ clustered storage. The latest HiRISE images of Mars are viewable online at

By consolidating all the HiRISE imagery onto Isilon IQ, with its OneFS® operating system software, the USGS Astrogeology Research team is able to store the processed imagery, as well as the original raw data, in one, single global namespace and unified resource, delivering immediate, around-the-clock data access to its researchers and scientists. Isilon IQ's unique clustered architecture and single file system provides unparalleled scalability of both performance and capacity -- additional nodes can be joined to an existing cluster within minutes -- providing USGS's Astrogeology Research team with the ability to rapidly increase their image library without the capacity constraints or time-consuming management issues associated with traditional storage. Isilon's SnapshotIQ(TM) software enables USGS to make an unlimited number of point-in-time copies of changes to the single unified file system, providing an added level of data protection as they process, analyze, and modify the new image additions to the rapidly growing data set. Additionally, Isilon IQ works seamlessly with both USGS's Windows and Unix servers, providing complete transparency in file access and movement and further reducing costs and time limitations, thereby allowing researchers to focus their valuable time on science and not storage management.

"Planetary exploration, visualization and research -- both that of Earth and of our solar system -- is steadily moving toward an all-digital workflow based on advancements in ultra high resolution digital imaging technology," said Brett Goodwin, VP of Marketing & Business Development, Isilon Systems. "This unprecedented shift is creating massive quantities of new digital imaging content which carries with it the challenges of extremely large file sizes, rapid and unexpected data growth, and increased management complexity. Isilon IQ was designed specifically for digital content and provides the scalability, performance and ease of use required to maximize this unique category of data and create breakthroughs on our own planet and beyond."

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