Isilon Expands NAS Product Line

New portfolio now includes systems for high-performance apps, primary and secondary storage, and archiving

March 11, 2009

3 Min Read
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Isilon Systems is expanding its product line with systems that complement its approach to scale out NAS storage, adding the S-Series for transactional data and NL-Series for archiving to a faster version of its existing X-Series. All use the company OneFS operating system.

The IQ 5400S is designed for I/O intensive, transactional applications and uses 15,000 rpm SAS drives to provide higher performance. It used quad-core processors and 16 GB of memory per node. It can scale up to 96 modes in a cluster and deliver more than 1 million IOPS and more than 30 GB of aggregate throughput per second, the company says. "We can match Fibre Channel performance for 30 percent less cost," says Ram Appalaraju, vice president of technology and product marketing.

The NL Series is designed for secondary storage and uses SATA drives to lower the cost. The IQ 36NL can offer up to 36 TB in a 4U node and grow to 3.45 PB of capacity. The company claims it offers the best dollar-per-TB ratio of any scale-out NAS system on the market. The new addition to the X-Series, the IQ 36000X, doubles the number of Gigabit Ethernet ports to four and also can offer up to 36 TB in a 4U node.

The company also announced a partnership to make data reductions capabilities from Ocarina Networks available. Ocarina compresses and de-duplicates a wide variety of files. It will be available on all three systems but will mostly be used on NL archiving systems. The company says it also improved its data protection capabilities so a user can lose four nodes without losing any data. The IQ 5400S is listed at $49,999 per node, the IQ 36000X at $137,000 per node, and the IQ 36NL at $72,000 per node.

Appalaraju says the expanded product line will let the company go after new markets that it couldn't address before, including archives and digital libraries. "These products also will work well for internal clouds," he says. Isilon now has close to 1,000 customers, has no debt, and is cash-flow positive, he says.The move to offer different tiers of storage based on a single file system is a good way to expand market opportunities, says Noemi Greyzdorf, a research manager at IDC. The next step is to make it easy to move data from one system to another. "Nobody really has good auto-migration yet, but I would expect to start seeing it in the next 18 to 24 months," she says.

It is hard to compare performance and pricing between storage systems, she says, because performance is so dependent on the workload being tested and the configuration being used, while pricing varies so much because vendors are eager to cut deals to win new business. She says Isilon has made its market in the file-based storage market and is creating new opportunities with its expanded product line.

"Last year was the first one in which file-based capacity shipped outpaced block-based capacity by a small margin. We expect file-based capacity to account for 70 percent by 2012, and Isilon's systems are well suited to take advantage of that trend," she says.InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent report on disaster recovery planning. Download the report here (registration required).

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