Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Isilon Snaps Its Clusters

Isilon's making clustered storage a bigger part of NAS instead of a specialty for those who work with large-file applications.

Vendors have come at this from different directins. Enterprise NAS leaders Network Appliance and EMC have added support for clustered files systems, NetApp through integration of software it acquired from Spinnaker, and EMC through a partnership with Ibrix. (See Ibrix Joins EMC Select and NetApp's GX Targets HPC.)

Exanet is building continuous data protection (CDP) into its clustered file system. (See Exanet Dips Toe in CDP Pool.) And today Isilon beefed up its software capabilities for its Isilon IQ clustered storage systems. (See Isilon Updates Software.) Enhancements include:

  • SnapshotIQ, which builds snapshot capability into the file system, supports an unlimited number of snapshots per cluster and 1,024 per directory. Customers can schedule snapshots to back up an entire cluster, directory, or sub-directory.
  • SmartConnect provides load balancing across a cluster, and provides failover for NFS, but not for CIFS protocol clusters, at least not yet. SmartConnect lets admins create load-balancing policies based on throughput, CPU utilization, and client connection count, and carve quality of service zones within clusters. The zones let admins guarantee bandwidth for specific applications.
  • OneFS 4.5, the latest version of Isilon's file system, now supports 1 PByte of capacity in a single file system and volume. It also supports N+3 and N+4 data protection, which means systems can withstand the loss of three or four disks or nodes simultaneously. Isilon previously allowed the loss of one or two nodes.

Offering these kinds of data protection is a necessity for clustered file systems to move beyond vertical markets where they've made most of their headway -- broadcasting, life sciences, gas exploration, and Internet firms. This is proving a tougher challenge than expected, though. For instance, NetApp left out many data protection features from its core operating system in the first cut of Data OnTap GX based on the Spinnaker technology. And the Ibrix software that EMC offers for clusters still lacks generally available snapshot support, although it has it it available in beta.

"These applications are tough to build on clustered storage," Isilon founder and CTO Sujal Patel says. But NAS customers agree these capabilities are necessary to make clustered file systems mainstream.

  • 1