EMC 2011 Apr 11 Isilon hardware and software announcement

In Dell EMC, Isilon, S200, X200 by AdministratorLeave a Comment

EMC releases new Isilon hardware and software

EMC® recently announced new Isilon software and two new versions of Isilon hardware the S200 and X200.

Isilon and big data

EMC Isilon is a scale out NAS solution, which provides up to 14 PB of file storage within one file system, using a cluster of storage nodes, and maintaining a globally coherent cache.  OneFS is their file operating system and it supports both file and block storage access.  Currently, OneFS can support a cluster of up to 144 nodes that interoperate to create a single, multi-tier file system.

The Isilon team discussed their perspective on “big data”.  It’s more than pure data analytics and encompasses 4 key activities: aggregating data from many sources; storing that data effectively; leveraging that data; and creating new value from that data.

  • Media and entertainment companies can collect content from film, animation, or special effects houses into one big file system where content can be edited, rendered, and derivative works generated ultimately creating new media products.
  • Life sciences companies can aggregate data from sequencers or research, storing potentially PBs of data that can be searched and analyzed for genomic mutations or new interactions, which is then used to focus more research and/or create new drugs.

New Isilon hardware

EMC’s has introduced new hardware for their high performance and high capacity Isilon systems. Namely, the new high-performance, S200 system and the new high capacity, X200 system.  Isilon also has a nearline (archive) hardware (NL series) appliance but this was not upgraded at this time

Specifically the new hardware platforms includes the:

  • S200 platform – optimized for IOPS performance and as such, offers up to 10K-IOPS per node or 600MB/sec in a 2U sized package, ~2X more IOPS and ~1.9X more throughput than the previous generation S node.  The S200-SAS uses 2.5” SAS drives with a small amount of SSDs for meta-data. The S200-SSD uses SSD only drives for the highest performance.  The S200 supports 2-Intel Westmere processors, 96GB of DRAM, and has a maximum of 14TB of capacity per node at roughly the same price as the old S-series node.
  • X200 platform – optimized for capacity with concurrent streaming performance and as such, offers  ~2K-IOPS per node or 250MB/sec in a 2U sized package, ~7% more IOPS and ~19% more throughput than the previous generation X node.  The X200 uses 3.5” SATA-2 drives for capacity and supports 1-Intel Nehalem processor, 48GB of DRAM, and has a maximum of 24TB of capacity per node at roughly the same price as the old X-series node.

With the addition of the all SSD S200 node, Isilon now supports four storage tiers, i.e., tier 0 to tier 3 (nearline) storage.  OneFS®, Isilon’s file operating system supports automated, transparent, policy-driven data migration across all tiers of the storage cluster.

New Isilon software

EMC also released new versions of Isilon’s OneFS, SyncIQ™ and InsightIQ software products:

  • OneFS 6.5 now supports native CIFS (both SMB1 and SMB2), NFS 4.0, Kerberizied NFSv3 support and enhanced enterprise authentication.  Native CIFS is probably the most interesting here as now users can have their Windows user home directories on Isilon as well as their big data workloads, all under the same single file system.
  • SyncIQ 3.0 now supports full integration with SnapshotIQ™, supports smaller data mirroring, multi-thread processing, and multi-node replication increasing data mirror performance by 2 to 3X.
  • InsightIQ 1.5 now provides even better reporting on capacity as well as more scaleable performance reporting.

These software products operate in conjunction with SmartPools, SmartConnect, SmartQuotas and SnapshotIQ to provide automated policy based storage tiering and data protection for customer unstructured (file) data.

Announcement significance

EMC continues to upgrade their storage platforms with the latest Intel and drive hardware. With each new generation providing significant increases in performance, throughput while lowering cost in the process.  The addition of CIFS and SSD only storage seem to attempts to become a one-stop, all-encompassing NAS solution for customer data.  How this fits with the newly introduced VNX unified storage family is another question.

In addition, the need for big data solutions seems to be getting hotter as institutions look to gain increasing value from the mass of data they generate every business day.  As such, EMC believes Isilon is unique in that it provides both enterprise class capabilities and a scale out NAS storage platform in the same system.  NetApp, HP, IBM and others may wish to argue this advantage, but it’s hard to argue with Isilon’s success, as they currently have over 1700 customers today.


Silverton Consulting, Inc. is a Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting services company, based in the USA offering products and services to the data storage community.


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