Isilon Storage (Still) Supports “Block Headed” IT

By July 26, 2011EMC, Isilon, Storage

Call me crazy, but imagine this: a high performance, highly available storage system that uses off-the-shelf components and no RAID. And add to that ease of use and the ability to scale to petabytes in minutes. On top of that, throw in some features like snapshots, site-to-site replication, and intelligent auto-tiering. Seeing it yet?

The picture I’m painting is a system that has NetApp throwing stones and EMC wondering what’s next for Celerra, now that it has spent $2.25 billion on keeping it out of NetApp’s hands. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am thoroughly enamored with our friends at Isilon:)

Okay, so I asked you to imagine a highly available system without RAID—yet, not without data protection. Isilon’s scale-out architecture distributes incoming writes across nodes mirroring what they deem small files (less than 128KB) and striping files 128KB and larger in 16KB chunks across each node in the grid with parity.

Here is where it gets interesting, though: Protection can be set on a block and node protection basis, so you can define how many drives or nodes you want to be able to survive losing. When you lose a drive or a node, the grid rebuilds from parity across free space on the remaining nodes.

But that’s only the first reason for my enamoredness (yep, it’s a word) …

I’m a dyed-in-the wool “Block Head,” and I know Isilon is a NAS platform, but they really got my attention with the OneFS OS. They handle all the major protocols: NFSv2, v3, and v4, pnfs, FTP, HTTP, and CIFS/SMB. Authentication support for LDAP, NIS, Active Directory and local users and groups are all supported. For backup: NDMP is supported, directly to tape through a backup accelerator node or across the front-end Ethernet via 3-Way NDMP.

For us “Block Heads,” Isilon supports iSCSI—after all, a LUN is just a file, right?


144 Node Isilon Cluster

Photo Credit: Paul Stevenson