Isilon boosts performance, capacity

By Ann Silverthorn

—Isilon today launched two new products designed to enhance storage cluster performance and capacity—the IQ Accelerator and EX6000, respectively. The company also released a version upgrade of its OneFS file-system software, which powers all of Isilon's clustered storage products.

The Isilon IQ line of 2U storage systems includes the IQ1920, IQ3000, IQ4800, and IQ6000, with the numerical portion of the product name indicating the total amount of capacity in gigabytes. Each node has 12 disks, CPU, memory, front-end Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, and InfiniBand to connect the clusters. The IQ1920 and IQ3000 are performance-optimized, while the IQ4800 and IQ6000 are capacity-optimized.

The IQ Accelerator is designed for users who want to add performance when there's no need for additional capacity. The 1U IQ Accelerator includes the memory, CPU, and network interfaces that the IQ nodes have, but it does not contain storage capacity. It accelerates the cluster's performance by the same ratio as a normal node, at about one-third the cost.

The Isilon EX6000 is the opposite of the IQ Accelerator. It adds capacity and contains the same 12 disks that IQ nodes have, but it has no memory, CPU, or network interfaces. It connects to the IQ6000 (via Serial Attached SCSI, or SAS), creating a 4U, 12TB virtual unit.

The OneFS distributed file system is a software layer that combines a file system with RAID and volume management functions. It creates a unified file system cluster in which every node in the cluster is a peer and can be written to or read from with full visibility of the file system. OneFS creates an extensible file system, so a file is broken into pieces and striped across all the nodes in the cluster. The request to retrieve the file can be made to any node in the cluster.

New to OneFS is TrueScale technology, which enables linear and independent scaling of both performance and capacity. It supports more than 500TB of capacity and 7GBps of throughput from a single file system—twice that of the previous release. A single cluster can scale from three to 88 nodes.

Sujal Patel, Isilon founder and CTO, says customers can create a tiered storage structure by using faster products such as the IQ1920 for primary storage and then running Isilon's SyncIQ replication software to move data to the EX6000 cluster for backup. "The EX 6000 cluster can also be used for nearline archiving, deep archiving, and disaster recovery," says Patel.

Pricing ranges from $7,000 per TB for a full IQ6000 system to $12,000 per TB for the IQ1920 performance-oriented product. The EX6000 lists for $4,000 per TB.

This article was originally published on March 13, 2006