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EMC's Isilon launches NAS for big data applications

Next-generation OS versions offer boost to performance, company says

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EMC's Isilon subsidiary announced new network-attached storage (NAS) hardware and software aimed at becoming the infrastructure for business intelligence through big data applications.

Isilon touted two new clustered NAS arrays, the S200 and X200. The arrays are able to use a combination of serial ATA (SATA), serial SCSI (SAS) or solid-state drives (SSDs) in a tiered configuration, affording varying degrees of performance. The arrays use a single name space under which petabytes of data can be stored.

Isilon's technology requires a minimum of three 2U (3.5-inch high) nodes to create a cluster; once a cluster has been created, nodes can be added one at a time.

Isilon also announced version 6.5 of its OneFS operating system, which it said delivers improved function and performance for mission-critical data centre operations. The company also announced it has fully integrated its SyncIQ 3.0 software with SnapshotIQ, offering data replication and recovery services under a single user interface.

Jonathan Young, senior vice-president of operations for Ancestry.com, said his company witnessed a two to three times performance improvement when it tested Isilon's new versions of OneFS and SyncIQ. It cited the CIFS enhancements in OneFS for the improvements.

"SyncIQ's use of snapshots significantly improved both the application's efficiency and its performance," he said.

Isilon's new S200 array is capable of achieving 1.4 million Network File System (NFS) operations per second and 85GB/sec of aggregate throughput. The array is aimed at accelerating access to large, indexed data stores for design and simulation, digital media, financial analysis and high performance computing workflows.

The Isilon X200 is powered by Intel's Xeon 5600 Quad Core processors with SSDs from STEC and Hitachi 2.5-in, 10,000rpm SAS drives. It also has dual gigabit Ethernet and 10 gigabit Ethernet ports on the front end and dual InfiniBand ports on the back-end. Each 2U (3.5-in high) appliance has up to 14.4TB of capacity and 512MB of RAM.

Isilon claims nodes can be added to a cluster in about 60 seconds, scaling up to 2.1TB of disk capacity (144 nodes) under a single file name. The S200 and X200 arrays support Microsoft Windows, Linux, UNIX and Apple OS X clients.

The new X200 array boasts about 30GB/sec of aggregate throughput and can scale from a single node with up to 24TB per node or 3.4PB of capacity in a 144-node cluster. The box is aimed at big data workflows in cloud computing, life sciences, Internet services and large-scale virtualised environments.

The new generations of the X200 and S200 are fully compatible with the previous generations, so they can be seamlessly integrated into existing clusters on a node-by-node basis.

The two arrays can scale in capacity and performance separately by adding either capacity extension nodes or performance extension nodes.

For example, in an X-Series cluster, you can add about 400MB/sec of single-stream or 700MB/sec concurrent throughput with each extension node.

Nick Bali, senior software engineer with Sony Imageworks, said his company has already tested the S200 array for its video rendering environment and achieved over 100,000 simultaneous metadata operations, "a huge improvement over previous generations".

"The performance increase is so dramatic, we've already placed an order for these new Isilon nodes, adding to the primary and archive Isilon clusters we already have in production," he said.

The Isilon S200 and X200 are both immediately available. The S200 begins at a list price of $57,569 (£35,220) per node and the X200 begins at a list price of $27,450 per node. Isilon's OneFS 6.5 and SyncIQ 3.0 are also both immediately available and free for Isilon customers with an existing support contract. OneFS 6.5 is standard with any S200 or X200 purchase, while SyncIQ has a list price of $4,950 per node.



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