November 03, 2006
Isilon Ahead by A Nose
By Susan Dietz
Isilon Systems today announced the release of a single file system that unifies and provides instant and ubiquitous access to digital content and unstructured data, the OneFS4.5. This is the next-generation Isilon IQ clustered storage software system, and can power all of Isilon’s family of clustered storage software systems, including the Isilon IQ 1920, 3000, 6000, Accelerator, and EX 6000. With the release of its OneFS 4.5 operating system software, Isilon ushers a larger capacity of data management that will deliver one petabyte of capacity and 10 gigabytes per second of performance in a single file system and single volume. This system is designed to eliminate the cost and complexity barriers of traditional storage architectures. Among its features are the ability to scale to one petabyte of capacity, archive up to 10 gigabytes per second, and a data protection system wherein customers can withstand the loss of three or four simultaneous disks or nodes within very large clusters while at the same time maintaining 100 percent availability of all of the data. The data protection system is called N+3 and N+4. The stated goal of the new OneFS 4.5 system is to let enterprises bring their huge data archives online, thereby making them as accessible as any other critical business information.
Once upon a time, computer storage used to be measured by megabytes. Isilon’s leap into the forefront of the storage arena seems to be generating quite a buzz with its introduction of mega storage, and has perhaps contributed to Isilon’s recent application for an IPO. In conjunction with other recent announcements, these products may just be what launch Isilon into the big leagues. With recent legislation concerning electronic discovery laws, storage systems and quick and easy access to data is suddenly much more important to a company’s success. Legal fees are bad enough, but paying those fees for every hour that the legal team is pawing through year’s worth of data could conceivably break some companies. So while storage may not be glamorous, it is vitally important. Isilon’s new system may not rock the entire market, but it does raise the bar significantly. The ability of the system to protect data from spontaneous loss is likely to be one of the more important selling points for the customers.
Gone are the dusty rooms full of file cabinets that the unlucky clerk was relegated to on a semi-regular basis. The area of data storage has come into its own and is no longer an afterthought when a company sets up or renovates its IT department. Data storage is now just as if not more important than processor speeds and desktop applications. Now, if companies can start keeping all of their data and not just the most current at their fingertips, it will most likely positively affect business models across the board from sales and customer service to accounting to electronic discovery. A customer’s entire history could be accessible to anyone in the company at any time, thus most likely increasing sales and ensuring the customer has a positive experience regardless of which person within the company is their contact.