Isilon Unveils Entry-Level Clustered Storage For Digital Content


Data on the IQ 200, which starts out with as few as three nodes and can be scaled to up to 48 Tbytes, is striped across the hard drives and the nodes and is treated as if it's sitting on one big hard drive, said Tom Pettigrew, vice president of global sales partners at the Seattle-based company.

The nodes are optimized for unstructured data such as digital content, which is one of the fastest-growing parts of the storage industry, Pettigrew said. He said that ESG, a Milford, Mass.-based analyst firm, estimated that digital content accounted for 58 percent of new data in 2006, with a growth rate of more than 90 percent per year.

Isilon, which had its IPO last month, offers several clustered storage products, some of which scale to 1.0 Petabyte of capacity. All of the models, including the IQ 200, use the same OneFS operating system and offer the same value-added services, including data snapshots, intelligent load balancing and failover, and replication between clusters, Pettigrew said.

The IQ 200 addresses a new market for Isilon, Pettigrew added. "We've done larger enterprises," he said. "But we realize that smaller companies have many of the same needs as enterprises. So our channel asked us to come out with a new lower-cost version."

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Pricing for the IQ 200 starts at less than $40,000 for a three-node cluster, compared with $80,000 to $85,000 for its enterprise-class IQ 1920, which features InfiniBand interconnect between the nodes. "With the new product, we can get into businesses we haven't had before," Pettigrew said.

To reach that market, Isilon is recruiting new channel partners to augment the 100 or so solution providers that already have signed with the company, Pettigrew said. Isilon's direct-sales force is incented to sell through channel partners. Those partners will have access to a new clustered storage certification that Isilon plans to launch this year, he said.

Rich Baldwin, president and CEO at Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider, said Isilon's expansion into more of an entry market is timely.

By taking out InfiniBand and replacing it with Gbit Ethernet in its new IQ 200, Isilon is creating new opportunities in a fast-growing space, according to Baldwin.

"Their philosophy on how they manage and grow storage is their claim to fame," he said. "There's a lot of opportunity for digital content. For instance, in the public sector, customers are looking at video capture at public facilities and keeping those videos for five years."

Isilon has been a good partner to the channel, Baldwin said. "One customer, MTV, insisted it go direct with Isilon," he said. "Isilon still gave us our agent and influencer fees."