Isilon's Pitch: Scale To 3.45 Pbytes Or Get Free Storage


Isilon this week also introduced a NAS bundle that features 180 Tbytes of raw capacity and everything needed to build an InfiniBand cluster with a price of less than $1 per Gbyte.

Isilon is a manufacturer of scale-out NAS appliances that can be used to build file systems of up to 3.45 Petabytes using its OneFS operating system.

Putting that much capacity in a single file system drastically simplifies the management of large volumes of data storage, said Sam Grocott, senior director of product management at Isilon, Seattle.

Using NetApp FAS 6000 storage, a file system can be a maximum of 16 Tbytes, and customers will have to manage more than 62 file systems or volumes as the array scales up, Grocott said. EMC's Celerra can handle up to 3.45 Petabytes, but the data will be in more than 200 file systems or volumes at maximum capacity, he said.

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"You need a small army of storage administrators to manage 200 file systems," he said. "With Isilon, we have several examples of users managing more than a petabytes in a single file system with a single administrator."

Because of the high-scalability and high-capacity utilization of the Isilon platform, solution providers can go to customers and tell them that the cost of the storage over three years is lower than if a competitor gave the storage away for free, said Leonard Iventosch, vice president of global channels and OEM at Isilon.

"It's not in NetApp's best interest to offer storage for free," Iventosch said of the company where he worked until last year. "But when I was at NetApp, we saw server vendors offer free storage to sell their servers."

In addition to guaranteeing the scalability and utilization of its scale-out NAS appliance, Isilon this week also started offering a bundle including five of its IQ36NL appliances with a total of 180 Tbytes of raw capacity, along with two eight-port InfiniBand switches, 10 InfiniBand cables, and silver-level support, with a price of just less than $180,000, or less than $1 per Gbyte, Grocott said.

Rolf Strasheim, director of client solutions at Peak UpTime, a Tulsa, Okla.-based solution provider and Isilon partner, said the guarantee seems interesting in light of the current economic downturn.

While bragging about 80-plus-percent storage utilization may not turn many customer heads, any unique offer from a manufacturer is welcome as long as it drums up interest, Strasheim said.

However, Strasheim said, the guarantee does help partners highlight the key feature of Isilon's storage products—the ability to scale to up to 3.45 Petabytes in a single file system—to customers who may not have thought about that scalability before.

"This is an interesting way for them to communicate why it's better than the competition," he said.