2009 – Year in Review

2009 was a great year for Isilon product development – even better than I expected! We entered the year with a single product family (the X-Series) and OneFS 5.0 (the 5th generation of our Scale-Out operating system.)

In Q1 we introduced two entirely new product families and a total of four new hardware platforms. The 5400S is now our flagship performance product, as is the S-Series our flagship performance family. Moving squarely into the transactional/random I/O oriented space is huge for a company which had been built originally to serve sequential large block I/O workloads. It is a testimony to how far our platform and customer base has matured. We even published SpecSFS 2008 results!

The 36NL was the first of our high-density nodes targeted at the near-line archive space; customers were clamoring for bigger, so we gave it to them. They also wanted it fast, so we made an x-Series version of the product – the 36000x. (What surprised all of us is just how fast the NL-Series is – speaks to the power of symmetric clustered storage!)

Finally, the Backup Accelerator allowed us to remove yet another item from our competitors’ kill sheets and address a product limitation – but in typical Isilon fashion, we did it with a bang and an innovative product. This project (internally known as BADASS) can scream out an impressive 1.8 TB/hour concurrently to four LT04 tape devices.

In Q2 we introduced a new version of OneFS (5.5) with a host of enterprise features:

  • Anti-Virus Support – support for ICAP-based scanning with McAfee, Trend Micro, and Symantec.
  • Native Windows Authentication – more scalable, better interoperability.
  • NFSv3 Clustered Locking – still the only Scale-Out vendor to have correct NFSv3 locking semantics.
  • +2:1 FlexProtect Support – more improvements to our amazing utilization story.
  • Scalable Statistics Engine – we completely revamped our underlying statistics engine and SNMP implementation
  • SyncIQ v2.5 – block-based deltas increased replication performance by up to 800%

In Q3 we launched a big push into the Virtualization market, driven mainly by our customers who kept insisting that we were an excellent platform for it. The whole marketing crew had a huge part in our initial awareness and entry – big (for us) presence at VMworld, presentations, papers, internal training, etc. In Q4 we introduced support for the 72NL and 72000x – more, more, more! OneFS 5.5 also matured enough to enter GA status and it now ships by default on all of our IQ nodes. This was an absolutely amazing year (in product terms) for expanding our market reach, expanding into new workflows and applications, and delivering a rock solid product to our customers. Given that this was all under the shadow of the worst economy since the Great Depression, I’m very excited for 2010!

The other thing we accomplished in 2009 was the introduction of this blog. If you’re an Isilon customer, fan or just a casual reader – thanks for stopping by. We wish you and your families and loved ones the best – and don’t forget to scale-out your stomach!

Happy New Year!

About the Author: Nick Kirsch