Isilon: Ready for Your Future, Today

In a previous blog posting, we discussed how scale-out storage has to actually scale out, and how Isilon scales over an order of magnitude greater than Pure Storage FlashBlade. Storage capacity, however, is only half the battle, as performance also needs to scale to make effective use of that capacity for consolidation and next generation workflows. So, this week, we’ll discuss how scalability differences between storage platforms impact usable performance.

Recently, Pure Storage discussed FlashBlade at their Accelerate conference, promising new functionality in an attempt to mitigate its many shortcomings.  Significantly, Pure has promised to raise the currently small limit of two FlashBlade chassis to five in the fourth quarter of 2017.  Like so many Pure announcements, it’s about getting customers to commit to purchases today based on tomorrow’s promises — if they ever come.

At Pure Accelerate, FlashBlade performance was quoted as delivering 7.5 million IOPS and an 8PB namespace from currently unavailable five chassis interconnected with a currently unavailable 100 GB/s fabric.  What is nominally available today is a system limited to 3.2PB — counting compression — using a maximum of two chassis and a 40GbE fabric. Not only is capacity limited, but bandwidth is limited as well, as each Pure blade has only two 10GbE ports for all I/O.

Dell EMC doesn’t need to make constantly changing claims about the future of Isilon. Check out the ESG Lab Validation of Isilon F800’s performance. Today, Isilon F800 scales to 144 nodes, 9M IOPS, 540 GB/s of aggregate throughput and 68 PB of capacity in a single Isilon cluster.  Each Isilon node has two dedicated 40GbE ports just for the front end with another pair of 40GbE Ethernet or InfiniBand ports for the back end.  No I/O bottlenecks with Isilon.  All in all, that’s more IOPS, more throughput, greater capacity and more nodes today than what Pure FlashBlade promises to deliver in the future.

While Isilon can scale much further in performance today, the modular flexibility of our new generation platform allows CPUs, networking, and storage to be upgraded independently for whatever comes next.   When faster/larger new media types, CPUs or networks (100GbE) become available, they can be incorporated without having to buy new nodes. Let’s also not forget that Isilon offers several node types with a range of performance and capacity.  While Isilon can meet and exceed your needs for a super-fast flash tier, our flexibility allows you to also include hybrid nodes – H series for performance and value and/or A series for cost-effective dense archiving. Isilon allows you highly-scalable nearly-all-flash performance without the all-flash price.

With Isilon, you are empowered to take on a wide range of new, more demanding unstructured data applications; achieve faster business outcomes; store, manage and protect massively large data sets with ease; and gain new levels of efficiency.

Some vendors try to sell you on future promises, but Isilon delivers the promise of scale-out, flash-based NAS today because the only future you should be preparing for is yours.

About the Author: Sam Grocott

Sam Grocott is the Senior Vice President of Dell Technologies Business Unit (DTBU) Marketing, which focuses on all infrastructure and client solutions as well as the associated services portfolio. DTBU Marketing also includes key GTM activities across global business-to-business (B2B) campaigns, portfolio messaging and competitive intelligence. Sam began his career with Isilon Systems in 2001 leading Product Management and was responsible for helping bring to market Isilon’s first products in 2003. After Isilon was acquired by EMC in 2010, Sam continued to lead the marketing and product management team that delivered the industry leading scale-out NAS offering. When EMC was acquired by Dell in in 2016, Sam’s role expanded to include the entire Dell EMC Infrastructure Solutions portfolio for Marketing. This set into motion what ultimately resulted in the creation of DTBU Marketing, representing the entire Dell Technologies portfolio.
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