Thursday, 14 August 2014 15:44

'Virtual Isilon' coming this year


EMC's Isilon storage has proved popular in Australia. Would a software-only implementation make it even more widely used?

EMC's Isilon family is popular with Australian customers that need large amounts of storage (such as banks, insurers, architects, telcos, banks, life sciences and major media companies including Fox Sports) because "it's a very big storage space that's easy to manage," according to Charles Sevior, CTO for Asia Pacific and Japan at the company's Isilon storage division (pictured).

The problem with conventional NAS products is that they consist of a NAS head with limited provision for adding disks, he told iTWire. So once they are fully populated the only way to expand the storage is by adding another NAS unit. Each one appears as a separate mount point, which leads to silos of data.

The Isilon approach is different. Mr Sevior described it as "scale out NAS" with the ability to add storage and network connections as required. Appropriately configured, it can provide whatever capacity and throughput is required by the workloads.

EMC has a "virtual everything" strategy, according to senior vice president and global CTO John Roese, and this involves offering a software equivalent of all of the company's products. 'Virtual Isilon' is coming this year, he told a customer event in Melbourne this month.

Mr Sevior explained there are moves in two directions regarding the OneFS operating software for Isilon.

One is what he described as 'OneFS for bare metal,' which will run on Open Compute Platform hardware. The need for data protection and redundancy means at least three systems would be required, and he questioned whether the necessary hardware would be any cheaper than a complete Isilon system from EMC.

The other is Virtual OneFS, which will run on VMware and other hypervisors and therefore practically any conventional hardware. Mr Sevior said no decisions had been made about the price of Virtual OneFS, or which market segments would be targeted.

EMC recently announced it will be adding more access methods including HDFS, REST and SWIFT to Isilon by the end of this year. SMB multichannel support is already available.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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