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Isilon gets thin with phat storage app

Thin-provisioning. It's all the rage

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Storage vendor Isilon Systems has hopped aboard the thin-provisioning express that's chugging through the industry, adding the sought-after technology to its clustered storage products as a part of today's hardware and software revamp.

The new software, called SmartQuotas, combines quota management and thin provisioning into one software application. Isilon reckons its the first in the industry to combine the two for clustered storage. SmartQuotas allows users to partition a single, scalable, shared pool of storage (up to 1.6 petabytes) and assign limits on how much storage a particular user or group can access.

Thin provisioning is the new virtual storage darling, and companies are falling over themselves to add it to their lineup. Originally developed by 3Par, thin provisioning reduces wasted free space on a SAN by allowing a volume to occupy only the physical disk space it immediately needs. For example, a 5GB volume with only 50MB of data will only occupy 50MB on the array. Industry eyeballs will note companies such as EMC, HP, Hitachi and NetApp have lately been busy fleshing out their thin provisioning offerings as well.

SmartQuotas runs on Isilon's OneFS operating system, which powers all of the company's Isilon IQ line of clustered storage systems. The OS uses a single file system, managing and presenting the total capacity to the host as a single disk drive. Similarly, the processors and memory from each node are treated as a single raw capacity.

In addition to the new software, the company has announced a hardware revamp that adds a 50 per cent capacity improvement to its previous high-end IQ offering by replacing 500GB SATA disks with 750GB. This move crams a maximum of 1.6 petabytes into the new IQ 9000 system, which replaces the IQ 6000 as the company's top-of-the-line.

The IQ 9000 holds twelve Seagate 750GB SATA disk drives, increasing the node capacity to 9TB. A total of 96 nodes can be combined into a single cluster. Customers can increase the size of the cluster by adding additional nodes through the 9000's two InfiniBand ports and 2Gb Ethernet ports or by adding expansion cabinets existing nodes.

Isilon has also released the EX 9000, a disk-only expansion node for the IQ 9000. The expansion adds an additional 9TB of raw storage capacity.

The Isilon IQ 9000, which comes as a complete system, is priced $4,100 per terabyte or $37,250 per node. The 9000 requires at least three nodes to run a cluster.

The EX 9000 costs $22,250 per node — which can be bought individually — or $2,500 per terabyte.

SmartQuotas is priced at $1,950 per node. All the hardware and software are available immediately. ®

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