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Isilon soups up chips in clustered storage boxes

Makes a really big deal over it

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Isilon Systems is upgrading the chips in its IQ line of clustered storage systems, and is rebranding the systems as the "IQ X-Series" in honor of the hardware refresh.

The new systems will use the Intel dual-core Xeon 5100 series of processors, swapping out the single-core chip used in earlier IQ systems. The company claims the change increases performance in data write and random access by up to 60 per cent over previous systems, and decreases energy consumption by 20 per cent, per node.

The X-Series makeover covers the 1.92TB per node IQ 1920 system through to the top-of-the-line 12TB per node IQ 12000.

Isilon has also been extending its partnerships to prep software for the near gear. The boxes are now certified to work with VMware ESX Server 3.0, as well as Cisco's Wide Area Application Services.

Capacity (and apparently price) will stay the same for the time being. As with the IQ boxes, the X-Series units can be combined to create clustered storage that scales to more than 1.6PB of capacity in a single file system and single volume. The list price on the high-end IQ 12000 is about $47,300 per node.

A product name change over a chip is a tad...extreme. But Isilon is doubtlessly looking for any old excuse to reintroduce itself to the market.

Clustered storage may, in fact, be the next best thing as many storage firms insist. But the emphasis is apparently strong on next, as in not at present. Isilon has been haunted by disappointing revenue and a wilting stock price since the company went public in Dec. of 2006. Whether the market won't appear or the company is a victim of overzealous Wall Street expectations is still arguable.

Either way, Isilon still has plenty of competition in the clustered NAS game from other startups such as Panasas and ActiveStor, as well as huge vendors like NetApp and EMC. ®

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