Unstructured Data Leads Dell EMC to Expand Isilon Storage

The Isilon F810 storage platform and ClarityNow data management software, both introduced by Dell EMC this week, aim to meet the growing amount of unstructured data generated by artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, and other emerging applications.

The Isilon F810 is a flash storage system that executes as much as 250,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) and 15 Gbps of bandwidth in a 4U chassis. The platform scales to 9 million IOPS and 540 Gbps of aggregate throughput in a 144-node cluster. The Isilon has an inline data compression ratio of 3 to 1. The platform offers an effective storage capacity of 2.2 petabytes in a 4U chassis to 79.6 petabytes in a 144-node cluster.

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“The new Isilon offering builds nicely on the existing Isilon line, delivering stellar performance and compression capabilities,” Steve McDowell, the senior analyst for storage and converged systems at Moor Insights & Strategy, told SDxCentral.

ClarityNow data management software, which supports both the Isilon and Elastic Cloud Storage (ESC) platforms, helps manage organizations’ file-based workflows. This enables a unified global file system view across heterogeneous distributed storage and the cloud. ClarityNow provides insights into enterprise file data usage and storage capacity, and it gives users the ability to move files anywhere in the distributed system.

This addresses the need for a unified way to manage, visualize, and get insight from unstructured data, said Julia Palmer, Gartner’s senior research director for emerging infrastructure technologies. “It is especially relevant to many Dell EMC customers who have deployed large scale Isilon and ECS solutions and looking to increase efficiency and improve life cycle management,” she added.

There obviously is a lot to manage. “Businesses are experiencing an explosion of data that all have to store and manage – much of it unstructured data like video, audio files, photos, presentations, web pages plus e-mail messages,” Mike Noble, senior product marketing manager for Isilon, told SDxCentral. “Moreover, organizations continue looking to achieve further value from their data, by investing in data analytics and artificial intelligence applications that require access and availability of data stores from across disparate storage silos and the cloud.”
Meeting the Unstructured Data Challenge

The analysts pointed to concern among IT professionals about the explosion of data that comes to their organizations in more challenging and less well-defined ways than in the past. “IT leaders are expressing a growing demand for storage solutions that based on distributed shared-nothing architecture and can scale linearly in capacity and performance to manage massive amounts of unstructured data,” Palmer wrote in an email.

This is the landscape into which the new Dell EMC product is being introduced. “Aggressive new requirements for both performance and scale are now propelling distributed file system products like Isilon F810 to the forefront of both existing use cases like high-performance computing (HPC), analytics as well as emerging ones like AI and machine learning (ML),” she wrote.

McDowell said that a dramatic technology upgrade cycle is underway. The economics of NAND flash makes it attractive for near-line and hot storage, which is driving greater density. Non-volatile memory is increasing throughput and latencies and NVMe-over-fabric is “about to change how we think about SANs.”

He said the new Isilon platform “sits slightly ahead of the curve with what’s happening in the market. It has impressive scalability and performance numbers. The ability to serve nearly a petabyte of raw all-flash storage in 4U, enhanced with new inline-compression that Dell claims delivers 35 percent improvement over existing compression, goes beyond incremental.”

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