Dell Technologies World 2018 – storage.27 – Isilon: What’s New in 2018 & Future Directions Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2018.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Press, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my rough notes from the storage.27 session. This was presented by John Hayden, VP Software Engineering, Unstructured Data Storage, and covered Isilon: What’s New in 2018 & Future Directions. This is a futures session, so some of this may not come to pass exactly as it was described here, and there are no dates. The choice was to talk about dates, with no technical details, or talk technical details, but no dates. Option 2 made for a more entertaining session.

Momentum with Isilon – >3.5 EB shipped calendar year 2017

 

What’s new since DEW 2017?

What’s new since 2017?

  • Release of OneFS 8.1
  • New generation of Isilon hardware products
    • All-Flash
    • Hybrid
    • Archive
  • 3 year satisfaction guarantee

 

Isilon hardware design: compute

Features

  • 4 nodes in 4U chassis
  • Intel Broadwell CPU optimised compute to drive ratios
  • Up to 6TB cache per node
  • No single points of failure
  • Networking flexibility: InfiniBand, 10GbE / 40GbE

Benefits

  • 4:1 reduction in RU
  • Optimised IOPS and throughput
  • Future-proof, enduring design: Snap-in next-gen compute, networks
  • New levels of modular, hot-swappable serviceability

 

Isilon hardware design: storage

Features

  • From 72TB to 924TB in 4RU
  • 5 drive sleds per node. 3 to 6 drives per sled
  • Front aisle, hot swap sleds and drives
  • Media flexibility: Flash, SAS, and SATA media

The Isilon Family – mix of performance and capacity

 

Isilon OneFS Enhancements

  • Improved performance driven by software improvements enable new workloads
  • Updated support with leading analytics vendors like Cloudera and HortonWorks
  • New cloud tiering options along with multi-cloud support
  • Ethernet back-end infrastructure support
  • Improved handling of small files for healthcare PACS
  • IsilonSD Edge software defined storage now supported on PowerEdge servers along with vSAN and VxRail
  • Data in flight encryption for improved security

 

Behind the Scenes

Relentless focus on quality & customer experience

  • Isilon engineering organised into CX, 8.X & Innovation acceleration
  • Corporate Dell-wide quality standards and KPIs
  • Tremendous improvement in support and support capabilities
  • Code base in the field is 50% composed of releases in the last 18 months and that is continuing to dramatically accelerate

Results: explosive growth in 8.1 and Gen6 implementation

 

Isilon Pillars of Innovation

  • Flash
  • Archive – great integration with ECS
  • Cloud – cloud pools v1 is already out
  • Analytics – Nautilus, IoT – a lot sits on Isilon and ECS

 

Where we’re investing

Storage challenges

  • Rapid data growth
  • Data solos
  • Cost of infrastructure
  • Insufficient perf
  • Limited IT resources

 

Addressing data growth

Isilon Today

  • Scale-out architecture
  • Scales from 10s of TB to 50+ PB in a single cluster
  • 144 nodes maximum cluster size
  • Provision storage only as needed
  • Simplified management at PB scale
  • Automated tiering between storage tiers and cloud

Future

  • 250+ node cluster size and L/S
  • Cluster aware NDMP
  • Partitioned performance for insights
  • System services QoS
  • Rich filesystem analytics

 

Addressing Data silos

Isilon Today

  • Multi-protocol namespace ideal for infrastructure consolidation
  • Supports unified data lake
  • Enterprise grade features
  • Edge-to-core-to-cloud solution
  • In-place analytics support

Future

  • File and object integration – CloudPools 2 – snapshots will work, and quotas.
  • Increased support for emerging data analytics technologies including streaming analytics*

 

Addressing Infrastructure Cost

Isilon Today

  • Up to 80% storage efficiency
  • Optimised data placement and tiering
  • Flexible deduplication
  • Seamless cloud integration
  • Investment protection – no rip and replace

Future

  • Cloud co-location
  • Inline compression and dedupe for Flash
  • CloudPools v2 with tiering snaps and quotas
  • Writable snapshots

 

Addressing System Performance Needs

Isilon Today

  • OneFS optimised for Flash
  • New All-Flash configuration
  • 6x IOPS and 11x throughput
  • Optimised compute to drive ratios
  • Reduced latency / write optimisation

Future

  • Inline compression and dedupe for Flash
  • File create / delete improvements
  • Streaming improvements (multi-block reads, degraded reads)
  • Performance at scale (cluster, snaps, domains)
  • Large file size
  • Partitioned performance

 

Addressing Manageability Needs

Isilon Today

  • Simple to manage at any scale
  • Single file system
  • Policy based automation
  • Choice of management tools
  • API / web services “first” model

Future

  • On cluster and off cluster UI revolution – including next-generation cluster management technology
  • Cluster integrated authentication
  • Unchained delivery cadence and innovation posture
  • Predictive and prescriptive management

 

Addressing Data protection and security needs

Isilon Today

  • Enterprise data protection features
  • Tolerate up to 4 simultaneous failures
  • WORM, SEDs, RBAC, access zone, compliance
  • Improved failure domain with mirrored journal and boot drive
  • Improved handling of drive failure

Future

  • Multi-factor auth for SSH
  • RBAC per AZ
  • Secure protocols optimisations
  • Enhanced Federal support

 

“Simple is Smart” with Isilon

Simplicity

  • Single volume, single file system architecture

Scalability

  • Expands easily from 10s of TB to 10s of PB without disruption

Efficiency

  • Up to 80% storage utilisation
  • Automated tiering and cloud integration

Data Analytics

  • In-place, high performance data analytics

Data Protection

  • Highly resilient architecture, data replication and snapshots

Security and compliance

  • WORM, data at rest encryption, role-based access control, and more

 

Top session. 5 stars.

Dell EMC’s Isilon All-Flash Is Starting To Make Sense

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 13.  My flights, accommodation and other expenses were paid for by Tech Field Day and Pure Storage. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

 

I’ve written about Dell EMC Isilon All-Flash before (here and here). You can see Dell EMC’s Storage Field Day presentation video here and you can grab a copy of my rough notes from here.

 

The Problem?

Dell EMC’s Isilon (and OneFS) has been around for a while now, and Dell EMC tell us it offers the following advantages over competing scale-out NAS offerings:

  • Single, scalable file system;
  • Fully symmetric, clustered architecture;
  • Truly multi-protocol data lake;
  • Transparent tiering with heterogeneous clusters; and
  • Non-disruptive platform and OneFS upgrades.

While this is most likely true, the world (and its workloads) are changing. To this end, Dell EMC have been working with Isilon customers to address some key industry challenges, including:

  • Electronic Design Automation – 7nm and 3D Chip designs;
  • Life Sciences – population-scale genomics;
  • Media and Entertainment – 4K Content and Distribution; and
  • Enterprise – big data and analytics.

 

The Solution?

To cope with the ever-increasing throughput requirements, Dell EMC have developed an all-flash offering for their Isilon range of NAS devices, along with some changes in their OneFS operating environment. The idea of the “F” series of devices is that you can “start small and scale”, with capacities ranging from 72TB – 924TB (RAW) in 4RU. Dell EMC tell me you can go to over 33PB in a single file system. From a performance perspective, Dell EMC say that you can push 250K IOPS (or 15GB/s) in just 4RU and scale to 9M IOPS. These are pretty high numbers, and pointless if your editing workstation is plugged into a 1Gbps switch. But that’s generally not the case nowadays.

One of the neater resilience features that Dell EMC discussed was that the file system layout is “sled-aware” (there are 5 drive sleds per node and 20 sleds per 4RU chassis) meaning that a given file uses one drive per sled, allowing for sled removal for service without data unavailability, with these being treated as temporarily-offline drives.

 

Is All-Flash the Answer (Or Just Another Step?)

I’ve been fascinated with the storage requirements (and IT requirements in general) for media and entertainment workloads for some time. I have absolutely no real-world experience with these types of environments, and it would be silly for me to position myself as any kind of expert in the field. [I am, of course, happy for people working in M&E to get in touch with me and tell me all about what they do]. What I do have is a lot of information that tells me that the move from 2K to 4K (and 8K) is forcing people to rethink their requirements for high bandwidth storage in the ranges of capacities that studios are now starting to look at.

Whilst I was initially a little confused around the move to all-flash on the Isilon platform, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. You’re always going to have a bunch of data hanging around that you might want to keep on-line for a long time, but it may not need to be retrieved at great speed (think “cheap and deep” storage). For this, it seems that the H (Hybrid) series of Isilon does the job, and does it well. But for workloads where large amounts of data need to be processed in a timely fashion, all-flash options are starting to make a lot more sense.

Is an all-flash offering the answer to everything? Probably not. Particularly not if you’re on a budget. And no matter how much money people have invested in the movie / TV show / whatever, I can guarantee that most of that is going to talent and content, not infrastructure. But there’s definitely a shift from spinning disk to Flash and this will continue as Flash media prices continue to fall. And then we’ll wonder how we ever did anything with those silly spinning disks. Until the next magic medium comes along. In the meantime, if you want to take OneFS for a spin, you can grab a copy of the version 8.1 simulator here. There’s also a very good Isilon overview document that I recommend you check out if that’s the kind of thing you’re into.

Dell EMC Announces Isilon All-Flash

You get a flash, you get a flash, you all get a flash

Last week at Dell EMC World it was announced that the Isilon All-Flash NAS (formerly “Project Nitro“) offering was available for pre-order (and GA in early 2017). You can check out the specs here, but basically each chassis is comprised of 4 nodes in 4RU. Dell EMC says this provides “[e]xtreme density, modular and incredibly scalable all-flash tier” with the ability to have up to 100 systems with 400 nodes, storing 92.4PB of capacity, 25M IOPS and up to 1.5TB/s of total aggregate bandwidth—all within a single file system and single volume. All OneFS features are supported, and a OneFS update will be required to add these to existing clusters.

isilon_all-flash_001

[image via Dell EMC]

 

Why?

Dell EMC are saying this solution provides 6x greater IOPS per RU over existing Isilon nodes. It also helps in areas where Isilon hasn’t been as competitive, providing:

  • High throughput for large datasets of large files for parallel processing;
  • IOPS intensive: You can now work on billions of small files and large datasets for parallel processing;
  • Predictable latency and performance for mixed workloads; and
  • Improved cost of ownership, with higher density flash providing some level of relief in terms of infrastructure and energy efficiency.

 

Use Cases?

Dell EMC covered the usual suspects – but with greater performance:

  • Media and entertainment;
  • Life sciences;
  • Geoscience;
  • IoT; and
  • High Performance Computing.

 

Thoughts and Further Reading

If you followed along with the announcements from Dell EMC last week you would have noticed that there have been some incremental improvements in the current storage portfolio, but no drastic changes. While it might make for an exciting article when Dell EMC decide to kill off a product, these changes make a lot more sense (FluidFS for XtremIOenhanced support for Compellent, and the addition of a PowerEdge offering for VxRail). The addition of an all-flash offering for Isilon has been in the works for some time, and gives the platform a little extra boost in areas where it may have previously struggled. I’ve been a fan of the Isilon platform since I first heard about it, and while I don’t have details of pricing, if you’re already an Isilon shop the all-flash offering should make for interesting news.

Vipin V.K did a great write-up on the announcement that you can read here. The press release from Dell EMC can be found here. There’s also a decent overview from ESG here. Along with the above links to El Reg, there’s a nice article on Nitro here.

Random Short Take #2

I did one of these 7 years ago – so I guess I never really got into the habit – but here’re a few things that I’ve noticed and thought you might be interested in:

And that’s about it, thanks for reading.

iStock-Unfinished-Business-2

EMC – Isilon – Joining Active Directory

I’ve been doing some work in the EMC vLabs and I thought I’d take note of how to join an Isilon cluster to Active Directory. The cluster in this example is running 3 Isilon virtual nodes with OneFS 7.1.0.0.

Once you’ve logged in, click on Cluster Management and Access Management. Under Access Management, click on Active Directory. Note that there are no Active Directory providers configured in this example.

Isilon_AD1

Click on “Join a domain”. You can then specify the Domain Name, etc. You can also specify the OU and Machine Account if required.

Isilon_AD2

Once you click on Join, you’ll be joined to the AD.

Isilon_AD3

To confirm this, you can also use isi auth status to confirm the status.

Isilon_AD4

And that’s it. As always, I recommend you use a directory service of some type on all of your devices for authentication.

EMC announces Isilon enhancements

I sat in on a recent EMC briefing regarding some Isilon enhancements and I thought my three loyal readers might like to read through my notes. As I’ve stated before, I am literally one of the worst tech journalists on the internet, so if you’re after insight and deep analysis, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere. Let’s focus on skimming the surface instead, yeah? As always, if you want to know further about these announcements, the best place to start would be your local EMC account team.

Firstly, EMC have improved what I like to call the “Protocol Spider”, with support for the following new protocols:

  • SMB 3.0
  • HDFS 2.3*
  • OpenStack SWIFT*

* Note that this will be available by the end of the year.

Here’s a picture that says pretty much the same thing as the words above.

isilon_protocols

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the OneFS updates, two new hardware models have also been announced.

S210

S210

 

  • Up to 13.8TB globally coherent cache in a single cluster (96GB RAM per node);
  • Dual Quad-Core Intel 2.4GHz Westmere Processors;
  • 24 * 2.5” 300GB or 600GB 10Krpm Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) 6Gb/s Drives; and
  • 10GbE (Copper & Fiber) Front-end Networking Interface.

 

Out with the old and in with the new.

S200vsS210_cropped

X410

X410

 

  • Up to 6.9TB globally coherent cache in a single cluster (48GB RAM per node);
  • Quad-Core Intel Nehalem E5504 Processor;
  • 12 * 3.5” 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 3TB 7.2Krpm Serial ATA (SATA) Drives; and
  • 10GbE (Copper & Fiber) Front-end Networking Interface.

Some of the key features include:

  • 50% more DRAM in baseline configuration than current 2U X-series platform;
  • Configurable memory (6GB to 48GB) per node to suit specific application & workflow needs;
  • 3x increase in density per RU thus lowering power, cooling and footprint expenses;
  • Enterprise SSD support for latency sensitive namespace acceleration or file storage apps; and
  • Redesigned chassis that delivers superior cooling and vibration control.

 

Here’s a picture that does a mighty job of comparing the new model to the old one.

X400vsX410_cropped

 

Isilon SmartFlash

EMC also announced SmartFlash for Isilon, which uses SSDs as an addition to DRAM for flash capability. The upshot is that you can have 1PB Flash vs 37TB DRAM. It’s also globally coherent, unlike some of my tweets.

Here’s a picture.

Isilon_SmartFlash

EMC – BRS Announcements – Q3 2013

Disclaimer: As part of my participation in EMC Elect 2013, EMC sometimes provides me with access to product briefings before new product announcements are made. I don’t want to turn this blog into another avenue for EMC marketing, and EMC are not interested in that either. Nonetheless, I’ve had the opportunity via various channels to actually try some of this stuff and I thought it was worth putting up here. I’ll reiterate though, I haven’t had the chance to verify everything for myself. This is more a prompt for you to go and have a look for yourself.

So, EMC made a few announcements around its BRS line today and I thought some of the Data Domain stuff was noteworthy. Four new models were released; here’s a table of speeds and feeds. Keep in mind that these are numbers published by EMC, not verified by me. As always, your mileage might vary.

DD1

In any case, the DD2500 is the replacement for the DD640, the DD4200 replaces the DD670, the DD4500 replaces the DD860 and the DD7200 replaces the DD890. One of the cooler parts of this announcement, in my opinion, is the improved archive support. This is something we’ve been investigating internally as part of our take the Centera out the back and shoot it  project. Here’s a screenshot of a marketing slide that includes a number of logos.

DD2Other aspects of the announcement include EMC Avamar 7 and NetWorker 8.1. The Avamar NDMP Accelerator now supports backup for Isilon, in addition to VNX, VNXe, Celerra and NetApp systems. Being a tape user, I’m also mildly excited about DD Boost over Fibre Channel support in NetWorker 8.1, although I’ve not had the chance to try it in our lab yet, so I’ll restrain my enthusiasm until I’ve had time to test it out.

In any case, have a chat to your local EMC BRS team about this stuff if you think it might work for you. You can also read more about it on EMC Pulse and the Reflections blog. When I’ve had a chance to test DD Boost over FC I’ll post it up here.