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Equallogic Versus Isilon Storage

Posted on 2011-03-01
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Last Modified: 2012-06-01
I'd like to get the option of storage users on which storage solution to go with.  

I archive planetary data at the rate of around 1.5 additional TB's per week.  So far I have ~200TB of data on hand which includes everything from large image files that get up to 4-5GB, small browse images (10KB) that add up to 100's of millions, lots of text files, large databases (5TB), 5 VMware hosts, etc.

I currently have two Equallogic groups - each with 6 PS6500E's.  One group stores the primary copy of my data and replicates to the DR group.  I rely heavily on replication and snapshoting.  

Does anyone have any experience with Isilon?  good or bad?  
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Question by:LarsArvidson
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Duncan Meyers earned 500 total points
ID: 35012478
You're growing at a remarkable rate. I'd suggest that you now need to look at re-designing your storage environment.

One option you could look at is Quantum's StorNext file system. StorNext allows you to do automated storage tiering (on age or other policy) and treat tape as a tier of on-line storage. You can also use StorNext to create a backup when a file is created, so backup window issues go away. It's also very high performance and allows concurrent multiple access to individual files. Cool stuff.

Isilon is BIG kit - and looks like it will do exactly what you need. The little I know of it suggests that its pretty robust.
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Author Closing Comment

by:LarsArvidson
ID: 35181978
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Expert Comment

by:MrVault
ID: 38003859
we're on Equallogic and looking at isilon. did you make the move? how was it? any gotchas or regrets?
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Author Comment

by:LarsArvidson
ID: 38003983
We went with Isilon for our large datasets.  With the size of our data and the rate of our growth, a large scalable file system fits perfectly.  With Isilon we don't have to manage RAID groups or LUNs which is a bonus since Equallogic has a 15TB LUN max.  Also, since Isilon is a NAS, we don't have to manage front-end file servers to host the data.  

We have an in house tool that validates our data by looking at file/directory sizes and checksums.  We did find that Isilon times out when our tool tries to retrieve the size of a directory that contains lots of files.  The process on Isilon takes so long that our tool errors out.  

We still use Equallogic for our databases and VMware datastores.
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Expert Comment

by:MrVault
ID: 38004233
Thanks. We saw same limitations on Equallogic. Good to know about that timeout. We too have a tool that does that. Is that timeout configurable?

Also, with NTFS there's a chkdsk risk due to iscsi corruption. That's one of the main reasons we're looking at Isilon because they claim there's no risk of data corruption. Or at least if there is it won't require Chkdsk which requires downtime. My question is also, if there's no chkdsk, how does Isilon deal with corruption where no windows tool can delete the corrupt file/folder?
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Author Comment

by:LarsArvidson
ID: 38007779
I wasn't sure how to answer your question so I asked my Isilon engineer.  Here is what he said:


"Isilon performs data integrity checks via a set of filesystem features designed to protection the system from hardware-induced data corruption – Isilon Data Integrity (IDI).

The goals of IDI are to:
•      Protect permanent internal structures – protect on-disk data structures
•      Protect transient internal structures – protect in-memory data structures
•      Protect customer data (internal end-to-end) – protect file data once it gets to the cluster
•      Protect customer data (external end-to-end) –protect the cluster and up to the client

IDI accomplishes this by using “check codes” (checksums) to verify the data structures.  As this is done on the initiator node it protects the data against errors from disk, IB or memory.  These check codes allow the system to detect bit errors on all of the data at all phases of the data life.  There is also a restriper process called the IntegrityScan that can/is used to scour the filesystem in search of data integrity issues.

Remember, it’s not one file but smaller chuncklets of files that are having this process performed against on the read/write of the data and each node maintains its “quotient” of data that is being serviced.  As such, each node has its own “journal” of the data it is responsible for and validates or requests validation on the data it has."
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Expert Comment

by:MrVault
ID: 38039083
thanks!
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