Data Services Newsletter

Volume 7 : No 4 : December 2005

New hardware additions to the IRIS Data Management Center: Isilon NAS

50TB Isilon IQ6000 Network Attached Storage Device

In order to improve shipping times for Tier 1 data to its customers, the IRIS Data Management Center, in Seattle, has recently deployed a new large scale mass storage RAID based system. This system is a 50TB Isilon IQ6000 Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. The addition of this system will allow for all Tier1 data to be kept online, with only backup copies written to nearline tape based storage. This will greatly speed up the process of data request handling, and reduce the amount of tape based storage needed to protect the IRIS data holdings.

Isilon hardware image
Figure 1: The Isilon IQ6000. Photo courtesy of Isilon systems

The Isilon IQ6000 is a clustered storage system, meaning that each node of storage comes complete with its own processors, memory, communication paths, and disks.

The current nodes, shown at right, are based on 500GB disk drives and hold a total of 6TB of data. Each node in the cluster communicates with the other nodes via a high speed Infiniband™ backend network, which allows for easy expansion and performance stability. The IQ6000 represents the 4th generation of the Isilon product line. Isilon keeps the OS and OneFS™ filesystem compatible across all generations of their nodes, which allows for very easy migration to newer, greater capacity storage. As newer version nodes become available, they are simply added to the cluster and the OS will restripe all data across them. If rack space is at a premium, the OS is instructed to remove a node, and after the data is re-striped across the remaining nodes, it is just unplugged and removed from the rack. The current maximum capacity is 250TB, but that will increase as disk sizes increase.

IRIS plans on growing the capacity of this system to match annual data ingestion rates. In the future, we will no longer need to keep multiple sorted versions of Tier 1 data, which account for the bulk of all data that IRIS regularly ships to customers. All Tier 2 data will continue to be archived to nearline tape based storage, as it is voluminous and infrequently requested.

by Rick Braman (IRIS Data Management Center)

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