Over the last five years, massive scale-out workloads have arrived in the enterprise. Driven by new big data analytics technologies like Hadoop or Spark, or more recently machine learning (ML) and AI, enterprises today have to deal with unprecedented amounts of data. In some domains, the data growth has been driven by hardware innovations such as cryoEM, next-generation sequencers, or 4k or 8k cameras in M&E.
What is Dell EMC Isilon / PowerScale
Isilon is a scale-out NAS appliance solution developed over 20 years ago by Isilon and later by Dell EMC. The solution has recently been renamed to PowerScale.
Isilon was the first scalable enterprise storage solution. It is built around access over the dated NFS protocol, which introduces severe scalability limitations to the product.
Data protection is achieved with Erasure Coding across nodes, which leads to good space efficiency. However, the data protection with EC makes this product less suitable for small file workloads or random IO applications.
Software-based distributed file systems provide a perfect alternative to ISILON / PowerScale: They combine the convenience of file system semantics with the scalability of distributed systems on commodity hardware. Real software storage allows you to pick the hardware of your choice as an alternative to EMC PowerScale’s appliances.
Isilon vs. Quobyte: How they compare
One of the most important differences is the deployment model: Isilon/PowerScale is an appliance, which means you are limited to the hardware offered by Dell EMC at a premium. In addition, you can only deploy Isilon/PowerScale in environments where you can place physical hardware.
Quobyte is a modern software-only solution that runs on any x86 server or the public clouds. You can deploy Quobyte on inexpensive commodity servers and drives anywhere as well as on the public clouds or a hybrid mix. Quobyte runs wherever your business needs to be, including the edge.
When it comes to scalability, Isilon/PowerScale is severely limited by the use of NFS gateways as well as the choice of consistent hashing for data placement. Cluster expansions cause massive data rebalances and NFS’s lack of load balancing makes it challenging to get optimal performance in non-lab setups.
Quobyte provides true linear scaling of performance (and capacity) thanks to its decentralized architecture without the use of consistent hashing. In addition, Quobyte uses a native protocol that avoids NFS gateways and the associated performance and fail-over limitations.
Lastly, Quobyte employs erasure coding and synchronous data replication and can handle throughput as well as random IO and small file workloads from the same system where Isilon is effectively limited to throughput workloads.
|Anyone can download and install||no||yes|
|Software on any x86 server from any vendor||no, $$$$ appliances||yes|
|Mix-and-match hardware||no, appliance||yes|
|Free edition||no||yes, up to 150TB|
|Scale-out without NFS bottlenecks||no||yes|
|Linear performance scaling||no, NFS bottlenecks||yes|
|Maximum cluster capacity||145PB (raw)||Exabytes|
|Native high-performance drivers||no||Linux, Windows, macOS|
|Clients do not disrupt cluster||yes||yes|
|File and object (S3) in the same namespace||no||yes|
|Single network||no, backend required||yes|
|All flash||$$$$ from vendor||yes|
|Low-cost flash (QLC)||no||yes|
|Combine flash and HDD in the same file||no||yes|
|On-prem or colo||yes||yes|
|Data protection||EC||EC, synchronous replication|
|Multi-tenancy and oversubscription||no||yes|
|4k random IO||no||yes|
|X.509 certificate support||no||yes|
|No kernel modules||yes||yes|
|Deploy on k8s||no||yes|
|CSI Plugin||yes, generic NFS||yes|
|Secured access with user-provided credentials||no||yes|