Products of the Year 2004:

Disk and disk subsystems

Silver Award:

Isilon Systems Isilon IQ

Unlike a lot of other arrays on the market, Isilon Systems Inc.'s Isilon IQ wasn't designed as storage for an average I/O-intensive database application. Coming off a stint at streaming-media pioneer Real Networks, the architects for Isilon IQ set out to make a storage system designed to house large amounts of sequential unstructured data and serve it up as fast as the network will carry it. The judges were unequivocal in their praise for the system's performance, ease of scalability and, best of all, relatively low price per-terabyte.

Need to move a big video file from here to there? Isilon IQ can handle that job without breaking a sweat. The company has clocked a system with an impressive 5 GBps aggregate throughput and a single file system of up to 250 TB. That performance comes from many things: an N-way clustered architecture that adds processing power along with capacity; the OneFS distributed file system that stripes files and meta data across nodes; the low-latency InfiniBand interconnect between nodes; and -- last but not least -- a lot of cache.

Better still is the ease with which you can apply that performance and scalability to your environment. As a NAS system supporting standard NFS and CIFS protocols, Isilon IQ inherently provides file sharing and requires no host-side software or hardware beyond a standard Ethernet connection. The OneFS file system also allows easy scalability by automatically recognizing new nodes as they're added and restriping the data accordingly. For high performance and easy expandability, Isilon IQ delivers in spades.

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