OneFS for Cloud is a heavyweight entrant in cloud file storage

Dell EMC’s porting of its Isilon OneFS scale-out file system to cloud and hybrid use cases brings a big player to a market that has had some innovative incumbents for some time

Dell EMC has made a Google Cloud version of its Isilon scale-out NAS generally available, with OneFS cloud storage ready for production workloads.

The move – which was heralded back in 2018 – will allow customers to burst production use cases on Isilon storage to Google Cloud Platform (GCP), with up to 50PB of capacity available in a single namespace.

The launch of OneFS for Cloud adds an industry heavyweight scale-out file system to the market, although options in this space do exist already.

Throughput of up to 97MBps per TB with sub-millisecond latency is claimed.

ESG testing achieved read throughput of 200GBps and write throughput of 120GBps on a block size of 512KB, as would be found in work with large file sizes. Those read and write throughput figures were achieved with 1,024 IOzone threads.

Scale-out NAS is file access storage. It is suited to unstructured or semi-structured data and is targeted by Dell EMC at, for example, video production work, high-performance computing (HPC) use cases such as life sciences, artificial intelligence/machine learning operations and big data applications using HDFS.

OneFS for Cloud extends the Isilon file system from on-premise locations to the cloud, with access via the same NFS/SMB protocols as used in the datacentre. That means application data does not need to be replatformed to use the service.

OneFS for Cloud will be managed through Google Cloud console with billing integrated via Marketplace, with the service available in four cost/performance storage tiers.

These range from Tier 1 for extreme performance/throughput aimed at commercial HPC, Tier 2 for the performance needed for predictive analytics, Tier 3 for large file formats such as media workloads, and Tier 4 for access to files for fast backup and recovery.

Advanced storage services will include replication and snapshots.

Numerous file storage options exist already in the cloud, ranging from the native file storage services of the public cloud providers to distributed file systems that span on-premise and cloud locations.

Other mainstream storage suppliers also offer instances of their file systems in the big three public clouds – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and GCP. NetApp has Cloud Volumes, IBM has File Storage, and HPE also calls its offer Cloud Volumes.

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There are also distributed file systems that can operate between on-prem and cloud services, such as Elastifile, WekaIO Matrix and Qumulo QF2.

Other possible candidates in this field are the software- and infrastructure-based offers such as Nasuni, CTERA and Panzura, which offer access to files from software or hardware gateways

Cloud storage was pioneered on object storage, most notably AWS’s S3 protocol. S3 has become something of an industry standard to the extent that it is the basis for many storage products that can span on-prem and cloud locations, such as Scality and Cloudian.

Object storage also plays into a similar set of workloads as file-based storage, namely files and unstructured data. Both have their advantages and drawbacks at the kind of scale in which cloud operates.

Object storage, for example, is well suited to scaling to a far greater extent than scale-out NAS and was developed to do so, without the potential slowing effect of file system structures.

However, NAS-based file systems have the advantage of being more likely to be compatible with a lot of existing applications and can use file system features such as locking, which object can’t.

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