Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon) Overview

Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon) is the #3 ranked solution in our list of top NAS tools. It is most often compared to NetApp FAS Series: Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon) vs NetApp FAS Series

What is Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon)?

Dell EMC Isilon scale-out storage solutions are designed for enterprises that want to manage their data, not their storage. Our storage systems are simple to install, manage, and scale to virtually any size. Isilon storage includes a choice of all-flash, hybrid or archive nodes. Isilon solutions stay simple no matter how much storage capacity is added, how much performance is required, or how business needs change in the future.

Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon) is also known as PowerScale, Dell EMC Isilon.

Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon) Buyer's Guide

Download the Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2021

Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon) Customers

OMRF, University of Utah, Translational Genetics Research Institute, Arcis, Geofizyka Torumn, Cyprus E&P Corporation, Colburn School, Columbia Sportswear, Harvard Medical School, University of Michigan, National Library of France,

Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon) Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon) pricing:
  • "The solution is expensive; it is not the cheapest solution out there. If you look at it from a total cost of ownership perspective, then it is a very compelling solution. However, if you're looking at just dollar per terabyte and not looking at the big picture, then you could be distracted by the price. It is not an amazing price, but it's pretty good. It is also very good when you consider the total cost of ownership and ease of management."
  • "The pricing is expensive, but I think it's a fair value because it does manage itself. It definitely is much simpler than any of the other scale-out storage platforms that we've looked at in the past."
  • "The only drawback for us is that it's a large upfront investment. This was a huge decision for a startup company to make. It took a bit for us to get over the line on it, but we have not regretted it."
  • "The platform is not cheap. However, on the software side, you can choose what you want license. So, you can start your licensing with the features that you need, then after buying the platform add some other features."

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RP
System Team Leader at Deakin University
Real User
Top 20
As you add more nodes in a cluster, you get more effective utilisation

What is our primary use case?

* Research data * Departmental file shares * Data centre storage: NFS We have two data centres in our university. We have Cisco UCS, Pure Storage, and are heavily virtualised with VMware. PowerScale is our unstructured data storage platform. It provides scaled-out storage and our high-level NFS across applications. It also provides all the storage for our researchers and business areas, as well as students, on the network. With the exception of block workloads, which is primarily VMware, Oracle Databases, etc., everything else it is on PowerScale. It definitely has allowed us to consolidate… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution has simplified management by consolidating our workloads. Rather than managing all the different workloads on different storage arrays, Windows Servers, etc., we just have one place per data centre where we manage all their unstructured data, saving us time."
  • "The replication could lend itself to some improvement around encryption in transit and managing the racing of large volumes of data. The process of file over and file back can be tedious. Hopefully, you never end up going into a DR. If you do go into a DR, you know the data is there on the remote site. However, in terms of the process of setting up the replicates and filing them back, that is just very tedious and could definitely do with some improvement."

What other advice do I have?

Just don't underestimate how important a mature product is compared to something leading edge or new. PowerScale's positioned primarily to receive the call within that data centre. We have PowerScale heavily centralized, both in our IT department and on our campuses. We don't really have any storage from PowerScale in the cloud or our edge because we have very good network connectivity. In terms of the right tiers of storage, the level of flexibility that we have for adding different types of storage with different characteristics to our existing cluster now is the best it's ever been in the…
GU
Network Manager at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Handles data distribution among the nodes internally, making management easy

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for storage of video files, with casual access to them. We needed as much storage as we could get for the best price. If you are looking for a hybrid type of situation, when you want low latency for transactional things, and higher-latency storage for archival things, you can get the hybrid nodes. Each of our two clusters has the same disk sizes, etc. We did that for interchangeability, in case we wanted to move shelves between the clusters. They act independently, but they replicate between the two. We love the system. That's why we continue to upgrade and buy it.

Pros and Cons

  • "There are also the policies that you set up on replication and purging files, and policies for something called WORM. That's a "write once, read many," where you can't overwrite certain files or certain data. It puts them in a "protected mode" where it becomes very difficult for someone to accidentally delete. We use that for certain files or certain directories, because we're dealing with video and some video has to be protected for chain-of-custody purposes. The WORM feature works great."
  • "Because of the magic that it does 'under the hood,' it is very difficult to find out within the system where all your storage is going. That's a little bit of a ding that we have on it. It does so much magic in order to protect itself from drive failures or multiple drive failures, that it automatically handles the provisioning and storage of your data. But by doing that, finding out why a file of a certain size, or a directory of a certain size, is using more storage than is being reported in InsightIQ, is very difficult to discern."

What other advice do I have?

Networking can get a little confusing. The big thing is to make sure you carve out your VLANs to this particular system. Put a lot of thought into the network aspect of it. Don't just slap it into your server network. Carve out an isolated network for your storage subsystems and make sure they have high-speed paths back to wherever you're going to be accessing it from. Don't cheap out on that because this system scales out and scales up. If you start cheaping out on the network part of it, you're not going to be happy with your access to it. The biggest thing is to configure the networking…
Learn what your peers think about Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon). Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2021.
521,189 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Jace Gregg
Information Systems Manager at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Ensures our data quality is very high and that our consistency in processing is a lot more static

What is our primary use case?

We use it for storage in a scale-out data processing system. It is a physical storage platform. We have several different nodes that all act as one large storage cluster.

Pros and Cons

  • "It has allowed us to have more consistent quality controls. It has also allowed us to expand the number of servers in clients processing and accessing data, allowing us to get a lot bigger projects out the door."
  • "It is a bit higher priced than some of the other systems."

What other advice do I have?

We have been really happy with it. It is one of the few areas in IT that we don't have a headache. We've liked everything that we have used so far with it. We have been very happy with the feature set that it has right now. It's definitely serving our needs. We have been using the solution since version 7. It fits our use case without us having to add new features on our side. I don't know that we have necessarily seen or needed very many of the features that they have added. We have the ability to grow or speed up our cluster easily by adding or replacing new nodes. That makes me pretty…
Keith Bradley
Director of IT at NatureFresh™ Farms
Real User
Top 10
Allows us to see everything as one large volume, instead of having multiple volumes all over the place

What is our primary use case?

We used it originally for archiving our video storage, and then we expanded it to include user shares. All of our unstructured data has been moved to PowerScale.

Pros and Cons

  • "The single pane of glass for both IT and for the end-user is a valuable feature. On the IT side, I can actually control where things are stored, whether something is stored on solid-state drives or spinning drives... The single pane of glass makes it very easy to use and very easy to understand. We started at 100 terabytes and we moved to 250 and it still feels like the exact same system and we're able to move data as needed."
  • "There aren't many templates still coming out for it. They need to provide templates so we can copy and paste what we've done in the past to future, new things."

What other advice do I have?

Dell EMC keeps adding more features to the solution's OneFS operating system. The last addition was its CloudPools and that allows us to do backups to the public cloud for the data that we want to keep but don't even need on-prem anymore. It turned the system into a never-ending resource. We can now decide what we want to keep, long-term, without having to expand our storage system. PowerScale is one of those things that will grow in your environment. Once you start it with one thing, you'll learn that it can do much more, very quickly. That's a great thing about starting small with it, you…
Rachel Bauer
Chief Operations Officer & Acting CFO at Like a Photon
Real User
Top 20
Simplified our storage and enabled our IT team to move from an operational focus to an optimization focus

What is our primary use case?

Our motivation for investing in PowerScale was to provide scalable, redundant, and reliable storage for our film production pipelines. We're an animation film studio and our live data sits on it. Firstly, we were up to our capacity. We're a growing startup and we need to be able to scale into the future. The second reason we went with it is that we've got a relatively small IT team, so we needed equipment that's reliable and easy to manage.

Pros and Cons

  • "PowerScale allows us to manage storage without managing RAID groups or migrating volumes between controllers. It has really simplified things. We're not having to worry about the underlying infrastructure. That takes care of itself. We just worry about the data. It's really easy for deploying and managing storage at the petabyte scale."

    What other advice do I have?

    Make sure you take the time to understand your current environment and what additional infrastructure you might need to support the device. All that planning made it a seamless implementation for us. Sometimes that part of the process felt like it was taking forever, but it ended up being well worthwhile. It's allowed us to consolidate everything in one, large, redundant volume, but we expected that. Nothing has gone wrong. Everything's been exactly what we expected, which is wonderful. I imagine that as time goes it will become more valuable, particularly as we get into a world where we're…
    Maurizio Davini
    CTO at Universita' degli Studi di Pisa
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Our storage I/O performance is three times what we had before

    What is our primary use case?

    We are using Dell EMC PowerScale as a central storage for our virtual HPC infrastructure based on VMware. We have several silos today, as our HPC infrastructure is typically divided between bare-metal and virtual configurations. The storage that we use on various infrastructures is different, as we are typically using a storage style that is different from any production facility. Until now the request from our internal users was to keep the data separated in different storage silos, and converging in central storage facility while on the virtual HPC is the new request. Therefore, we are… more »

    Pros and Cons

    • "This is the best platform that we could have for storage utilization. It is affordable and scalable. At the end of the day, it's something that we find very easy to use."
    • "Some improvements to the NFS support would be of interest to us."

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend going for this solution. PowerScale is already at the edge of the technology. If you give a look at what you find on the market today from the technology point of view, PowerScale hardware and software are at the top. 80 percent of our operations are brands, especially for HPC, but our organization is moving to the cloud from some services. We have discussed with Dell EMC their roadmap of the platform and are very interested in it. We hope we will be able to afford the new features that will come up, like the NVMe nodes. We have some projects using the S3 protocol, but not on…
    Bill Sharp
    Senior Vice President, Product Development & Strategy at EarthCam, Inc.
    Real User
    Top 20
    Everything is consolidated, simplifying management and decreasing time spent administering the system

    What is our primary use case?

    We’re the world-leaders in webcam technology, content, and services. We do high-resolution imaging from cameras. We have millions of camera images a month coming into our network from our systems in the field. We store all of that image data, and then we edit those images into time-lapse movies.

    Pros and Cons

    • "For maximizing storage utilization, PowerScale is great. When you write the data to it, it spreads it out to all the nodes, so you get all the performance from the entire pool."
    • "You plug in a new node and data starts migrating over to it, and IT spreads out the load. We've added multiple nodes to the system since deploying it. The process is pretty seamless, and we are able to do it with no downtime. It's a very easy process to do."
    • "There is room for improvement with the updates. It can take a significant amount of time to do a major OS update. However, even though it takes multiple reboots, the cluster stays up. If we want to apply a newer version of the OS, we have to roll back some of the patches so that we can upgrade. It requires a few reboots just to do that. The cluster doesn't come down, everything is still running, but it's time-consuming, at times."

    What other advice do I have?

    We would highly recommend PowerScale. We've been very happy with our overall experience.
    SL
    Senior Consultant at a tech company with 11-50 employees
    Reseller
    Top 5
    Good stability and performance with the capability to scale

    Pros and Cons

    • "The stability of the solution is good."
    • "The solution can be a bit complex for those not well versed in the technology."

    What other advice do I have?

    We're a reseller of Isilon products. I'm not sure which version of the solution we are using. It's one of the version seven releases. Right now, we are researching moving from on-premise to cloud, and want to know whether there is something that is more convenient than Isilon when moving to a cloud server. For example, with EMC, if you have something on-premise, and if you want a cloud version, you should rather take ECS. The company finds the concept a bit confusing, so they are looking around for something that is similar in terms of ease of use, and yet has a cloud version as an option. As…
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