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Dell PowerScale (Isilon) vs Sonexion Scale-out Lustre Storage System comparison

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Q&A Highlights
Question: EMC Isilon vs. Sonexion Scale-out Lustre Storage System
Answer: Both systems address the needs of HPC storage, but some significant differences are noted below: 1. The scalability of Lustre beats all other storage systems. As you can see at, the Lustre performance can be scale up to 1.5 TB/sec in the real world. The EMC Isilon performance record is much lesser because it limited by the maximum nodes number 144 (see 2. The computing node CPU offload could be achieved with RDMA with Lustre and could not be achieved with Isilon - so the ROI of costly application software (priced per core) is much better. The CPU offload level depends of apps specifics. For example, the CPU offload for VMware ESXi with RDMA is near 90%! (see 3. The EMC Isilon has a lot of functional advantages that absense in Lustre: snapshots, storage tiering, etc. 4. The EMC Isilon manageability is much better and a lot of operations done automagically. For example, the Autobalance feature ( relieves the IT staff from time-consuming work of balance storage load between storage nodes (OSTs in the Lustre environment). Our company focus is the advanced high-performance and reliable infrastructure for geological and geophysical applications (see We will be glade to help you make the right choice for HPC storage infrastructure for your needs
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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "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 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."
  • "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."
  • "I always want things to be less expensive. However, I would say the pricing is fair. Their costs are in alignment with their competitors. It is a good value for the money."
  • "We paid an additional fee to have Dell's ProDeploy Plus team implement it."
  • "Price was also a significant factor in our decision to go with PowerScale. The team at EMC, now Dell EMC, came through with a highly competitive offer that tipped the scales towards their solution. There was only one other solution around the same price point, but it could not match PowerScale on features. That other solution is no longer on the market."
  • "Pricing for this solution is reasonable."
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    Answers from the Community
    Anonymous User
    it_user276675 - PeerSpot reviewerit_user276675 (Unix Systems and Storage Manager with 1,001-5,000 employees)

    I am not certain I would put the 2 disk systems in the same space.

    Sonexion is aimed at HPC workloads, and I would imagine the cost reflects that. The Lustre filesystem is a parallel architecture giving it massive scale and throughput.

    EMC Isilon is what I would consider a mid range NAS with scalable performance and uses the OneFS operating system.

    I would have no problem recommending either of these disk systems. One is a beast (Cray) the other is perfectly adequate (Isilon). If you require parallel access to the filesystem, the Sonexion would be the right choice.

    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: This solution assists with eliminating storage silos because it provides SMB and NFS protocols. Powerscale has also helped free up our employee's time to focus on other business priorities.
    Top Answer:I'd like to see more Iceland products in the cloud so that we can port our data into different environments if needed. I would also like to see a virtual appliance or software defined Iceland product… more »
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    Also Known As
    PowerScale, Dell EMC Isilon
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    Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon) storage solutions are designed to help manage data for enterprises of all types. Dell PowerScale systems are simple to install, manage, and scale to virtually any size and include a choice of all-flash, hybrid, or archive nodes. Dell PowerScale solutions stay flexible and reliable no matter how much storage capacity is added, how much performance is required, or how business needs change in the future.

    With Dell PowerScale, your data lake always stays simple to manage, simple to grow, simple to protect, and simple enough to handle the most demanding current and future workloads.

    Ideal for companies of any size, from small enterprises to multi-national ones, Dell PowerScale storage provides secure collaboration, modular scalability, flexible consumption models, and easy cloud integrations, all with management tools spanning multiple platforms.

    Key Benefits of Dell EMC PowerScale Storage

    • Centralized management: Manage your storage infrastructure from a single unified platform.

    • Data protection: Dell PowerScale offers security, data protection and replication tools. Back up and protect your data from cyber-attacks with an integrated ransomware defense system.

    • Artificial intelligence: PowerScale is the foundation for building an integrated and optimized IT infrastructure for AI projects, from concept to production.

    • Cloud support: Store and manage your data on the cloud and move data between your data center and the cloud. Dell PowerScale runs data-intensive cloud workloads with no outbound traffic costs.

    • Long-term storage: Dell PowerScale offers highly efficient and resilient active archive storage or long-term data retention for large-scale data archives. With the proven scalability architecture of PowerScale, you can meet your growing archiving demands. Dell PowerScale has a wide variety of enterprise-grade data protection and security options to keep your archived data safe.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Dell EMC PowerScale storage stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its scalability capabilities and its user-friendly centralized management system.

    Rachel B., a chief operations officer & acting CFO at Like a Photon, writes, "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."

    Keith B., the director of IT at NatureFresh Farms, writes, "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."

    Sonexion system’s modular, pre-integrated and compact design keeps costs low while delivering the right performance for analytics, compute clusters and supercomputers of all types. Performance and capacity scale efficiently in modular building blocks, reducing the number of hard disk drives needed to achieve sustained performance at scale. Performance is optimized end to end, from the compute clients to the network to the storage subsystem, based on the application workload.

    Data protection is provided through Grid RAID, a declustered parity form of data protection that speeds up rebuild times three and a half times over traditional RAID, while maintaining Lustre performance.

    Learn more about Dell PowerScale (Isilon)
    Learn more about Sonexion Scale-out Lustre Storage System
    Sample 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,
    Petrobras, Korea Meteorological Association
    Top Industries
    Manufacturing Company10%
    Educational Organization10%
    Energy/Utilities Company10%
    Computer Software Company26%
    Comms Service Provider16%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Computer Software Company38%
    Comms Service Provider15%
    Educational Organization11%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Company Size
    Small Business16%
    Midsize Enterprise32%
    Large Enterprise52%
    Small Business17%
    Midsize Enterprise14%
    Large Enterprise68%
    Small Business18%
    Midsize Enterprise11%
    Large Enterprise71%
    Buyer's Guide
    June 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Dell Technologies and others in NAS. Updated: June 2022.
    611,060 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Dell PowerScale (Isilon) is ranked 3rd in NAS with 22 reviews while Sonexion Scale-out Lustre Storage System is ranked 18th in NAS. Dell PowerScale (Isilon) is rated 9.2, while Sonexion Scale-out Lustre Storage System is rated 0.0. The top reviewer of Dell PowerScale (Isilon) writes "As you add more nodes in a cluster, you get more effective utilisation". On the other hand, Dell PowerScale (Isilon) is most compared with NetApp FAS Series, Qumulo, HPE StoreEasy, Dell ECS and Huawei OceanStor 9000, whereas Sonexion Scale-out Lustre Storage System is most compared with IBM FlashSystem and NetApp FAS Series.

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