EMC ISILON Interview questions

Adding one more post to our interview questions post category, this time for ISILON. We are trying to cover some of the frequently asked questions from the ISILON architecture and configuration areas.

  •  Node and drive types supported :  ISILON supported 3 different types of nodes S-Series, X-Series and NL-Series. S-Series (S210) is high performance node type supports SSD drives. X-Series nodes (X210 and X410) supports upto 6 SSDs and can have remaining slots with HDDs in them. NL-Series (NL-410) nodes supports only one SSD in the system and SATA drives in the remaining slots. This node type is intended for the archiving requirements.

The system with the recent OneFS versions, also supports All-Flash nodes, Hybrid nodes, Archive nodes and IsilonSD nodes. ISILON All-Flash nodes (F800) can have upto 924 TB in a single 4U node and can grow upto 33PB in one cluster. One node can house upto 60 drives. Hybrid nodes (H400, H500 and H600) supports a mix of SSDs and HDDs. H400 and H500 can have SATA drives and SSDs and H600 supports SSDs and SAS drives. Archive nodes (A200 and A2000) are intended for archiving solutions. A2000 nodes can have 80 slots with 10TB drives only supported. This node is for high-density archiving. A200 is for near-primary archiving storage solutions which supports 2 TB, 4 TB or 8 TB SATA HDDs- a maximum of 60 drives.

IsilonSD is the software only node type which can be installed in customer hardware.

  •  Scale-Out and Scale-Up architecture : The first thing comes with ISILON is the architecture, Scale-Out. With Scale-Out architecture, the processing and capacity will be increased in parallel. As we add a node, both capacity and processing power will be increased for the system. Let’s take the example of VNX for Scale-Up architecture. Here, the processing power (i.e. Storage processors) can not be increased as the system limit is 2 SPs, but we can grow the overall system capacity by adding more DAEs (and disks) to the system supported limit.
  •  Infiniband Switches and types : ISILON makes use of IB switches for the internal communication between the nodes. ISILON now supports 40 GbE switches also with the Gen-6 hardware in addition to the 10GbE IB switches.
  •  SmartConnect and SSIP : [definition from ISILON SmartConnect whitepaper] SmartConnect is a licensable software module of the EMC ISILON OneFS Operating System that optimizes performance and availability by enabling intelligent client connection load balancing and failover support. Through a single host name, SmartConnect enables client connection load balancing and dynamic NFS failover  and failback of client connections across storage nodes to provide optimal utilization of the cluster resources. SmartConnect eliminates the need to install client side drivers, enabling the IT administrator to easily manage large numbers of client with confidence. And in the event of a system failure, file system stability and availability are maintained.

For every SmartConnect zone there will be one SSIP (SmarConnect Service IP), which wil be used for the client connections. SSIP and associated hostname will have the DNS entry and the client requests will come to the cluster/zone via SSIP. The zone redirects the request to the nodes for completion.

  •  SmartPool : SmartPool enables effective tiering of storage nodes within the filesystem. Data – based on the utilization – will be moved across the tiers within the filesystem automatically with seamless application and end user access. Customers can define policies for the data movement for different workflows and node types.
  •  Protection types in ISILON : ISILON cluster can have protection types N+M (where N is the number of data blocks and M is the number of nodes/drives failures the system can tolerate) or N+M:B (where N is the number of data blocks M is the number of drives failures the system can tolerate and B is the number of node failures can be tolerated ), where N>M. In case of a 3-node system, it can have +1 (i.e. 2+1) protection type. Here the system can tolerate 1 drive/node failure without any data loss.
  •  Steps to create an NFS export : Here we have listed the commands to create and list/view the NFS export.

To create the NFS export :
isi nfs exports create –clients=, –root-clients=, –description=”Beginnersforum Test NFS Share” –paths=/ifs/BForum/Test –security-flavors=unix

To list the NFS exports :
isi nfs exports list

To view the NFS export :
isi nfs exports view <export_number>

You can create the NFS export alias and quotas also for the NFS export.

Hope this helped you in learning some ISILON stuff. We will have more questions and details in upcoming posts. For more interview questions posts please click here. Please add any queries and suggestions in comments.

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