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Why Isilon Users Need Multi-Protocol Support in Their Data Protection Solution

by Asif Daud – August 21, 2018

As you may have heard, we’ve added support for multi-protocol on Dell EMC Isilon OneFS—making Igneous the only modern scale-out data protection solution for large enterprise customers with this capability.

Isilon’s OneFS product enables Windows and Unix data to co-reside in the same filesystem namespace through the multi-protocol functionality. Our latest software provides unique benefits for Isilon customers by seamlessly protecting Isilon systems with any mix of data created over the NFS (Linux) or SMB (Windows) protocols.

We’re thrilled to offer this feature for customers, who will for the first time be able to protect their NFS/SMB data on Isilon with a modern, scale-out data protection solution built for unstructured data.

What is Multi-Protocol?

Isilon has the unique ability to store data within a single filesystem using both NFS and SMB protocols, often simplifying the lives of storage administrators.

Most Unix systems tend to access Isilon over NFS, and Windows clients utilize SMB.  Many enterprises have both types of workflows, and even cases where the same file is perhaps created by a HPC farm running Linux and then read by a Windows desktop user.

In the Unix world, file ownership and access is determined by UID, GID, and mode bits, whereas in the Windows world, we have SIDs and ACLs.

Isilon’s OneFS provides this dual support and terms it “Multi-Protocol”.

Why is Multi-Protocol Support Important in a Data Protection Solution?

Today’s data management workflows are quite complex, containing data generated on, and accessed via, both Windows and Linux systems. Typical Isilon systems tend to be large, with Windows and Linux data co-residing within the same directory hierarchy. Multi-protocol support enables administrators to manage their data at an application level, rather than worry about segregating data in different volumes.

While Isilon’s multi-protocol functionality simplifies the job of storage administrators on the primary storage side, there are limited options for protecting this data in a way that preserves both sets of permissions. If your data protection solution does not support multi-protocol, it will not be possible to preserve both NFS and SMB access permissions.

Traditionally, Isilon users have protected their data with Isilon’s proprietary replication solution, which will only work with one Isilon system to another, or other traditional NDMP backup solutions such as Veritas and Commvault. Unfortunately, NDMP-based backup comes with all the problems of traditional backup—missed backup windows, impact to primary tiers, and unmanageable silos, to name a few—and they lack the flexibility to restore data to any other location but the original one. This cancels out much of the ease of management that enterprises hope to gain by choosing Isilon as a scale-out primary tier.

Another option is to cobble together NFS-only and SMB-only solutions, but all these become cumbersome as data grows into the hundreds of terabytes or petabyte scale.

Igneous is the only modern unstructured data management solution that supports multi-protocol data protection for Isilon. This means that organizations using Isilon to store massive amounts of unstructured data now have the option of using Igneous as a robust data protection solution, rather than relying on replication or dealing with the pitfalls of NDMP-based legacy solutions.

How Does Igneous’ Multi-Protocol Support Work?

When backing up data from Isilon to Igneous, administrators need only specify their desired data protection policies on directories.  They don’t need to identify if the data is NFS or SMB; all data can be simply managed as Isilon.

The backup will be fully representative of your source system—capturing both Windows and Unix attributes on all files. If the data needs to be restored, all attributes of the file will be preserved upon restore, including the correct access permissions. The backup can be restored to the same Isilon, another Isilon, or a completely different NAS.

Does multi-protocol present challenges for your organization’s data protection strategy? How do you overcome these challenges?

Learn more about our Isilon integration and other NAS integrations in our press release.

Read Press Release

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