Along with Isilon, other clustered NAS vendors include Panasas, NetApp and BluArc. Clustered NAS systems offer a more economic way to build large-scale storage infrastructures without having to invest in proprietary, monolithic arrays. Using the pNFS protocol, a clusters NAS system would be cheaper because it could use commodity servers like building blocks, adding them incrementally to clusters without disruption to the existing system.
Mike Eisler, senior technical director for NetApp and an IETF editor, said the dominant play for pNFS today and in the future will be Linux clients using the VMware hypervisor as an alternate way to virtualize disk storage.
"In terms of Linux, the foundation pieces for pNFS code got checked in last year," he said. "In terms of what the impact will be, think of PNFS as primarily a better way for NFS to utilize the network and use NFS servers and other resources on it."
Panasas's Welch, who is also on the IETF pNFS standards body, said his company's clustered NAS products is pNFS compatible today. "We're just waiting for Linux clients to become more ubiquitous. We're not gaining sales on pNFS yet," hesaid. "As the Linux client business becomes more available in the later half of 2011, you'll will hear more from vendors describing their support of pNFS."
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