UPDATED 13:38 EDT / MAY 12 2013

EMC’s Software-defined Storage Strategy Centers on Isilon, Says Wikibon

EMC’s got a lot of moving parts, building what it calls a federation of companies all working together to serve a cohesive set of tools for building your data center.  Wikibon co-founder and CTO David Floyer named Isilon storage a “key component”
of EMC’s scale-out cloud storage architecture. The company’s goal is to support a broad range of cloud and Big Data solutions, including its own products, competing offerings and open-source frameworks.

EMC has incorporated the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) into OneFS, Isilon’s recently upgraded NAS operating system, with this objective in mind. At EMC World 2013, the company revealed that it has extended the integration to Hadoop 2.0 and Greenplum’s Pivotal HD distribution. Isilon also supports the latest release of Syncplicity, which allows organizations to manage data across both private and public clouds. Floyer writes that this new functionality can help internal IT departments match the quality of services offered by solutions such as Box and Citrix FileShare.

The third element of EMC’s software-defined strategy is the newly announced ViPR platform, a storage management solution that decouples the control plane from the data plane and leverages OneFS to consolidate file and object storage. The latter feature enables ViPR to support object-base cloud services such as Amazon S3 and EMC’s Atmos service.

Lastly, Isilon is compatible with Vblocks. According to Floyer, the combination reduces the time and risk associated with implementing VCE’s modular cloud architecture. He summarizes:

“A broad set of file-based solutions is available on the market. EMC has a rich set of functionality in the Isilon product and has an aggressive investment program. Wikibon recommends that the EMC Isilon should be included in new RFPs for NFS enterprise storage.” Floyer adds that the competition is fierce, and “only time will tell if EMC can gain a foothold in the cloud service marketplace and become the long-term, low-cost high volume provider.”

EMC Isilon president Bill Richter sees eye to eye with Floyer.  He told SiliconAngle founding editor John Furrier and Wikibon co-founder and chief analyst Dave Vellante that customers are gravitating towards his group’s technology because it adds value to their businesses, saying  “the only way to do more by using less is by transforming the way you do business and the tools that you use.”

Richter believes that Isilon’s Big Data value proposition is the linchpin that transformed the company into a $1 billion operation after EMC picked up it in late 2010, back when it was a $50 million business. Brian Smith of Epiq Systems agrees wholeheartedly.

Epiq is a provider of eDisovery solutions that currently processes 2 to 4 terabytes of customer data a day. The firm deployed Isilon because it needed a solution that can accommodate its growing environment, which doubles in size every 12 months.

Smith revealed in an interview at last week’s EMC World 2013 that his company chose Isilon over competing solutions because of its scalability. The engineer explained the technology delivers a simple and cost effective means to scale one node at a time.


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