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Diving Deeper into Isilon OneFS 7.0

At Thanksgiving last week, I couldn’t help but feel cheesy as I thought about all the things I was thankful for. One of the many items on my list was what we’ve been able to achieve here at Isilon this year. Two weeks ago we reached a very important internal milestone of making OneFS 7.0 available on the market.

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OneFS 7.0 – Bringing Scale-Out into the Heart of the Data Center

It’s big. It’s awesome.

Mavericks. OneFS 7.0.

I couldn’t be more excited to write about a release that has been near and dear to my heart for the last year and a half. Immediately following the acquisition of Isilon by EMC, we embarked on a tremendous effort to bring Scale-Out NAS to the mainstream Enterprise customer while simultaneously improving the lives of our existing customers.

Our primary strategy is to invest in high growth areas where Scale-Out NAS can make a tremendous difference to business and the lives of the individuals. These include, but are not limited to, areas such as Home Directories/File Shares, Technical Computing Applications, and Online Archives – all at scale. We see a broad desire for scale in these workloads across the Enterprise and Commercial segments, as well from a Line of Business and Vertical Market perspective.

With Mavericks we focused on four key areas: Security, Data Performance, Data Protection, and Interoperability. Let’s ride the Mavericks’ wave together:

Security

OneFS is built on a strong foundation of Enterprise security. In OneFS 7.0, Isilon extends the simplicity and scalability of Scale-Out NAS into two key environments – private cloud and compliance. In OneFS 7.0, we are introducing new security capabilities:

  • Authentication Zones, to allow departments that require separation to co-exist in the same storage
  • Roles-based administration, which protects from security breaches to the infrastructure
  • An extended SmartLock application which delivers SEC 17a-4 compliant storage

Data Protection

OneFS was designed from the ground up to have a scalable data protection model. Rather than being designed around traditional RAID technologies, OneFS protects data rather than devices – and protects that data across multiple nodes. With OneFS 7.0, we’ve introduced new data protection capabilities in the existing SnapshotIQ, SyncIQ, and SmartPools technologies, which make Scale-Out applicable for a wider range of critical information. The degree to which information can be efficiently protected has never been more simple or scalable.

Performance

OneFS is a next-generation scale-out storage architecture that enables customers to scale capacity and performance together.

In OneFS 7.0 we’ve improved concurrent access to individual files, which both improves the I/O rate of non-sequential applications, but also doubles single-stream sequential applications. The 7.0 release extends the applicability of OneFS into non-sequential and smaller block I/O workflows. In short, OneFS 7.0 makes scale-out applicable for a much wider set of performance-sensitive applications.

Interoperability

OneFS supports all industry-standard protocols: NFS, SMB/CIFS, HTTP and FTP. Earlier in 2012, Isilon led the storage industry by announcing native support for the Hadoop file protocol, HDFS.

In this release, we are providing specific integration with VMware through the VAAI and VASA APIs. These APIs, in combination with per-file cloning technologies and lower latency, significantly improve the virtualization experience on OneFS.

So all in all, scale-out has never been more accessible to Enterprise IT than it is today with OneFS 7.0. The set of applications, workloads, and use cases where scale-out technology dramatically improves performance, simplifies management, and increase efficiency have never been greater. The tipping point has been reached; with OneFS 7.0, EMC Isilon is the first enterprise storage vendor to bring scale-out into the heart of the data center.

ENCODE Consortium Utilizing Isilon Scalable Storage for Genome Research

The use of Isilon Scalable NAS Storage for Life Science research and applications is a core enabler of research productivity. The amount of data stored, accessed and analyzed is incredible and growing exponentially so naturally, improving the cost and workflow efficiency of utilizing the data is critical increasing the speed and results of the research.

A recent article on ScientificAmerican.com details some of the work that the ENCODE consortium has done to map and inventory previously hidden switches, signals and signposts in the human DNA. In the photo of Ewan Birney, who led the analysis from European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, England, we couldn’t help but glow a little when seeing him next to stacks of Isilon equipment.  Learn more about Isilon solutions for Life Sciences here.

2012 To Do: Bring an Enterprise-Ready Hadoop Solution to Market. Check!

We’re rooting for Hadoop here at EMC Isilon. It’s a fantastic platform and has tremendous potential to help enterprises with big data. Today, we’re very proud to announce significant innovation as we accelerate the enterprise adoption of Hadoop:

EMC Isilon’s OneFS 6.5 now natively integrates the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) protocol, thus becoming the industry’s first scale-out NAS system with native Hadoop support!

In a nut-shell, this means that all companies with Hadoop deployments, or who are thinking of deploying Hadoop, can easily build that right onto their Isilon storage system without the usual headaches of integration, reliability and availability concerns.

As the amount of Big Data continues to grow, enterprises are struggling to store, manage, protect, and analyze both structured and unstructured data. Up to now, early adopters of Hadoop have relied on makeshift storage infrastructures that are not optimized for Big Data, and have run into integration issues caused by inconsistent and unreliable vendor support for Hadoop.

With native HDFS support, Isilon removes risks associated with Hadoop deployments – like single point of failure issue associated with traditional HDFS implementations. Isilon data storage solutions leverage built-in bullet-proof enterprise data protection functionality to ensure always-on availability Hadoop applications.

This is highly innovative – unlike other enterprise vendors that are layering Hadoop on the top of their storage stack, here at EMC Isilon we have implemented the NameNode and DataNode protocols natively. In other words, we’ve removed the nascent storage from the Hadoop stack without affecting the applications – seamlessly bringing ten years of file system maturity, enterprise data protection, and the simplicity of Scale-Out NAS!

Pretty cool, right? That’s not all!

EMC will also offer Greenplum HD with Isilon – providing the first end-to-end Hadoop solution, supported by EMC’s Global Services organization in providing services, training and certification, and customer support. It doesn’t get better-rounded than this – storage, analytics, and all kinds of support from ONE single vendor.

We’re bringing it all in one simple, scalable and effective solution that will help companies and organizations of all sizes and industries to adopt open-source data analytics. Natively integrating HDFS into a storage array is a great leap forward, and joining forces with Greenplum to bring forth enterprise-grade Hadoop is a big opportunity for us in this space and we’re confident that it’ll be a game-changer in 2012.

A customer use-case:

Hadoop environments make a lot of sense for our enterprise customers. For example, Purdue University has already deployed EMC Isilon with HDFS for researchers in its statistics department. The university didn’t have a central storage infrastructure which caused major headaches for its small IT staff that had to manage many different disparate islands of data without consistent protection or performance.

After deploying the solution, Purdue was able to implement a highly reliable and flexible storage infrastructure that protected data from loss or corruption and eliminated the need to migrate data between storage silos which immediately delivered accessibility and significantly higher performance. As a result, not only was Purdue able to reduce management costs, but it is now able to provide fast and reliable delivery of data to its statisticians so they could instead focus on science rather than technology woes.

Fired up for 2012!

I’m so excited – no, wait, scratch that. I’M FIRED UP for what’s in store for 2012 here at Isilon! As great as 2011 was, this next year has even more industry game changers in store.

Since joining the EMC family, we’ve been on quite the ride as our parent company has taken our solutions into new use cases, environments and industries. This opportunity to grow our customer footprint has fueled our innovation juices even more and we’re ready to capitalize on the new prospects.

Here’s a peek at what’s behind the curtain in the New Year:

  • Standardizing on OneFS 6.5 – We’re continuing to drive adoption of the latest version of OneFS to ensure that every customer is getting nothing short of world-class support and enterprise viability. This won’t be an easy feat with so many new customers, but we’re determined to do so to ensure our trademark Isilon quality. We’ve heard from many customers that it’s our OS that is really the selling point of Isilon (not just the stellar architecture), so we want to make sure all our customers have the latest and greatest.
  • Taking Big Data Mainstream – Early in 2012, we’ll be making a series of announcements related to big data, including new solutions that will help the mainstream enterprise extract maximum value from big data stores. Much more detail to come on this soon, so stay tuned!
  • Setting the Standard in Scale-out – You’ve all heard the pretenders out there shouting “scale-out” again and again, but when you see what we roll out in 2012, there won’t be any more debate as to who the standard bearer is (as if there really was now ;). But it’s not about tooting our own horn (okay, maybe a little), it’s about delivering what our customers are asking for. And, as EMC has taken us deep into the enterprise data center, we’re preparing to deliver exactly what enterprise customers need – many times over.
  • Cloud, Virtualization and Beyond – I’d included some awesome insight into where we’re taking OneFS in terms of the cloud and virtualization, but the lawyers scrubbed it out, so you’ll just have to take my word, we’re taking the phrase “journey to the cloud” to a whole new level next year!

Without a doubt, we’ve got tons in store in the New Year. So, get ready, get excited and prepare to have your mind blown.

It’s Been a Record-Setting, Lunar Landing, Wham Bam Slam of a Year!

WOW. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since Isilon joined the EMC family. Where does the time go?!

Actually, I can tell you where it went, at least in Isilon’s case. Since last December, when our merger with EMC became official, we’ve been working hard to deliver the industry’s best scale-out NAS solutions to existing and new customers, exceed EMC’s revenue expectations for us, raise our profile at important industry events, release new products, partner with tech giants, break speed records, and settle into our new digs. Just to name a few things…

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been up to in the last year:

  • Exceeding financial expectations. EMC’s Big Data solutions, which include Isilon, EMC Atmos and EMC Greenplum, have more than doubled in revenues year over year in the second quarter and third quarter of 2011.
  • Great new customers. Since last December, we’ve announced 14 of the hundreds of new customers we’ve acquired in 2012, all of them doing important and downright amazing work. Just two examples: Our technology is helping the Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Exploration identify ideal landing sites on the Moon. And we’re enabling animators at LAIKA, the studio behind the Oscar-nominated animated film Coraline, to spend more time on creative work and less time waiting for huge rendering jobs to finish.

During 2011, Isilon played an increasingly important role in gene sequencing, petroleum research and exploration, renewable energy research, and cloud computing services. And pretty soon, you’ll be hearing about new customers in sectors we’re just beginning to play in, like the automotive industry.

  • Introducing new products. Along with our new 108NL scale-out NAS hardware, we announced new generations of products to deliver amazing Big Data performance: our Isilon S200 and X200 nodes; version 6.5 of our OneFS operating system; and version 3.0 of SyncIQ (the industry’s only scale-out replication solution).
  • Partnering with tech leaders. In 2011, EMC Isilon joined forces with Cisco, because Big Data needs a Really Big Network, andAdobe Systems, to give media/broadcast customers a top-notch video production system that integrates Adobe’s software with our hardware.
  • Breaking performance test records. Our S200 scale-out NAS system became the new industry performance leader, based on independent benchmark measurements from the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. SPEC’s testing data measures networked file performance and overall response times and found that the S200 delivered more than doubled the performance of our competitors.
  • Raising our profile. At this year’s EMC World in Vegas, our CEO Sujal Patel kicked things off with big news: the announcement of our new 108NL scale-out NAS hardware product, which can scale all the way to a whopping 15.5 petabytes, Its the world’s largest single file system and single volume (not braggin’, just sayin’)!

At EMC World, we hosted the first EMC Big Data Storage Summit. The summit explored new perspectives and challenge current theories on how to extract the most value from the world’s data. We also talked about how to help data scientists with the tools, education and resources they need to succeed and how we can use Big Data to make a difference in our world.

Our CTO Paul Rutherford shared his ideas about unlocking Big Data’s full potential at theGartner Data Center Conference. And at this year’s biggest high performance computing conference, Supercomputing ’11, I gave astanding-room-only talkabout how scale-out NAS can help organizations manage their Big Data efficiently.

  • Moving into a new HQ. Two months ago, we packed up andmoved to Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. Why? We needed space for the extra 200 employees we’ll be hiring (not to mention for the huge flat-screen TV and barista service in our new employee café).

It was an awesome year for us—and we hope for you as well. As 2011 appears in our collective rear-view mirrors, let’s all take a moment to be grateful for what we learned and accomplished. And then, let’s shift our focus to 2012 and the road ahead. Here’s to a year full of big dreams, big ideas, big achievements, and, of course, Big Data!

Happy Holidays to all!

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