EMC Updates Isilon Storage Platform For Mobility, Cloud, Analytics

EMC on Tuesday unveiled new workloads to its EMC Isilon scale-out NAS platform and previewed a new version of its Isilon OneFS storage operating system that is slated to soon be available with deduplication and auditing capabilities.

The EMC Isilon platform is expanding to offer not only scale-out capabilities to traditional file-based applications but also integration with data from the kind of applications increasingly permeating the data center, including mobility, analytics and the cloud, said Sam Grocott, vice president of marketing and product management for EMC.

"We're expanding our scale-out platform into new application types," Grocott said.

[Related: EMC's New Software-Defined Storage Play: Meet ViPR ]

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EMC unveiled the Isilon news at the EMC World conference being held this week in Las Vegas.

On the mobility side, EMC said integration of the Isilon platform with its Syncplicity cloud-based file sharing technology, previously previewed in January, is now ready and available for purchase.

The combination of Isilon with Syncplicity offers customers the opportunity to provide access to corporate users on an anytime, anywhere basis based on a proven storage platform, Grocott said.

"Mobility is a key area for us," he said. "For the channel, this is an integrated solution. Mobile users are moving data off-site to the cloud, which causes businesses a lot of issues. Isilon provides access to customers' data via Syncplicity without users ever going to the cloud."

On the analytics side, EMC Isilon now supports the storage of Hadoop 2.0 big data operations, including those of EMC's new Pivotal big data company and the Apache Hadoop 2.0 software.

For the cloud, EMC Isilon now supports three new ways to store next-generation applications and data, Grocott said.

The first is a new native REST API for Isilon's OneFS operating system that provides seamless access to object and file systems over public and private clouds.

David Noy, senior director of product management for EMC, said the new REST API is based on the same API used by Amazon S3. "With a bit of modification, if an application is written for S3, it can be easily rewritten for Isilon," Noy said.

The second is Isilon support for EMC's new ViPR software-defined storage platform, which EMC unveiled Monday.

"EMC's ViPR software-defined storage technology provides object access to a heterogeneous storage layer that lies between storage and the cloud," Grocott said. "It targets different types of storage from different kinds of Web-based applications."

NEXT: New Capabilities For OneFS Operating System

ViPR on the Isilon supports REST APIs for EMC Atmos, Amazon S3, and OpenStack Swift storage, EMC's Grocott said. "So channel partners looking to help customers with large-scale object storage can use ViPR on Isilon," he said.

Isilon's new support of the OpenStack Swift storage platform makes data stored on Isilon accessible to applications in OpenStack private clouds, Grocott said.

EMC's Noy said that with the upcoming "Havana" release of OpenStack scheduled for the second half of the year, customers looking to deploy OpenStack compute resources through its Nova technology will be able to access Isilon storage through an open source Cinder plug-in.

In addition to the new application support for Isilon, EMC previewed an update for the OneFS operating system with deduplication, which will be available as a service on the Isilon platform for the first time, Grocott said.

Deduplication on the Isilon platform will not yield as large a capacity savings as might be found on more standard platforms due to the types of large files stored on Isilon. Even so, customers can expect a 30-percent cut in capacity when dedupe is used, he said.

Also new with OneFS is native audit integration that allows the storing of tracking information by third-party auditing software for financial, healthcare and other regulated industries.

The update to OneFS is slated to be available by year-end. The new dedupe capability will be available with a separate licensing fee, but the auditing capability will be included at no charge, Grocott said.

The new additions to the Isilon platform have helped Isilon become the new "storage toaster" of EMC, said Dan Weiss, CEO of Varrow, a Greensboro, N.C.-based solution provider and EMC partner.

"You plug it in, turn it on, and it does its job," Weiss said. "Isilon is big for our customers unless they are in the governance and compliance mode where they need a record for every single data activity."

Given the amount of talk about software-defined data centers at the recent VMware Partner Exchange, Weiss said he is not surprised to see EMC show how important its ViPR software-defined storage technology is to its storage platforms like Isilon.

"Customers are starting to look at that technology and wondering whether they can start to forget about proprietary hardware and go with only commodity hardware," he said.