Think BIG, Think Fast

And so here we are – the beginning of the best week ever!

Okay, okay, I’m getting carried away, but if you read my last post, you know that this week is a big week for EMC Isilon and from where I am at NAB in Las Vegas, the excitement is buzzing like power lines on the highway. Why? Because today, Isilon announced the next generation of both our hardware and software platforms with the release of:

  • Our industry-leading, OneFS 6.5 scale-out operating system
  • SyncIQ 3.0, the best in scale-out replication
  • The S200, our highest node for transactional IOPS
  • The X200, the best blend of price and performance
  • The press release (here) and product pages (see above) have plenty of info on these products specifications, capabilities and so forth, so I won’t spend our time on the speeds and feeds. What I will do, however, is talk about what the heck these products do in real, big data environments.

Oh, there it is again, that term: BIG data. I’ve touched on BIG data previously, and you’ve no doubt heard a lot about it from EMC, Isilon and many others, but what’s all the fuss about? Well, in short, there is now simply more data than traditional storage/IT can manage. So, big data is a big challenge. But, if you deploy the right IT solutions – storage, analytics and services solutions architected specifically for big data workflows – then big data becomes a BIG opportunity: an opportunity to get much more from data than ever before.

My colleague Chuck Hollis has written some insightful commentary on big data, its challenges and its opportunity, so for more on what big data is, I definitely recommend checking out his blog.

Now where was I? Oh yes, our new products in the real world. You see, big data isn’t just about capacity, but performance, too… What do I mean? Let’s take a look at a few examples:, the world’s largest collection of historical family information, is growing almost as quickly as the planet’s population. They have over 2 PBs of our previous generation hardware installed, servicing millions of customers. By deploying OneFS v6.5, was able to significantly accelerate their users access (leveraging our new, native CIFS stack and Microsoft’s SMBv2.) In addition, relies on SyncIQ to provide business continuance – and with SyncIQ v3.0, they have also seen a dramatic reduction in their RPO.

Being able to service customers faster and protect data more effectively as an environment scales gives companies like the ability to extend their product offerings and provide better opportunities for their customers. That’s BIG data in action – and these benefits came with nothing but a software upgrade.

Sony Imageworks, the Academy Award-winning visual special effects studio, naturally demands the highest in performance for the tier one rendering environment. Isilon was already servicing their tier-2 and tier-3 workflows, but the performance improvements in the S200 hardware and OneFS v6.5 made Isilon a clear choice for tier-1. This is now Sony’s highest performing, most scalable render environment ever. That’s what I call BIG performance for BIG data.

Sony has not only accelerated their tier-1, but by leveraging SmartPools (something you’ve heard about previously) they now have a SINGLE file system for tier-1 through tier-3. If you’ve ever had to move shots about, put in policies to coordinate data movement between knowledge workers and high compute environments, or simply deal with multiple file systems, then you can imagine what a huge boost it is for productivity. A single file system built on the S200, the X200, and the NL-Series enables Sony to accelerate their time-to-market for great block blusters. It also gives them the BIG opportunity to focus their core IT on new innovative techniques for their business. That’s an opportunity every organization deserves.

Now, these are just two examples of how our new products deliver performance capable of turning BIG data into big opportunity. The S200 and X200 are fantastic platforms, but as we all know, the true magic is in OneFS v6.5 – and I’ve only scratched the surface of the new capabilities. Come by our booth at NAB for a media-centric demonstration leveraging both of these platforms, take a peek inside the hardware, or grab me and one of my peers and we’ll knock your socks off.

Do you have a big data story to tell? Leave a comment here and let me know what it’s all about. And, if you think you’ve got something special going on, I highly recommend applying for EMC’s Data Hero Awards here, for a chance at some major prizes. But hurry, applications are due April 22.

About the Author: Nick Kirsch