* Posts by Lucas Welch

2 posts • joined 27 Jul 2009

Storage start-ups fail to set the world on fire

Lucas Welch


Thanks for your thoughtful response. Your points are well taken and we at Isilon agree with your approach. Storage should not require you to change how applications run but should instead simplify data management and streamline operations for file-based applications. In fact, this very value proposition is why more than 1000 customers across a wide variety of enterprise industries selected Isilon IQ as their primary storage solution – Isilon solved their file-based data storage challenge by not forcing them to make a choice between performance/ capacity or applications/costs, delivering complete flexibility in managing file-based data growth, streamlining IT operations, and accelerating application performance.

From our perspective, our products key differentiator is ‘scale-out’. Unlike traditional, scale-up storage that requires a forklift upgrade to scale storage capacity/performance, scale-out storage allows you to scale by simply adding nodes to your cluster. It also means that as you scale your unit of management remains ONE – a single volume as opposed to multiple RAID groups, LUNs, and file system. The complexity of multiple LUNs, volumes, and so on created by traditional storage is a fundamental pain point our customers are trying to solve when replacing single-head RAID based system with Isilon IQ.

Via our operating system OneFS, Isilon provides a holistic data management solution combining industry-standard hardware components (Intel CPU, Ethernet, and SAS/SATA disks) with industry-leading data protection, replication, and capacity provisioning, providing a single, highly scalable, high performance, shared pool of storage, clearly differentiating Isilon from other “scale-out” systems. In short you don’t need to change you application environment to take advantage of a much simpler, flexible, and more scalable storage architecture that reduces operating expenses and increases workflow productivity.

Lucas Welch

A Different View

According to IDC, file-based data will account for nearly 80 percent of all data within the enterprise by 2012. This seems to point to a very real challenge – how to cost-effectively store and manage such rapid file-based data growth?

Today’s traditional, scale-up solutions were simply not designed to answer this question. And, as of now, none of the major storage players have demonstrated an ability to engineer and bring to market a viable, enterprise-ready, scale-out NAS product. This appears evident when you review the rising cost of OPEX related to enterprise storage management.

Meanwhile, more than 1000 customers across the enterprise, including mainstream industries such as Manufacturing and Pharma, are using Isilon scale-out NAS because the growth of their file-based data had overwhelmed their traditional storage systems and Isilon was clearly the best solution to address their challenges going forward.

More than 250 storage start-ups followed Isilon into the marketplace in 2001. Regardless of market opportunity, this was never going to be sustainable. Today, market forces have winnowed the field down to the companies with the most competitive and value-driven offerings. With file-based data growth showing no signs of slowing, it seems clear the challenges inherent in skyrocketing stores of file-based data are making scale-out solutions more viable in the enterprise than ever before.

Finally, mainstream adoption typically follows “niche” markets who compose the first wave of adoption. Today we are witnessing the next wave, with the greatest uptick in adoption coming from mainstream enterprise businesses experiencing the same file-based data challenges the “niche” markets experienced a few years ago.

- Lucas Welch, Isilon Systems



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