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Flash arrays is the fastest growing business within EMC, & fastest growing array on the planet: Amit Mehta, EMC

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EMC Corporation recently launched the next generation of its EMC Isilon scale-out NAS Data Lake, which includes new products, features and capabilities that allow enterprises to scale easily to edge locations as well as to public clouds. The 2.0 version of EMC Isilon Data Lake is expected to be available in India by first half of 2016.

In an interview with EC’s Rashi Varshney, Amit Mehta, Country Manager, Isilon Storage Division at EMC India & SAARC explained about the latest 2.0 version of Isilon Datalake strategy and shared EMC’s plan for 2016 in India.

Edited Excerpts

EMC recently launched 2.0 version of Isilon Datalake, how has been the journey from 1.0 version to 2.0 version and what triggered this strategy?

EMC acquired Isilon in 2010 and it has been one of the fastest growing businesses of EMC with it being the number one scale out architectural globally. Our specialization is dealing with unstructured workloads. What has fueled our growth is the growth of unstructured workloads. When we launched Data Lake, our strategy was that customers in order to transform their businesses need insights into data, but the problem is the data organization resides in silos. So we did a survey that revealed that a third of the companies that we served in the big data survey said that they cannot make use of the data as it resides in silos. Hence, IDC came up with the concept of Data Lake. A Data Lake is a single source of storage for all the unstructured data, logs, files etc. Should the customers want to transform their business into business insights, one can store all data in a Data Lake based on Isilon with the implying benefits of reduction in TCO by 46%. On top of that, there is also a provision of employing Hadoop analytics.

So then Data Lake 2.0 was rolled out in November this year.

We realized that the customers do not have data just in one location, but they have data sitting in branches and on the cloud. So the Data Lake cannot be in one site only, it needs to be extended. Hence to extend Data Lake which should be affordable, should leverage existing investing in clouds etc., we came up with an offering called Isilon SD Edge in the latest version which was a software only product which one can deploy on hardware that they buy. Give them a newer entry point for embracing our solutions at the branch. At the core we harden our software, where the customer can non- disruptively upgrade from one version to another with no downtime for upgrades and the option of always returning to the previous version if the results are not satisfactory.

We also launched a solution called Cloud Pools which enable customers to tier the data to cloud. In an enterprise, you have different buckets of data, you have hot data which you are using frequently and you have cold data which you don’t use frequently. But the cold data continues to sit in an expensive storage box.

Through the solution, we are able to automatically know the different kind of data and move it across different storage types. In Data Lake 2.0, one can now move data to the cloud. It gives the customers the benefit of OPEX, it being cheaper enabling more innovation work. One can automatically move data to an Amazon Cloud or their own cloud.

In Isilon 1.0, what were the grievances of your clients which you have fixed in 2.0?

Location was one of the key challenges that we have addressed by Data Lake 2.0, we have now extended it. Customers were interested to know if there was a lower entry cost point available and we have provided that. Secondly, it was important to integrate the solution with the existing investment in cloud. We have been able to provide cost sensitive solution by leveraging cloud. Also, while upgrading, there is no downtime involved in the process and hence that provides a certain amount of security to the IT person at an organization.

How easy it is sink in with the enterprise’s legacy system?

The best part of Isilon was that all the unstructured protocols were natively supported. What it means is that it gives you the ability to talk to multiple sources of unstructured data and natively support the protocols. So all the protocols were there, NFS, CIFS, SNB, Hadoop, HTTP, etc. The customer did not have to stand up multiple systems for multiple workloads. Up until then there was one system for one workload, another for another workload, with Isilon that was not the need.

How important is India market for you? How has India been in comparison with other markets when it comes to the adoption of Isilon?

Globally we have 6500 customers. This is a billion dollar plus worth of business with EMC growing at 30%. It’s a very strong business. Even EMC within India, we have huge cases and this is the fastest growing business from the perspective of unstructured Data Lake workload for us. There is immense potential in the sectors like Government, City Surveillance, Telecom and media/entertainment, etc. that have large data sets.

Can you please share a video surveillance use case?

Pune city surveillance is a project that we handle. We just secured another big city surveillance project. City surveillance is one of our big use cases because their data tends to be in petabytes.

What is EMC’s strategy for 2016 for India? 

We have completed around 15 years in India and we have 33% points from market share. We have been leading that in about last 7-8 quarters now. Much of what we do this year we will continue towards our GTM. The IT momentum and hence the industry that is growing. All the initiatives around smart cities and digital India are industries we play directly into. There is plenty of opportunity in the telecom space around analytics, unstructured data, around giving customers propositions around flash arrays. Flash arrays are one of the fastest growing businesses within EMC right now, fastest growing array on the planet. We have immense opportunities in BSFI with new banking licenses.

Do you plan to do something for start-ups in technology?

There is a lot of meaningful participation happening towards start-ups. One is, from cloud perspective, we can give them interesting consumption models from our service provider partners like Tata Communications and Netmagic through their cloud services. Second is predictive analytics. Start-ups have huge requirements of unstructured data sets so Isilon for instance fits in very well because they will need to run Hadoop. Predictive analytics running with Hadoop on Isilon is a big use case for them. The other thing that people ignore is backup portfolio, security of data and how are their backups. The complete back up portfolio which now also backs up services to the cloud. With the back-up portfolio we can now back up enterprise and also offline. So we can give them some very interesting backup solutions. So cloud, data center, Hadoop and unstructured data, backup solutions are all solutions they can gain from us.

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