High Performance Collaboration: EMC’s Isilon and the Modern Healthcare Industry


Hospital departments and healthcare providers have a unique set of requirements when it comes to data storage and IT management. They need secure and encrypted large-scale information at their fingertips in an IT structure that is fast, scalable and cost efficient.

While many healthcare services have found this to be a challenging step in the modernization of their enterprises, Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston have both successfully implemented EMC’s Isilon, and their hospitals are thriving! In fact Children’s Hospital Boston is able to continue critical research 24/7, 365 days a year, anywhere and any time, making them a leader in their field of children’s medicine.

Isilon by EMC has been carefully crafted and developed to provide niche services and products to specially meet the needs of the healthcare industry, amongst others (including but not limited to, oil and gas, media and entertainment, and life sciences). What makes Isilon unique is it’s three-layer storage architecture that offers a file system, volume manager and data protection all in one single layer.

Sensitive information is encrypted and stored securely in network-attached-storage solutions (NAS) but still allows for web collaboration in the medical research and education communities.  Data is unified and has scalable performance, meaning it can integrate with any IT infrastructure without risking data loss or corruption. Plus it offers seamless integration with various operating systems, and most importantly, it is cost effective!

So imagine an IT system that can store thousands of patient videos and photos, white papers, research data and have access to all the other hospital records at the touch of a button. Isilon delivers that!

John Halamka, CIO at Harvard Medical School had this to say about their experience deploying Isilon: “We’ve successfully deployed more than half a petabyte of Isilon to our many stakeholders to serve a variety of functions. It connects to our 1000 node supercomputing cluster to support the genomic and image analysis needs of the research community. It connects to our Learning Management System to support the multimedia needs of hundreds of courses. And it hosts the web applications that support many administrative workflows. We’ve been able to add capacity as demand increases and keep costs in line with demand.”


Because Isilon can securely store and manage data without any downtime or limits on file size, it is able to supply medical facilities with a competitive edge by keeping doctors, scientists and medical personnel motivated and connected. And it offers excellent teaching moments while speeding up systems for patients.

Apart from hospitals and medical centers, pharmaceutical companies require their IT systems to support R&D quickly and effectively too. They need to continue innovation and development of new drugs and products to keep them ahead of their competitors. Traditionally pharmaceutical departments worked independently on their own data and research, but now competitive advantage can be gained form sharing this data, hence the need for HPC (high performance computing).

Part of Isilon’s packages includes solutions for Hadoop Analytics (big data analytics at a lower cost without added IT infrastructure), Video Surveillance Solutions (management of large digital IP surveillance networks), and VDI solutions with XtremeIO and Isilon (low cost outstanding desktop experience for users including big data storage solutions).

Isilon is just another way that EMC is helping enterprises transform their operations to deliver IT as a service. EMC accelerates this journey to cloud computing through innovative products like Isilon, which stores, protects and scales data in a cost effective and efficient way.

Find out more about Isilon and other EMC products and services for the healthcare industry here.

About the Author: Dell Technologies