40 Days @ Isilon

In one word – wow! What a first forty days it’s been at Isilon. I’m delighted to be able to blog again, and I thought I’d start out with an overview of my time here so far. But, before I do so, I realize some of you may not know me. I’m Rob Peglar, formerly of Xiotech, and now CTO of the Americas at Isilon. Many of you have expressed kind words to me on my move to Isilon, to which I owe all of you great thanks. It’s never easy making a change – especially after more than a decade – but everyone here at Isilon has been absolutely great, as well as many of my industry counterparts.

The excitement at Isilon is truly palpable. When I interviewed with the senior executives, it came through loud and clear – but when I officially joined, it was deafening, a hundred cannons firing simultaneously. The pace of engineering work, the marketing growth, the sales momentum, the industry and (most importantly) customer reaction to our new product releases, the technology prowess, and a zillion other things about Isilon are top-shelf. I am indeed fortunate to have joined at this point in Isilon’s history.

Best of all, perhaps, has been the interaction with EMC. Truth be told, I had more than one close friend give me ‘gentle warnings’ about EMC before I joined – but I can say that in my 34th year in the industry, I couldn’t be happier with the way EMC has interacted with me personally and with Isilon in general. It is a great feeling to have the leading information company on the planet behind your efforts. Personally, in the Americas, I’ve had tons of contacts from EMC people, across many divisions. The portfolio is superb – and improving constantly, rapidly innovating. The support from my fellow CTOs at EMC is rock solid.

Finally, lest you think this blog is just a ‘pep talk’ about Isilon – it’s not. I’ve only worked for four companies in 34 years, and I wouldn’t have joined without current technology and what’s to come being absolutely top-shelf. Isilon’s CTO Paul Rutherford is doing a brilliant job at this. Isilon’s approach to scale-out is truly optimal – one glance around the research papers from both academia and industry will tell you. Very large clusters, symmetric metadata, low-latency interconnect, and single filesystem are the correct way to design a system for today and tomorrow. We are leveraging all the correct ‘curves’ – CPU, interconnect, protocols, bandwidth, and many others. But the key to all the improvements in hardware is the file system and software – and that’s where Isilon has a distinct advantage. There is something to be said for sixth-generation expertise and experience in very large symmetric cluster design, one that cannot be matched in the industry. That’s what drew me to Isilon – without killer design, a killer approach to architecture, there is no ‘nerd fun’ in work – and those that know me know I am a storage nerd at heart.

So, onward past 40 days – no biblical pun intended – and I believe the next 40, the next 400, the next 4,000 will be as good as the first 40, if not better. The future is very bright for Isilon in particular and big data, big analysis, big single file systems in general. The compute world is inexorably moving towards what Isilon has been good at for years. I look forward to being able to work with the many people who are using and will be using in the future what we do so well – keeping things simple.

About the Author: Robert Peglar