Scale-out NAS – the “new or exotic” technology that Gartner says is needed for Big Data?

Two days ago, Gartner announced its annual “strategic technologies” predictions which it presented at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. We’ve been a bit busy ourselves this week with the new headquarters opening (check out Curt Woodward’s coverage of the event in Xconomy), so I just checked out Gartner’s report myself.

Among nine other trends, Gartner looks at how Big Data will change the enterprise in the next three years. Until now, it seems, Big Data was a Big Deal for niche industries – media & entertainment, life sciences, oil & gas. Anyone with any high-performance computing needs knew the Isilon name REALLY well (catch us geeking out at SC’11 at booth # 2609 in November).

This year we saw a complete transition, and Gartner says it has “potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years.” Big Data isn’t just for the geeky scientists and artists any more. It’s for everyone in every realm of the enterprise world – from HR, to sales, to marketing, to finance, to operations, to the sweetspot – the C-suite.

In yesterday’s announcement Gartner says, “One major implication of big data is that in the future, users will not be able to put all useful information into a single data warehouse.” That’s certainly true, and I think our customers have already figured that out, so it’s not really “in the future.” What I think is interesting is the other end of that: pulling data OUT of that warehouse – accessing it and making is actionable – will become more and more difficult.

A lot is currently being asked about “how do we analyze this data?” But no one is asking about the middle step: Now that the data is stored and we know we need to analyze it, how does ops, finance, marketing and sales all access this data at the same time to analyze it for their own separate uses?

It seems like a very basic question, but the influx of data isn’t just making storing it more challenging, Connectivity, latency, and significantly creased demand for data makes accessing it just as difficult.

Scale-out NAS is built specifically for the purpose of on-demand storage of large amounts of data of all different formats and allowing multiple access points to that data, whether it’s to users, or to applications that need to pull that data for formatted delivery to users.

Gartner says that “new and exotic” technologies will be needed to manage the volume of data growing in the enterprise. We’ve been here in Seattle for 10 years and our thousands of customers are thrilled with the new and exotic capabilities they gain in Big Data storage, access and management when they deploy our Isilon scale-out NAS systems. So maybe “new and exotic” is really a relative descriptor… New for those who haven’t experienced true scale-out NAS, and exotic to those who have never been to the growing high-tech mecca of Seattle?

About the Author: Nick Kirsch