It’s Dell Technologies World this week in Las Vegas and the first announcement of interest is the future offering of the Isilon NAS platform on Google Cloud Platform.  The details of Isilon Cloud on GCP are scant, to say the least.  All I’ve found so far is this community post (link).  With little to go on, that means we can speculate on what to expect.

What We Know

So far we know that Isilon on GCP is in early access.  It looks like the deployment is hardware, with access to GCP compute instances.  Dell EMC will be providing support.  The implementation is fully featured and managed through OneFS as with on-premises installations.  Getting involved means talking to a Dell Sales Representative.

What We Don’t Know

This list is of course, much larger.  With the luxury of having seen NetApp implement ONTAP both as a cloud offering and within Microsoft Azure, lots of questions come to mind.

  • Will customers be able to bring existing licences?  In general, how will the offering be licensed (per hour, per TB)?
  • Will I be able to connect on-premises installations to cloud ones?
  • How does this solution compare to IsilonSD Edge?  Can I run this on GCP too?
  • What performance levels are being offered?
  • What SLAs are being offered for availability?
  • How deep does the native integration with GCP go?
  • Can I buy directly from a marketplace?
  • Can I share data already stored in CloudPools?

So it’s easy to ask questions when little information gets given out.  However, this part of the market is competitive.  Forcing engagement with Dell EMC sales to find out more is straight out of a 1980’s IBM playbook.

Cloud Native

NetApp has had Cloud ONTAP for some time.  There are other competitors already selling into Cloud such as ZadaraQumulo and WekaIO.  NetApp, for example, has already demonstrated their platform, which can be purchased directly, without the need to speak to a NetApp sales person.  These solutions have been designed not just to run in the cloud, but to be purchased on a more cloud-like model.  There are also platform-integrated solutions from Red Hat that could be run cloud-native.

The Architect’s View

I am hoping that Dell EMC will provide more information soon, but it appears that Isilon Cloud is more “me too” than a genuine step forward.  With a market that already has so many mature solutions, Dell EMC should have made this announcement when there was more substance to the offering.  There are too many questions to be asked for something that has been announced almost as a side comment.

I know many (Dell) EMC folks read this blog, so feel free to prove me wrong and point to more resources so I can write about it.  I’d like to believe Dell Technologies has a joined-up storage/cloud strategy, but I’m just not seeing it.

Further Reading

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Disclaimer: NetApp is a customer of Brookend Ltd.

Written by Chris Evans

With 30+ years in IT, Chris has worked on everything from mainframe to open platforms, Windows and more. During that time, he has focused on storage, developed software and even co-founded a music company in the late 1990s. These days it's all about analysis, advice and consultancy.