Scale-Out, the ideal architecture for the growing Digital Universe

This month, we released the EMC Digital Universe study with Research & Analysis by IDC. The study quantifies and forecasts the amount of data produced annually through 2020. The digital universe is growing at 40% a year. It is almost doubling in size every 2 years and by 2020 the digital universe – the data we create and copy annually – will reach 44 zettabytes or 44 trillion gigabytes.  Visualize the digital universe here.

Digital Universe


We, at EMC Isilon, saw this unprecedented growth in data happening over a decade back, even before the term “Big Data” was coined. We first saw the need in Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry to store and process large unstructured data sets. We saw it quickly scale out (pun intended) to applications across other verticals. The prevailing storage architecture of Direct Attached Storage (DAS) wasn’t cutting it. Even traditional Network Attached Storage (NAS) had limitations because it resulted in islands of storage that had to be independently managed. Storage was unbalanced as one volume was full while another was half-empty leaving administrators with the unpleasant talk of juggling data. All of this led to poor storage utilization rates.

We knew then that there was a need for a scale-out file storage architecture that was simple to manage but yet could effectively and easily meet the needs of the business. Remember, simple is smart! Admins would tell us that sometimes they just needed to expand the capacity of the file system as needed. We provide the ability for a single volume, single file system to incrementally scale capacity from 18TB up to 20PB in under a minute!  Or, you can add performance by adding more nodes to meet your workload demands. Buying capacity and performance as needed helps you plan better and optimize purchase from a CAPEX perspective. In a single volume, you can mix SSD, SAS, and SATA drives based on what your workloads need without increasing the management complexity.  You’ve told us that you need storage agility in that you may not know what additional workloads you may need storage capacity for and that you need to react quickly. And, that is what we’ve provided!

Think of how a single volume and a single file system can benefit users. One will never have to move data around again! Users won’t have broken shortcuts or embedded links in documents. In the face of unbridled data growth, Scale-out NAS architecture provides simplicity, scalability, storage efficiency, and agility!

Scale-Out NAS Architecture

This blog article was written by Suresh Sathyamurthy, EMC Sr. Director, Product Marketing & Communications. This post was originally published at the EMC Isilon Blog. To learn more about Sirius and EMC solutions click here or contact your Sirius client executive today.