Dell aims for DNA sequencing advancements with unstructured data storage

Dell Technologies has unveiled its new all-flash Isilon scale-out NAS, aimed at delivering massive storage capability and performance for 'future-ready' unstructured data projects such as DNA sequencing.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Dell Technologies has announced the latest addition to its Isilon family, an all-flash scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) system offering up to 92.4 petabytes of storage capacity and up to 25M IOPS and 1.5TB per second of bandwidth, designed to handle next-generation applications and unstructured workloads.

Speaking at the inaugural Dell EMC World in Austin, Texas, senior vice president and general manager of Isilon Phil Bullinger said there are a number of vertical markets the organisation believes the Isilon all-flash is going to have a significant impact in, with life sciences -- in particular, DNA sequencing -- one of the markets he is most excited about.

"None of this matters unless we're actually doing something with it," he said. "We think it's going to be transformational."

Bullinger explained that with DNA sequencing comes mountains of unstructured data, with datacentres at capacity trying to keep up.

"The amount of data generated by one sequencer on one human genome is almost 6TB of data. Running 24/7, that's almost 2PB a year being generated by just one sequence -- raw data, before it's even processed," he said.

"Today, it takes about six hours to process the raw data from a sequencer into a genomic data set that you can make sense of -- that you can act upon.

"We can take that six hours down to 20 minutes."

Image: Dell EMC

Bullinger said that traditionally, all-flash array products have focused primarily on structured or block data sets and applications that support approximately 20 percent of all data in the datacentre.

However, in Dell Technologies' mission to become the one-stop shop for the entire IT stack, including servers, storage, virtualisation, and cloud infrastructure, the tech giant believes there is a growing need for IT to harness the value of unstructured data, which now accounts for 80 percent of all new data produced, managed, and stored by enterprises.

In addition to being genomic sequencing-ready, the new Isilon device can also handle unstructured workloads that require extreme NAS performance, including 4K streaming of data, electronic design automation, and near real-time analytics.

The device is big data analytics vendor-neutral, allowing the end user to choose between the likes of Hortonworks, Cloudera, Pivotal, IBM, and Splunk. It also provides four Isilon nodes within a single 4U chassis with capacity options ranging from 92TB to 924TB per chassis.

"As businesses move towards a digital future, there is an increasing need to support large-scale workloads that utilise unstructured data at unprecedented speeds," Bullinger said. "This can't be done with hardware alone; software is the key to enabling customers to modernise their datacentres, and the determining factor for the winners and losers in the all-flash market."

The new addition to the Isilon family adds to the host of new product offerings that Dell Technologies unveiled on Wednesday.

These products include: New VxRail Appliances and VxRack System 1000 hyper-converged infrastructure systems; updates to the Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage object storage platform; Isilon All-Flash Network Attached Storage, a combined strategy for SC Series storage customers; and a software-defined version of Dell EMC Data Domain protection.

Disclosure: Asha Barbaschow travelled to Dell EMC World as a guest of Dell.

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