One problem with using siloed storage, according to EMC Information Infrastructure president of products Jeremy Burton, is that it results in "hot spots" where part of the infrastructure is overloaded while resources are left idle elsewhere.
So EMC advocates the use of a 'data lake' that can support a wide range of applications and access methods.
Familiar methods include SMB, FTP and NFS, he said, but that's not enough for today's IT environment. For example, access to the same set of data may be required by sharing systems such as EMC's Syncplicity offering, by cloud applications via OpenStack or EMC's ViPR, or by Hadoop-based analytics, Mr Burton said.
So EMC will provide additional access methods including HDFS, REST and SWIFT so that a greater number of systems can directly process data stored on Isilon. SMB multichannel (required to support 4K video streams) has already been added, and others are on their way.
The latest version (7.1.1) of the OneFS operating system for Isilon features SmartFlash, a flash-based cache for faster access that can scale up to one petabyte in a single cluster. According to Mr Burton it is the first and only globally coherent scale-out flash-based cache.
EMC announced new Isilon hardware based on Intel's Ivy Bridge.
The S210 is designed for performance, and delivers twice the IOPS of its predecessor (up to 3.75 million IIOPS per cluster) yet halves the total cost of ownership.
The X410 is aimed at situations requiring maximum throughput - 70% more than its predecessor - but at the same time reduces the total cost of ownership by 33%. Up to 200GBps per cluster is achievable.
Two new packaged Isolon solutions were announced: one for scale-out VDI, the other for Hadoop analytics. "We're really trying to accelerate the time to value," said Mr Burton, observing that EMC is the market leader in Hadoop shared storage.
According to EMC officials, Isilon OneFS 7.1.1 and the S210 and X410 storage platforms and the packaged solutions will be generally available this month. Support for enhanced HDFS and OpenStack SWIFT Object protocols are expected by the end of 2014.
In related news, EMC announced that its new Elastic Cloud Storage units are now generally available, and that the first one off the production line - a full 3PB rack - has been shipped to the Vatican Archives.
Mr Burton said Elastic Cloud Storage arrays have been designed to be 23-28% cheaper than Amazon Web Services or Google storage. The comparison was based on the four-year total cost of ownership for 5PB (usable) of object storage.
Disclosure: The writer travelled to London as the guest of EMC.