Press Release

EMC Isilon Accelerates Vital Medicine & Geophysics Research at University of Utah

Leader in Scientific Computing and Imaging Consolidates Large Network of HPC Applications, User Home Directories and Email onto a Single EMC Isilon Scale-out NAS System

SEATTLE, WA, November 3, 2011 - 

EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) today announced that the University of Utah Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute (SCI), an internationally recognized leader in scientific computing, visualization and image analysis, has deployed EMC® Isilon® scale-out NAS to power its Big Data-intensive workflows in biomedicine, geophysics and other research areas. Due to an increase in new data files and processing requirements, SCI outgrew the available capacity and performance of its previous storage system, which slowed data access and limited research productivity. By implementing EMC Isilon, SCI has unified a range of high-performance imaging and research applications, as well its network of users' home directories, onto a single, shared storage platform, streamlining Big Data management to reduce IT costs and accelerate time-to-discovery.

Customer Benefits:
  • True linear scalability – EMC Isilon improved performance even as SCI added capacity, enabling the institute to stay ahead of user demand but under budget.
  • Accelerated data access – EMC Isilon more than doubled performance over SCI's previous system, enabling greater research productivity and new services for customers.
  • Simplified IT management – EMC Isilon reduced management to less than one full-time equivalent, enabling the SCI IT staff to work on research rather than managing storage systems.
  • Increased returns from IT investment – EMC Isilon accelerated research productivity and increased bandwidth for new services for less than SCI would have spent simply maintaining its old system in the same amount of time.
Customer Challenges and Solution:

When selecting a new storage solution, EMC Isilon's easy scalability was especially important for SCI. Its IT acquisitions are funded by research grants so the IT department is unable to plan ahead for when a SCI researcher receives a grant and has a sudden need for more storage. The Isilon system’s ability to scale performance and capacity makes it easy for SCI to grow the system organically.

Using the Isilon 36NL, SCI supports more than 175 users across a wide range of workflows. Since initially deploying Isilon, SCI's home directory environment has doubled, but despite the rapid data growth, the research group has not experienced any performance issues. Isilon OneFS® operating system and SmartQuotas application simplified management to less than one full-time equivalent (FTE) and enabled SCI's IT department to focus on supporting the institute's research, instead of managing a slow and unreliable storage system.

Additionally, SCI has unified its email storage and management onto the same Isilon infrastructure. Prior to deploying EMC Isilon, SCI did not have the confidence in its storage model to combine email traffic with other activities, as the SCI Institute relies heavily on email and cannot tolerate any downtime. SCI now has four 10 gigabyte connections into its high-performance compute cluster, with two email servers that have direct access to the Isilon system.

Customer Quote:

Nick Rathke, manager of IT, Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute

"Our users were looking for double, even triple the data access speeds, given the high-performance nature of their scientific research and the need to accelerate time-to-results. It was clear we needed something radically different to address our users' needs. EMC Isilon enabled us to build a next-gen storage infrastructure that we can simply and reliably scale on demand. With Isilon, we've been able to accelerate research productivity and provide new services to our customers for the same amount of money we’d have spent over three years just maintaining our old system."

"Our email is backed up to multiple nodes for reliability, we're getting great performance, and we don't have to manage a separate email storage system anymore."

EMC Quote:

Sam Grocott, vice president of marketing, EMC Isilon

"The University of Utah's SCI Institute is playing a vital role in the world of medicinal and geophysics research. This is crucial work that requires a reliable and secure storage system capable of delivering consistently high performance regardless of data growth demands. With EMC Isilon, SCI can stay ahead of user demand while reducing both the cost and management requirements of its storage environment."

About EMC

Isilon, a division of EMC, is the global leader in scale-out NAS. We deliver powerful yet simple solutions for enterprises that want to manage their data, not their storage. Isilon's products are simple to install, manage and scale, at any size. And, unlike traditional enterprise storage, Isilon stays simple no matter how much storage is added, how much performance is required or how business needs change in the future. We're challenging enterprises to think differently about their storage, because when they do, they'll recognize there's a better, simpler way. Learn what we mean at

The Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute is a permanent research institute at the University of Utah directed by Professor Chris Johnson, the Institute is now home to over 190 faculty, students, and staff and has established itself as an internationally recognized leader in visualization, scientific computing, and image analysis. The overarching research objective is to create new scientific computing techniques, tools, and systems that enable solutions to problems affecting various aspects of human life. A core focus of the Institute has been biomedicine, but SCI Institute researchers also solve challenging computational and imaging problems in such disciplines as geophysics, combustion, molecular dynamics, fluid dynamics, and atmospheric dispersion.

Press Contacts

Ellen Arbeznik
The OutCast Agency

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