Sujal Patel: "EMC shares a joint ambition with Isilon"

192_0981On November 17, as part of our November US press tour, we went outside of the Silicon Valley and took an early flight to Seattle in order to meet with the representatives of Isilon, a leading innovator in distributed storage for the past 10 years. We were greeted by Sujal Patel, President and Chief Executive Officer and founder of Isilon. One of the most exciting piece of news for today is the planned takeover of Isilon by EMC; even though this is not yet a closed deal at this moment, we were able to talk about that subject very openly with Sujal and his teams.

Sujal Patel is a former employee of Realnetworks, the company that pioneered media streaming on the Web in the mid 1990's. All his work there led to the realisation that content creation was exponential and so was storage to support such content.

distributed storage and exponential growth

From such realisations, Sujal Patel deduced that Storage had to evolve and scale effectively and this is how Isilon was created in order to apply the concept of distributed computing to storage. The growth in the storage industry was and is even more and more overwhelming. Data is becoming increasingly unstructured with an evolution towards a 90% share of unstructured data in the overall mix.

And this is far from being finished, and there are predictions by analysts that there will be a 44 times growth in data storage from 2010 to 2020;  Gartner even announced that a technology like Isilon's will therefore become critical in that increasingly chaotic environment. The company was founded in 2000 and it hit the market in 2003 with a focus on the Web and Web services. The size of the business is now growing very fast with a 77% year on year growth by the last quarter.

The problem of dealing with big data is a problem which all companies will have. In the future, all data centres will resort to virtualisation and fast networking will connect the storage systems so much so that Isilon views itself as the company which most clients will have to rely on. As it happens, this is already the case with loads of clients in and out of the Web 2.0 space. George Bennett, EVP worldwide sales exposed that France was Isilon's most buoyant market due to the remarkable vitality of Web 2.0 services in that part of the world.

Isilon to become an independent division of EMC

The announcement was made on November 15 even though the deal is not yet completed. According to Sujal Patel, the deal between both companies makes perfect sense. "The EMC offer was considered the best offer for our shareholders" added Patel. "We at Isilon think that our technology is compelling, but only a larger company is able to take this business to the next level, mostly internationally" he went on.

Besides , Patel thinks we are entering a new stage of the IT industry and that the EMC-Isilon deal - in which Isilon will remain independent from the mother company - is a good means to help clients transition to that stage of the business. Today, new architectures are being brought in clouds, both public and private, the skills at both companies are different and the combinations of EMC and Isilon technologies will enable us to create a platform with which more value can be delivered to customers. EMC shares a joint ambition with Isilon", Patel concluded.

Sujal Patel's interview and its complete transcript can be found online at by clicking this link

Yann Gourvennec

I specialize in information systems, HighTech marketing and Web marketing. I am author and contributor to numerous books and the CEO of Visionary Marketing. As such, I contribute regularly on this blog for Orange Business account on cloud computing and cloud storage topics.