Dell’s OneFS for Google Cloud. What do the competitors think?

Last week, Dell Technologies announced Isilon scale-out filers in Google Cloud, which it has branded as OneFS for Google Cloud.

OneFS for Google Cloud is not a cloud-native offering. Netapp’s Azure NetApp Files, with ONTAP arrays running in Azure data centres, is a better comparison with Isilon hardware and its OneFs software running in GCP data centres.

With its customer-dedicated hardware, OneFS for Google Cloud is akin to a managed tenant offering, as NetApp’s John Rollason, senior director, global revenue marketing, tweeted: “not a Cloud service as such, but more a (quite fast) traditional single tenant managed service.”

Qumulo also offers its scale-out filesystem on Google Cloud Platform and as such can be considered a competitor for OneFS.

We asked Qumulo product director Molly Presley for her take on the Dell’s new service.

Blocks & Files: Dell has announced OneFS for Google Cloud. Does Qumulo have general views on this?

Molly Presley: Dell announced this relationship two years ago (2018) at EMCWorld as an early access program. They now are saying it is available in three countries. Essentially it is the same architecture that Isilon appliances have but co-located in the GCP data centers.

Blocks & Files: What do you see as the OneFS for Google Cloud advantages and disadvantages?

Molly Presley: The advantage is proximity to the cloud and a new more cloud-like consumption model. The fact that it took two years from the original announcement to get to this point would make one question how much adoption they have or why it has taken this long.

A disadvantage is that it appears this is simply Isilon appliances co-located or hosted in the GCP (Google Cloud Platform) data centers. Each customer is assigned their own hardware cluster. So this is similar to the NetApp/Azure relationship. They do not get the advantage of the economics, scale or speed of the massive GCP cloud architecture. And, customers will still suffer from the same architectural limitations inherent in Isilon’s file system (endless tree walks to do tiering jobs, no real time data visibility, inefficient small file storage).

Blocks & Files: An ESG study reported 200GB/sec aggregate read throughput and 121GB/sec aggregate write throughput for OneFS for Google Cloud. What do you think of these performance numbers [We identified Vendor X in the ESG document as NetApp and its Cloud Volumes for GCP. This provides cloud-native file services, such as NFS and CIFS, in GCP.]

Molly Presley: I asked our data scientist team to comment about the performance tests to see what kind of apples-to-apples we can provide for a Qumulo running cloud natively vs. the architecture Isilon tested.

Related to the performance paper from ESG. It seems ESG’s methodology to compare a 2PB all-flash array to a small configuration of a NAS (no matter who Vendor X is) is flawed.  I don’t understand how they would see that as a relevant comparison for a benchmark or why it would be included in an otherwise quite solid write up.  I also do not know who vendor x is.  

However, creating a Qumulo configuration similar to the one benchmarked by ESG for Isilon, we would produce the following performance; 450GB/sec read throughput and 330GB/sec write throughput.

This is a good apples-to-apples comparison.  


Isilon users get a single environment spanning on-premises deployments and Google Cloud with GCP compute able to process OneFS for Google Cloud-held data. That’s good news for those Isilon customers who want to burst compute to the public cloud. It also provides a potential platform for Isilon disaster recovery in Google Cloud.

Blocks & Files expects Dell EMC to add Power-style branding to Isilon, following the announcement of PowerStore as a unifying SC, XtremIO. Unity and VNX brand. Perhaps PowerScale is on the list.

We also expect OneFS to develop further to provide a better fit to the needs of a hybridising cloud and containerising enterprise IT environment. A porting of the software to Google Cloud or another public cloud would be in line with this.