So it looks like that EMC will get Isilon barring any mishaps and counter-bids; I stand by my reasoning here but I've been thinking a bit more about this and I've had a few conversations with people.
I've chatted to a few vendors and many of them were saying that if they didn't work for their current company, Isilon were their company of choice; they thought it looked pretty cool. Not sure how many of them actually had any real idea about what Isilon were about but they thought it was cool anyway. Obviously once Isilon become an EMC company, their coolness factor will decline. (Sorry Chad, but the videos that the vSpecialists tend to record are bad and not in a good way!)
It's very interesting how quickly the whole scale out storage thing is progressing; everyone wants a piece of the action and Isilon certainly have the scale-out NAS story down pretty well; block, let's be generous and say that it is early days yet. But what was once a scientific and media specialised device is becoming mainstream. Isilon however were looking at ways that they could attack the entry point and how they could attack the Celerra and NetApp filer-space; so anyone who believes that Isilon is a cloud-only play from EMC, well I think that they are wrong.
In fact, I would go as far to say that in the same way that 3Par will become the foundation of all HP's block storage; Isilon will become the foundation of all of EMC's file-based storage; from Celerra to Atmos, this acquistion will impact them all. Atmos with Isilon becomes a more interesting if not compelling offering than Atmos alone; it is there that I suspect that all of the initial integration focus will be. How do you graft Atmos onto Isilon is probably the next question that EMC's Atmos engineering team have to answer; well once they've worked out how to integrate Atmos and Centera and more importantly how to do so without a mouthful of humble-pie.
Of course this leaves us with some interesting questions about C-NX or whatever it might end up being called; like HP and EVA, EMC have some questions to answer. Still the Clariion is a much under-rated block storage array even by a large chunk of EMC and as Isilon really doesn't do block; I think it's future is safe for some time to come but perhaps it's another integration point.
I also wonder if EMC will spend time moving the BSD-based Isilon product to their internal common Linux platform; let's hope this does not turn into a NetApp Spinnaker re-tread. I don't think that people should get too hung up on the interconnect between the Isilon nodes; yes it's Infiniband today but there's good reason for that, it was probably the cheapest and most effective low-latency interconnect Isilon could use without spend a fortune on specialised 'R and D'. Isilon's smarts are in software development and not really hardware; EMC could really help push them to the next level of hardware.
EMC's biggest challenge though is going to be taking a company which is culturally very different to EMC (I've dealt with both) and integrating it into EMC without loosing the clever folks that they've just bought. Isilon currently feels like dealing with a start-up but a start-up with mostly smooth corners and I don't think that they need to change too much. EMC might have just bought a company which will have as much impact on their storage offerings as their purchase of Data General all those years ago.