HDS Takes A Novel Business-First Approach To Storage

A$6-billion company (up 80% in the last 6 years), Hitachi Data Systems, the storage arm of Hitachi (a $96 billion company), is offering a new approach to enterprise storage called Continuous Cloud Infrastructure. The products intended to make this business-first strategy a reality include the , , a new version of the Command Suite and enhancements to the Unified Compute Platform converged computing offerings.

“Our history is look, hey, cool new product, and we’re trying to get past that,” said Bob Madaio, Senior Director, Product Marketing, . From the company’s perspective, there is an increased focus on talking about more than storage and dealing with the bigger shifts transforming IT. “How do we help business and IT get closer together?”

HDS said businesses are looking to new infrastructure strategies to deploy more continuous, adaptable and scalable infrastructure. They need solutions that don’t require constant and disruptive changes to the technology they support, and that is what the company said it is delivering today.

The announcements consist of four parts:

-VSP G1000 is a unified storage platform that can provide approximately 4 million random read IOPs for 8 KB blocks or more than 1.2 million NFS operations for file; this is about 4 times the IOPs performance of the VSP while improving power efficiency by more than 10%;

-SVOS (Storage Virtualization Operating System) is the foundation for VSP G1000 storage visualization and software that extends virtualization beyond a single controller to enable global virtualization across storage control units for zero RPO recovery and non-disruptive migration;

-Command Suite v8 integrated management for server, file, and block infrastructure includes new SVOS capabilities and will include workflows like non-disruptive migration, supporting the HDS services delivered capability available today; improved application awareness and provisioning templates as well as a simplified and streamlined GUI and common REST API interfaces; and,

-Unified Compute Platform and adds support for SVOS and G1000 with enhanced server profiles provisioning and disaster recovery support; the UCP for with Cisco UCS will also support SVOS and VSP G1000.

According to Enterprise Strategy Group, HDS has a well-earned reputation for delivering enterprise-class storage solutions, but its latest Virtual Storage Platform G1000 (VSP G1000) adds more than just new features. “It offers a “perpetual storage platform” that customers may implement and retain for the long haul, similarly to how they base their operations on a Windows, IBM mainframe, VMware, or Linux operating system.”

It’s a new kind of ecosystem, stated ESG. The business defines the financial and operational objectives it needs to meet—both generically and for its IT infrastructure—and VSP G1000 offers the flexibility, availability, and performance to deliver on-demand storage services to support them. “Instead of thinking in terms of the next array to deliver, HDS is focused on combining innovative software and impressive hardware as a fully—fledged storage operating system on which to build a business. This allows its customers to focus on using their information instead of spending time taking care of it.”

The reality is that something has to give, said HDS:

-conventional wisdom says the multibillion-dollar enterprise storage category is dying;

-IDC recently called it a “race to the bottom”;

-Marc Andreessen said software is eating hardware, particularly high-end hardware; and,

-new cloud storage competitors like Amazon and MSFT are applying pricing pressure from below.

HDS welcomes this impending shift and says its latest announcements will contribute to that trend. This news isn’t just a huge shift for the company, but will have lasting reverberations in the market for competitors like and NetApp, it said.

While HDS didn’t crack IDC’s top-5 list for total disk storage system revenues for the last quarter (4Q13), it held down fifth place for external disk storage system revenues, accounting for 8.1% of the market, worth $558 million, and down 5.6% year-over-year. EMC (32.9%) maintained its stranglehold, followed by IBM (13%), NetApp(11.5%) and HP(9.6%).

Madaio calls the new HDS approach “software-heavy” although the new G1000 is “extreme hardware.” Innovation leadership doesn’t last long, he said, but calls this a leapfrog announcement… “we think we have a better mousetrap.”

The typical scenario is that every two-and-half years enterprises must start a long and painful storage migration, he said. Rather than throw out the baby with the bathwater, we’re telling customers leave the stuff in, the software will keep it consistent, said Madaio.

There is a huge opportunity here, he said. “If there’s a market where we can take on all comers, particularly EMC, it’s in the enterprise space.”

Madaio said the company put its toe in the market last year, but that was just the beginning. “A lot of how we’re going to succeed is less about the product and more about we’re part of a $96 billion company”, he added. “We have to play the game on a tactical level.”

The Fiddly Bits (& Bytes)

Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System provides a common software architecture that will double the useful life of hardware architectures, span the breadth of the HDS infrastructure portfolio and enhance and amplify the benefits of server virtualization. SVOS delivers the flexibility of software-defined architectures with the proven capabilities of Hitachi enterprise storage software. Primary features include flash optimization, advanced storage virtualization, automated tiering, non-disruptive data migration and a new native global active device feature that will provide multi-system and multi-datacenter active-active capabilities without the need for an appliance – an industry first.

Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) G1000, the first available system on which customers can natively deploy SVOS, can start small and scale block-storage throughput performance of well over 3M IOPS, over 48GB/sec of usable bandwidth, and NFS ops/sec performance of over 1.2M in unified configurations.

Hitachi and Unified Compute Platform Director 3.5 entry-level configurations of UCP for VMware vSphere and increased capabilities in Unified Compute Director, such as server profiling for simplified provisioning and enhanced disaster recovery integration.

Hitachi Command Suite (HCS) supports the new global storage virtualization features in SVOS, and offers a common REST API across the platform, as well as an updated, streamlined user interface.

Collaboration with strategic partners such as Microsoft, SAP and VMware enables SVOS and the VSP G1000 to be certified in key initiatives like deployments, SAP HANA Tailored Data Center Integration and VMware Software-Defined Data Center technology.



Author: Steve Wexler

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