HDS Unveils Converged Data Center Solutions For Building Clouds

Hitachi Data Systems on Tuesday unveiled new converged data center solutions for building cloud infrastructures based in part on its own storage and virtualized storage technology and on blade servers from its parent company, Hitachi.

With the introduction of its first three converged data center solutions, HDS has entered an increasingly-competitive battle for the future of the data center and the cloud, where the focus is on integrating as much storage, compute, and networking resources into a single integrated offering as possible.

Primary competitors include Cisco with its UCS (Universal Computing System), Hewlett-Packard with its Converged Infrastructure, and Oracle with its combined hardware and middleware stacks.

HDS has been talking about converged data center solutions for some time, said Dave Cerniglia, president of Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and long-term partner of the vendor.

Sponsored post

"It's their answer for how to compete in the cloud, and how to compete with EMC," Cerniglia said. "Everybody wants to show how they can compete in the cloud."

HDS is looking to compete in the cloud at four different levels, which gives customers the opportunity to grow their converged data center infrastructures at their own pace, said Linda Xu, senior director for file, content, and cloud services for the vendor.

"We recognize that not all customers are at the same level on integration," Xu said. "We are providing the ability for customers to implement their infrastructures as needed."

At the first level, HDS wants to provide reference architecture, which is a menu for how customers and their partners can put components together to build specific solutions, Xu said.

To that end, HDS in April released its first converged data center solution built under Microsoft's Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track program. That solution combines HDS' AMS 2500 storage array, eight Hitachi Compute Blade 2000 blade servers, and internal networking as a complete solution for running up to 500 virtual machines. It leverages Microsoft System Center for managing the virtualized environment.

At the second level, HDS wants to provide a completely-integrated solution that can be ordered by separate SKUs and which provides validated bundles of hardware, software, and support for specific application, Xu said s.

The first solution for that level is the Hitachi Converged Platform for Exchange, which combines the Hitachi Compute Blade 2000 blade servers, different models of the HDS AMS storage arrays, networking, and Microsoft Exchange 2010 in configurations which are scalable by 8,000 mailbox increments.

At the third level, HDS is providing management integration of the converged data center solution. This includes tightly integrated management of the various solutions in the system which allows the orchestration of the various compute, storage, and networking resources for flexible provisioning based on changing customer requirements, Xu said.

HDS is handling that with the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform, which combines Hitachi server blades, HDS storage and storage virtualization arrays, and standard networking under the company's management and orchestration software to help customers build flexible private clouds, she said. Those private clouds feature secure multi-tenancy, and can combine multi-vendor equipment to deploy resources based on customers' SLA (service level agreement) requirements, she said.

At the fourth level, HDS will eventually integrate services into its converged data center solutions, Xu said.

The HDS converged data center solutions were initially qualified with Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology, and qualifications under VMware are on the roadmap, Xu said.

"We recognize that many of our customers have pain points with Microsoft applications," she said. "We're focused on an application-centric point of view."

Next: Aligning With Microsoft

Aligning with Microsoft was the right move, Cerniglia said.

"Hitachi is architecturally invested in more of an open approach to the cloud," he said. "And since VMware is still majority-owned by EMC, it's a good way for Hitachi to differentiate itself."

Cerniglia said Hitachi's blade servers feature great technology, but are not coming to the U.S. market to compete in the mainstream server market against Hewlett-Packard, IBM, or Dell.

"They're not going after the bulk market," he said. "It seems like Hitachi is trying to include them in solutions such as those which are bundled with storage. There, they have a much better chance of winning customers, and Hitachi would be in a better position to provide the required support."

Cerniglia said that HDS' new converged data center solutions will help make it easier for solution providers to build cloud infrastructures.

"We are continuing to educate ourselves on the cloud, especially on how to support customers with private clouds," he said. "When companies like Hitachi come out with solutions like these, it's a way for us to add value to our customers."