HDS To OEM BlueArc For High-End NAS

Santa Clara, Calif.-based HDS will OEM the BlueArc NAS appliances and rebrand them with both the Hitachi Data Systems and BlueArc labels as part of a five-year agreement the two companies unveiled Monday.

HDS and BlueArc also signed an agreement in which BlueArc, San Jose, Calif., will become the latest reseller of HDS products. In addition, HDS made an undisclosed investment in BlueArc in exchange for a minority share of the company.

BlueArc's NAS Titan 2000 family of NAS appliances is aimed at high-performance file serving. It offers storage capacity of up to 512 Tbytes and can pool up to 4 million files per directory. Enterprises can build file systems of up to 256 Tbytes each and handle up to 1,024 snapshots per file system.

The appliances also give a new high end to HDS' NAS offerings, which until the deal with BlueArc included NAS blades for some of its enterprise storage arrays and gateways that allowed files to be stored on HDS arrays as if they were served by a NAS appliance.

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Joe Kadlec, vice president and senior partner at Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider that partners with both vendor, called the agreements a good play for HDS. "It brings them tremendous strength for the high-end NAS market," he said.

Consiliant had recently reopened its BlueArc relationship but had yet to report a BlueArc sale, Kadlec said. "We've been looking for ways to combat in the high-end NAS space," he said. "When looking at NAS for companies with 10 Tbytes to 15 Tbytes who want high performance, BlueArc far outstrips EMC and Network Appliance. And because HDS is doing so well in high-end storage, this is a good play for them."

HDS President and CEO Dave Roberson said the deal with BlueArc opens new opportunities for his company, including in the entertainment, media content and delivery, life services, and oil and gas industries, as well as other areas where high-performance computing is used.

HDS customers in those markets also will benefit with faster time to innovation, since engineers can cut the time they spend waiting for jobs to finish by several hours.

The BlueArc products are available to HDS channel partners, once they get the necessary training and certification, Roberson said. "Our first customer was direct, but we'll see the channel grow quickly," he said.

Kadlec said he needs to see the details about the OEM agreement before deciding in which circumstances he would sell the HDS/BlueArc or the BlueArc version of the products.

"I will probably sell the Hitachi/BlueArc version because of HDS' support, especially their Technology Resource Center in San Diego," Kadlec said. "Also, this will give us more volume with Hitachi, which gives us more strength for marketing. It allows us to focus on one marketing event instead of separate events for Hitachi and BlueArc."