HDS Debuts Storage Hardware, Software For Cloud Computing

Hitachi Data Systems on Monday updated its enterprise-class storage line with the introduction of its new Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) along with a new version of its management software.

The HDS VSP and Hitachi Command Suite of storage reporting and management software gives partners the ability to provide scalable storage infrastructures that can take customers securely to the public cloud, said Claus Mikkelsen, CTO of storage architectures at Hitachi Data Systems.

"The cloud needs scalability, quality of service, and encryption of data at rest," Mikkelsen said. "It's hard for customers to give up the management and storage of their data in public clouds."

The VSP, based on the fifth generation of Hitachi's crossbar switched architecture, offers what Mikkelsen called "3D scaling," or the ability to scale storage in three ways.

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The first is to scale storage up simultaneously in terms of capacity and performance to meet demands for increasing I/O loads, Mikkelsen said. This scalability comes as new generations of Intel processors provide a new level of server virtualization which requires new ways to store data.

"As Intel starts to look at 48, 64, or 100 cores per processor, you need to be able to scale storage up to meet the needs of the increasing number of virtual machines being hosted on new servers," he said.

The second dimension is scale out, which is the ability to expand storage capacity without disrupting operations, Mikkelsen said.

The third dimension is scale deep, which HDS does with the VSP by consolidating customers' existing storage capacity, including from non-Hitachi platforms, into a single virtualized pool.

HDS can offer such scaling thanks to a new technology, Hitachi Dynamic Tiering, which allows customers to provision storage in 42-MB "pages" or managed LUNs, Mikkelsen said. Each page includes three tiers of storage ranging from flash memory to high-speed 2.5-inch SATA hard drive capacity.

The amount of capacity devoted to each tier of storage within a page varies dynamically with the type of data being managed in that page, Mikkelsen said. So if 10 percent of the data is active, then 10 percent of the capacity in the page will be flash drive capacity for the highest performance, he said.

HDS also unveiled Hitachi Command Suite 7, an update of its existing management software aimed at taking advantage of the company's new hardware capabilities.

A key change in version 7 is the ability to manage storage at the application level while aligning capacity according to the requirements of business-critical applications, Mikkelsen said

"We've done a lot to simplify the provisioning of storage," he said. "Now it's just a simple process of allocating capacity. Command Suite 7 can provision storage in just six clicks. All activity about specifying LUN size, location, and so on just goes away."

Next: Incenting The Channel

HDS has clearly leapfrogged the competition with its new architecture the boost in performance and availability it offers, said Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Chi Corp., a Cleveland, Ohio-based solution partner and HDS partner.

"The new software is a dramatic improvement," Knieriemen said. "The previous generations lacked many features, especially application-specific quality of service and performance tuning. Now you can tune the performance specific to an application at the LUN level."

HDS's adoption of 2.5-inch SATA drives in its VSP has also dramatically cut down on the array's footprint compared to its older arrays, Knieriemen said. "If you compare it to other enterprise storage vendors, its footprint is up to 50 percent less. And that translates to lower power and cooling costs. For larger companies buying multiple VSPs, they will see the biggest benefit."

The new VSP and the Command Suite 7 are coming to market with increased incentives for HDS's channel partners, said Mike Walkey, senior vice president of global channels for HDS.

Those incentives start at the end-user level, where HDS will provide incentives to customers to upgrade their existing HDS storage as well as incentives to replacing competitive storage, Walkey said.

HDS is also providing solution providers with incentives for opening new customers and for developing targeted accounts, Walkey said.

Also new from HDS are accelerated back-end rewards for selling all the company's current storage products, as well as a new program, Hitachi Rewards, which provides targeted incentives for solution providers' sales reps and sales engineering teams, he said.

For partners who resell HDS services, the company is enhancing the margins on its professional services, and is adding a new data center transformation service to its product line card.

HDS is also refreshing its channel training, and adding new training related to the VSP and refreshed services offerings, Walkey said.