'Unified Storage' Redefined: HDS Manages File, Block, Object As One

Hitachi Data Systems Tuesday expanded the definition of "unified storage" with the introduction of a new platform for combining block, file, and object storage under a single management framework.

HDS's new Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) platform is based on a new version of its Command Suite, and it allows block-level, file-level, and object data to be stored on the same array and managed with a single suite of management tools, said Christophe Bertrand, senior director of corporate and product marketing for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company.

"We want to support all types of data, and to scale as customers' needs grow," Bertrand said.

[Related: HDS Acquires BlueArc, Targets Growing Unstructured Data Market ]

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Unified storage has traditionally allowed block-level (SAN) and file-level (NAS) storage protocols to be used simultaneously within a single appliance, thereby simplifying the management of the storage.

With its HUS platform, HDS is adding to that mix object storage, which is data that is stored with a unique identifier including metadata about the object which remains with the data as it is moved.

With HUS, HDS is combining the management of its traditional block-based storage arrays, its file-based storage technology from its September acquisition of NAS vendor BlueArc, and its Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) system which provides intelligent, content-focused storage of unstructured data using multiple tiers.

Using the Hitachi Command Suite, customers can manage data across the entire line of HDS storage systems and all tiers of storage, Bertrand said. That breadth of management includes data stored on multi-vendor arrays that have been virtualized into heterogeneous storage pools behind HDS's Virtual Storage Platform (VSP), he said.

Capacity of data stored with the HUS platform scales to nearly 3 petabytes without impacting performance, Bertrand said. Customers can expect to be able to offer service level agreements (SLAs) with 99.999 percent availability, he said.

The integration of block, file, and object data management under a common management tool also provides such features as compliance, search, and compression across different data types, he said.

HDS's move to expand the definition of unified storage to include object storage makes sense given the importance clients place on getting a handle on all aspects of their data, said Joe Kadlec, vice president and senior partner at Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and HDS partner.

"That's one of the driving themes of Hitachi," Kadlec said. "If they are going to continue to be one of the leaders in the storage business, they will have to look at all aspects of storing data."

NEXT: HDS Intros New HUS Arrays To Replace Its AMS Family

Along with the new Hitachi Command Suite, HDS also introduced a new family of storage appliances, the Hitachi Unified Storage line, which will replace the company's existing AMS product line, Bertrand said.

There are three new arrays in the HUS line. The HUS110 can scale to up to 120 small form factor or large form factor drives for a maximum raw capacity of 260 TBs. The HUS130 can scale to up to 264 small form factor or 252 large form factor drives, or a total of 756 TBs. The HUS150 can scale to up to 960 small or large form factor drives with a total raw capacity of 2.88 petabytes.

The starting price for the block version of HUS is $22,745. The starting list price for the file version of HUS is $52,830. These prices include the base hardware, software, installation, and 36 months of software maintenance.

The AMS line is scheduled for end-of-life within a year, Bertrand said.

Also new is Hitachi Application Protector, an application-aware data protection software suite for Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint environments. Hitachi Application Protector integrates with the HUS platform to allow application administrators to use the Microsoft Management Console to initiate backup and recovery jobs using the HUS platform, Bertrand said.

HDS also added a Hitachi Unified Storage specialization to its TrueNorth Partner program.

Tonia Gonsalves, vice president of global partner enablement for HDS, said the new specialization gets partners ready for implementation services including installation, configuration, and application integration; management services including basic and advanced provisioning; storage migration; and data protection and security.