HDS Intros New Storage Virtualization OS As Foundation For All Future Storage Offerings

Hitachi Data Systems Wednesday said it is taking steps to unify its storage operating system and make it virtualization-enabled as a way to help customers focus on how to grow their storage infrastructure for the cloud without worrying about replacing hardware.

HDS' new Continuous Cloud Infrastructure is a software-based architecture that uses automation to help customers tie business requirements and IT more closely together to deal with cloud, mobility and big data issues, said Bob Madaio, senior director of product marketing for HDS' data center virtualization product portfolio.

The Continuous Cloud Infrastructure is based heavily on HDS' storage virtualization technology, which lays the groundwork for the future development of software-defined storage solutions that could some day run on commodity hardware, and will make it easier for the company to provide virtual versions of its storage appliances, Madaio said.

[Related: Software-Defined Storage: Separating The Reality From The Hype]

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"This will be the common operating system that for us builds virtualization into our storage solutions in the future," he said. "This supports both Hitachi Data Systems and non-Hitachi Data Systems storage. It's not completely new, but is an important part of our platform."

Along with unveiling its Continuous Cloud Infrastructure, HDS introduced is new Storage Virtualization Operating System (SVOS), which will take the place of the two storage operating systems currently available for enterprise and midrange storage arrays, Madaio said.

The new SVOS includes all HDS tiering, replication, and block and file storage services, and supports virtualization of HDS and non-HDS storage capacity.

However, Madaio said, it is designed to be the base of all future HDS storage offerings, eventually including solutions for software-defined storage.

"Today, it runs in our storage controllers," he said. "In the future, it will run on commodity hardware. I don't know if we will some day send out a DVD to customers and tell them to architecture whatever storage they want, but it could be an option in the future."

Another new capability of SVOS is virtual storage machines, which Madaio said will allow customers to carve out a virtual storage array out of a physical box, or combine multiple physical boxes into a single virtual storage array.

The SVOS will not replace the software in the installed HDS array base, but should be interoperable with older HDS equipment, Madaio said.

SVOS is the right step for HDS, said Steve Adil, disk products manager at Mainline Information Systems, a Tallahassee, Fla.-based solution provider and HDS partner.

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"Hitachi has a deep heritage with virtualization," Adil said. "It's a great engineering company. When we first moved to adopt Hitachi, customers were surprised to hear that its virtualization technology goes back as far as IBM's. With SVOS, Hitachi is taking its virtualization technology to its entire ecosystem."

SVOS lets data reside in multiple places, and be active-active protected in many places to provide nonstop delivery, Adil said.

"Hitachi is using its heritage and long history in virtualization to federate it across their offerings," he said.

HDS Wednesday also unveiled a new version of its Virtual Storage Platform, the VSP G1000, which features new chips, faster Hitachi Storage Directors, and double the number of Storage Directors found in previous VSP solutions, Madaio said.

The result is triple the number of IOPS to about 3 million, he said. The VSP G1000 scales from two to 16 Storage Directors and up to 600 TB of flash storage capacity, he said.

HDS is modularizing its VSP and providing the ability to break it apart across multiple devices, Adil said.

"Customers can now interconnect the devices in a rack using controller and disk drawers, and let one system talk to another in a different part of a campus instead of configuring it one monolithic array," he said. "This is consistent with where the market is going."

Also new is Command Suite version 8, a version of HDS' storage infrastructure management software that now includes a simplified GUI, increased application awareness, more platform plug-ins compared with older versions, and the industry-standard REST API for integration with a wide range of devices.

HDS also expanded the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP), the company's converged infrastructure offering, with the ability to work with the VSP G1000 and SVOS, Madaio said.

While Hitachi has a very small presence in the U.S. server business, it has a strong offering that makes it a part of a strong converged infrastructure offering, Adil said.

Because Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and others have laid the groundwork for converged infrastructure, it's not hard to get customers to understand Hitachi's Unified Compute Platform, he said.

"But we still have to sell some of the unique offerings of Hitachi to customers who have not heard of its servers," he said. "For instance, the servers offer LPAR [logical partitioning] on an x86 server platform. And Hitachi offers rock-solid reliability."