Hitachi Data Systems Brings Enterprise Storage To Midrange, Expands Converged Infrastructure

HDS' new VSP G200

Hitachi Data Systems on Tuesday unveiled a major expansion of its flagship VSP storage virtualization solution and significantly widened its converged infrastructure line, using a combination of Hitachi and Cisco UCS servers.

The company also looked beyond its traditional storage focus to unveil new solutions for what it termed social innovation that takes advantage of several recent acquisitions as well as components from its mother company, Japan-based Hitachi.

The new solutions were introduced at the Hitachi Connect 2015 conference being held this week in Las Vegas.

[Related: The Power Of One: New Converged Infrastructure Solutions]

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The enhancements to HDS' storage lines stem from the company's push to develop software-defined IT infrastructures, said Ravi Chalaka, vice president of solutions and social innovation marketing for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor.

"We're focused on a software-defined approach to data centers," Chalaka told CRN.

HDS' new VSP storage virtualization family is based on the high-end, enterprise-class VSP G1000, a solution introduced in April of 2014 featuring scalable storage, intelligent tiering, nondisruptive migration and flash acceleration.

Chalaka said HDS is introducing four new members to the VSP family to extend the line from the midrange through the enterprise, all of which use the same Storage Virtualization OS, or SVOS, software. They range from the existing top-of-the-line VSP G1000, with up to 5 petabytes of disk capacity, 2 petabytes of flash storage and 4 million IOPS to the new entry-level VSP G200, which features up to 1 petabyte of disk storage, 600 TBs of flash storage and 270,000 IOPS.

The VSP G200 offers about the same performance of four entry-level HUS 110 systems, HDS said.

"We're using the same replication, management, active-active, and storage virtualization of the VSP G1000, and expanding it across the line from the midrange and SME [small and midsize enterprise] customers up," he said.

With the introduction of the new VSP solutions, HDS is signaling that the end is coming for its HUS line of midrange storage solutions. Chalaka said his company will, over time, migrate HUS customers to the VSP line, although it has no plans to do an end-of-life of the HUS line any time soon.

HDS' move to migrate its HUS customers to an expanded VSP line makes sense given HDS' plan to extend its SVOS to the midrange, said Joe Kadlec, vice president and senior partner at Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and longtime HDS channel partner.

The VSP's SVOS includes such capabilities as encryption of data at rest, Kadlec told CRN.

"Expanding the VSP to the midrange means more opportunities for us," he said. "We have customers looking specifically at data encryption at rest. Now we don't have to bring in a higher-end solution for midrange customers."

Storage choice comes down to the customer's return on investment, Kadlec said. "If there's a way to meet requirements for storage and security at the right point, it's a good way to start a conversation with customers," he said.

HDS also is expanding its UCP converged infrastructure solution line with models that feature HDS or Cisco UCS servers, Chalaka said.

At the entry level, the company is shipping the UCP 1000 hyper-converged infrastructure solution, which is based on the VMware EVO: Rail software stack. The UCP 1000 is a 2U appliance with four nodes, featuring internal disk storage and VMware's Virtual SAN software, he said.

New to the line is the UCP 2000, which features a rack-server configuration with Hitachi servers, Hitachi VSP G200 storage, and Cisco or Brocade networking.

HDS also introduced the UCP 4000E, which offers two to 16 HDS blade servers, choice of HDS storage, and Cisco networking.

Also new are the UPC 4000 Select and UCP 6000 Select, which offer a choice of Hitachi or Cisco UCS servers, Hitachi storage, and Cisco or Brocade networking.

Chalaka said that, despite perceptions in North America, the company worldwide is the fifth-largest server producer, with business up by over 30 percent compared to last year, according to the latest IDC Tracker report on servers.

Hitachi servers are huge in demand, but not yet in North America, Kadlec said.

"They are very reliable, and have a very good design," he said. "But it's hard for people to get over thinking that Hitachi is just a storage company. So it's nice to have the Cisco option. Some people just want a solution that works, while others want to see the details."

Kadlec said he is looking forward to taking the new Hitachi UCP solutions to customers.

"We do a lot with Hitachi, and will talk more about UCP now," he said. "Customers are looking for reliability and serviceability, and Hitachi solutions run and run and run. Hitachi makes incredible products, but doesn't market them as well as its competitors do."

HDS also is using the Hitachi Connect 2015 conference to highlight new solutions that take advantage of Hitachi's big data analytics, Internet of Things, and IT and vertical expertise to help customers build smarter and safer societies, Chalaka said.

The move follows a 2013 decision by HDS and parent company Hitachi to team up to combine IT and non-IT expertise to develop a wide range of solutions outside the traditional IT arena. That move is headed by HDS CEO Jack Domme, who in 2013 became the first non-Japanese corporate officer for Hitachi.

Chalaka said the new solutions stem, in part, from a string of recent HDS acquisitions. These include the February acquisition of big data and Internet-of-Things software developer Pentaho, the 2014 acquisition of video and public safety company Pantascene, and the 2014 acquisition of IP surveillance solution developer Avrio RMS.

New solutions being developed by HDS and Hitachi include Hitachi Live Insight for IT operations, a machine-to-machine analytics tool to increase IT infrastructure performance and availability; Hitachi Live Insight Center of Excellence, which provides best-of-breed services for big data analytics; and Hitachi Clinical Repository for Connected Health, which provides secure mobile access to healthcare professionals.

Hitachi had previously unveiled solutions for public safety and telecom.