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Hitachi Vantara Targets Midrange Storage Business With New Arrays, Virtual Storage As A Service

‘We’re looking at taking our enterprise-class storage and making it flexible and cost-effective for the midrange. Hitachi Vantara has always been known for its enterprise storage capabilities. But partners have been looking at how to take enterprise-class storage to the midrange,’ says Kimberly King, vice president of strategic partners and alliances.

Hitachi Vantara is making its first serious play for the midrange storage business with the introduction Tuesday of its high-performance, all-flash NVMe storage arrays.

Hitachi Vantara also introduced Virtual Storage as a Service, its first enterprise-class cloud service specifically targeted at midrange customers, with the service being available exclusively through its channel partners, said Kimberly King, global vice president of strategic partners and alliances for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company.

“We’re looking at taking our enterprise-class storage and making it flexible and cost-effective for the midrange,” King told CRN. “Hitachi Vantara has always been known for its enterprise storage capabilities. But partners have been looking at how to take enterprise-class storage to the midrange.”

[Related: The Heartbeat Of Business: The 2020 CRN Storage 100]

A vendor like Hitachi Vantara moving to the midrange is always a great move as long as the price point is acceptable, said Joe Kadlec, vice president and senior partner at Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and Hitachi Vantara channel partner.

“And Hitachi Vantara, when it does things like this, typically does a good job of pricing to make it attractive to customers who know the company’s reputation for reliability,” Kadlec told CRN.

Consiliant has midrange customers that will benefit from the move, Kadlec said.

“In the past, they needed to have a certain amount of storage for Hitachi Vantara to make sense,” he said. “But now that will be easy to do.”

New to Hitachi Vantara are the VSP E590 and VSP E790 midrange storage arrays featuring all-flash storage capacity and NVMe performance, King said. Both arrays offer the same enterprise-class storage services and software capabilities as the Hitachi Vantara VSP 990, which the company introduced in April, she said.

And because all three are based on the Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System RF, data can be managed and replicated centrally among them.

The VSP E590 and VSP E790 feature latency of less than 66 microseconds, making them nearly as fast as the VSP E990, which has latency of under 64 microseconds.

All the E-series arrays feature data reduction technology, active-active controller architecture, and a 100 percent data availability guarantee, King said.

The new E590 and E790 are expected to be sold almost completely via indirect sales channels, although some long-established customers may still purchase them direct from the vendor, King said.

“However, 100 percent of the services are being done via partners,” she said. “We do not offer services unless a partner pulls us in.”

Another Hitachi Vantara solution provider, who requested anonymity because of work with other competing vendors, told CRN that it is exciting to see the vendor, which is known for its enterprise capabilities, move into the midrange where it will compete against more established vendors including Pure Storage and Dell Technologies.

“Clients are looking to do as much with their storage as possible,” the solution provider told CRN. “Hitachi Vantara is adding the right software capabilities like dedupe, which are important to midrange clients. And we have several midrange clients who were not able to afford Hitachi before.”

Hitachi Vantara hopes partners find the new E590 and E790 arrays profitable, and have made both eligible for the company’s Partner Velocity Pricing program under which all discounts are included up front so that a partner can register a deal and get approval in less than an hour, or up to three hours at the most for special requests, King said.

Since the Partner Velocity Pricing program was put in place in April, about 45 percent of all deals brought to Hitachi Vantara by partners were closed, compared with 30 percent to 35 percent in the preceding calendar quarter, King said.

“In the past, we were hard to do business with,” she said. “We’ve worked really hard to be a better partner to our partner community.”

Hitachi Vantara’s Virtual Storage as a Service, meanwhile, is scheduled to go live in January.

Virtual Storage as a Service, which will be based on the company’s VSP E590, E790 and E990, lets businesses and channel partners build a private storage cloud with a cloud-based self-service console, King said.

The service provides 99.99 percent uptime, a pay-as-you-grow cloud consumption model with predictable performance and billing on-premises or hosted, and a self-service management console, she said.

“Most important, it will be 100 percent partner-led at release,” she said. “We’ll have 25 partners signed out of the gate, with another 150 partners expected to take it on.”

Hosting Storage as a Service is not hard, but providing billing as part of a consumption model is, and Hitachi Vantara seems to be on the way to making this work for partners, the solution provider who requested anonymity said.

“It sounds like Hitachi is listening to the market and looking to meet clients’ needs,” the solution provider said.

Consiliant’s Kadlec said he has heard that Virtual Storage as a Service is coming, and that it allows Hitachi Vantara to join other vendors like Hewlett Packard Enterprise in offering such services.

“The ability to acquire storage as customers want takes away the main objection of people nervous about services like Amazon Web Services,” he said. “Customers can keep their storage on-premises while expanding and contracting capacity as they need it.”

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