Hitachi Vantara's 5 Biggest Announcements At Next 2019

While Hitachi's enterprise technology subsidiary is in the middle of merging with Hitachi Consulting, the company focuses on new products, new partnerships and new partner tools at its annual Next conference in Las Vegas.

New Products, Services, Partner Portal And More

Hitachi Vantara wants to equip partners and customers with the tools and services to power social good—a key message delivered by the company at its 2019 Next conference in Las Vegas this week.

While the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is in the midst of merging with Hitachi Consulting under a new reorganization set to happen at the beginning of next year, the enterprise technology subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Hitachi focused on new products, partnerships and partner tools at its annual Next conference.

[Related: Partners: Hitachi Vantara's Consulting Play Will Boost IoT Channel Efforts]

"The new Hitachi Vantara will continue to deliver cutting-edge innovation in edge to cloud infrastructure," Hitachi Ltd. CEO Toshiaki Higashihara said in his Wednesday keynote.

What follows are the five biggest announcements Hitachi Vantara made at Next 2019, covering new products and enhancements around Lumada, cloud services and storage as well as a new digital partner portal and a new partnership with an entertainment giant.

New Hitachi Vantara Digital Partner Portal Arrives Next Year

Hitachi Vantara plans to improve accessibility for online partner resources with a new digital partner portal set to launch in April 2020, according to Kimberly King, vice president of global partner strategy and programs at Hitachi Vantara.

"That is my No. 1 priority because all the feedback we got from partners was all around ease of doing business and communications," King told CRN.

The new digital partner portal, which will roll out to early adopters as early as December, will bring together several disparate systems, allowing partners to access communications and marketing, customer and prospect information, and training and certifications with one login.

King said the new digital partner portal will provide custom-tailored information based on the role and type of partner. It will also give partners an easier way to look at their customer base, which products they use, what their refresh rate is, and what upgrade opportunities there are.

"This will be night and day compared to what they've had," King said, comparing the company's previous way of providing information to “stone tablets” and “chisels.”

New Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform 5000 Series

The new VSP 5000 series supports block and file data and workload diversity ranging from containers to mainframes with a new combination of SAS architecture, NVMe flash storage, and storage class memory. The new Hitachi Accelerator Fabric, which powers the VSP 5000's NVMe flash storage, produces up to 21 million IOPS of performance. Customers can move existing storage under the VSP 5000 to improve management and performance, the company said.

In addition to speed, the VSP 5000 provides flexible configuration, scaling from two nodes with two controllers to manage up to 23 petabytes of capacity to up to six nodes with 12 controllers to manage up to 69 petabytes. That capacity is a mixture of NVMe flash and SAS flash and hard drives.

It also has a strong emphasis on reliability. Hitachi Vantara said its self-protection I/O architecture includes a quadruple redundant fabric to provide eight nines, or 99.999999 percent, availability.

In tandem with the new VSP 5000, the new Hitachi Ops Center uses artificial intelligence to improve infrastructure management and operations. The goal is to help businesses transition to an autonomous data center with the ability to automate up to 70 percent of tasks and provide faster and more accurate insight to keep systems optimized and healthy.

Expanded Hitachi Vantara Cloud Services

Hitachi Vantara expanded its cloud services portfolio, giving partners and customers new capabilities for cloud migration, application modernization and cloud management.

The company said its cloud services "enable infrastructure from edge to core to cloud" with the goal of creating consistency across edge, on-premises and cloud environments for improved operations. These services stem from Hitachi Vantara's 2018 acquisition of Rean Cloud and can accelerate companies implementing VMware cloud solutions as well as those migrating and modernizing applications for Microsoft Azure, according to the company.

New to Hitachi Cloud Migration and Application Modernization Services are capabilities to provide applications and workloads with consistent data services across hybrid cloud environments. Other new capabilities include the ability to use data to adapt existing applications for optimized performance in public clouds. The Hitachi Cloud Accelerator Platform now comes with advanced automation for cloud migration and application modernization with Microsoft Azure as well as new managed services capabilities using Hitachi Enterprise Cloud.

Hitachi Enterprise Cloud, on the other hand, is getting its own enhancements, with new support for VMware cloud solutions such as VMware Cloud Foundation, VMware Enterprise PKS and VMware Cloud on AWS. The service now also provides partners and customers with a single invoice for private and public cloud resources. In addition, the service now includes a new real-time data analytics platform for deriving insight from hybrid cloud environments.

New Lumada Solutions: Data Services, Data Lake, Edge Intelligence

Hitachi Vantara's portfolio of Lumada solutions and platform services expanded beyond its original purview of IoT into the realm of data operations, or DataOps, with three new offerings: Lumada Data Services, Lumada Data Lake and Lumada Edge Intelligence.

The company said the new solutions enable businesses to embrace DataOps, an emerging methodology for data management that relies on polices and automation to help enterprises derive value from the expanding amount of data they're collecting.

Lumada Data Services is a set of new software services that aim to help businesses manage complex sets of data. The new services integrate with Hitachi Content Platform, Pentaho and Lumada, and use policy-based automation tools to govern data flows, enabling businesses to save money and address compliance and business growth issues.

The second new offering, Lumada Data Lake, is a new "smart" data lake service that self-optimizes where and how data is stored, making the correct data available when needed for workloads like analytics and helping businesses avoid "data swamps."

Lumada Edge Intelligence, on the other hand, is a mix of software and validated edge hardware devices that make it easier for businesses to manage and analyze data in edge networks. Use cases range from connected products to immersive customer experiences.

Hitachi Vantara Forms Strategic Alliance With Disney Parks

Hitachi Vantara said it has formed a strategic alliance with Disney Parks, Experiences and Products that will give Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California access to the company's industrial IoT solutions to improve operational efficiency.

The company said Disney will rely on Hitachi Vantara's Lumada data management, analytics and IoT software to collect and analyze data to derive real-time insight on how their parks work, using solutions like predictive analytics and digital twins to help Disney optimize operations.

Hitachi Vantara's solutions have already been deployed across the Toy Story Land attractions Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

"Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort have delighted their guests with one-of-a-kind experiences for decades," Brian Householder, CEO of Hitachi Vantara, said in a statement. "We are thrilled to work with Disney to provide intelligent, data-driven solutions that allow Disney to continue its legacy of delivering immersive experiences with increased operational efficiency."