RealTime IT News

HDS Hungry for High End With New Platform

NEW YORK -- Angling to cast aside doubt about its position in the market for large storage systems, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) launched an ambitious new platform with the most advanced virtualization software in the space to date, as well as logical partitioning features and new data replication software.

The HDS TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform can house and manage an unprecedented 32 petabytes of internal and external data and separate that data into 32 logical partitions, much like a classic mainframe can separate operating systems.

Storage is managed by three core software components, said HDS CTO Hu Yoshida during a technical briefing here Tuesday.

Hitachi Universal Volume Manager, the first large-scale virtualization layer of its kind, helps storage to be aggregated into one common pool and managed by a single set of policy-based software tools, making it easier for IT administrators to manage massive amounts of data in their enterprises.

Hitachi Virtual Partition Manager Software, a mainframe-inspired logical partitioning technology that has been applied to storage, allocates physical storage resources, including ports, cache and disks, into as many as 32 Private Virtual Storage Machines.

All the while, Yoshida said, the Virtual Storage Machine appears as if it were its own storage system, providing decentralized management of allocated resources.

Replication software is key at a time when concerns about keeping the continuity of businesses as close to always-on as possible has become paramount. This can be challenging when remote offices of global businesses are located so far apart.

Claus Mikkelsen, chief scientist of HDS said during the briefing that the new Hitachi Universal Replicator asynchronous remote features heterogeneous replication, disk-based journaling, protection against link failure, "pull" copying and multi-data center support.

Replicator does so over any distance without the need for redundant servers or replication appliances, building on the company's TrueCopy replication software.

By early 2005, TagmaStore will have the ability to manage storage servers from its competitors IBM and EMC, making it attractive for customers who have disparate storage infrastructure to corral and handle data.

The timing of the release is crucial for HDS, which is looking to win more market share from traditional high-end system leaders EMC and IBM. In the latest Gartner estimates, HDS had a 6.9 percent share of the external disk storage systems market, with EMC leading at 23.1 percent and IBM at 13.2 percent.

Many experts agree that HDS must have a big answer to existing and forthcoming products from EMC and IBM in order to gain double-digit market share. Currently, the company is up against EMC and its Symmetrix DMX and Storage Router, and IBM, which is expected to unveil a number of new products, including a revision to its Shark Enterprise Storage Server (ESS), in the coming months.

TagmaStore is the answer. Now it's up to the customers. In support of HDS, HP will resell it as its StorageWorks 12000 disk array and Sun Microsystems will resell it as its StoreEdge 9900 disk array.

Available now in three models, TagmaStore employs Hitachi Universal Star Network -- the company's crossbar switch architecture -- as its engine, making it possible for the platform to perform two million input/output operations per second, which is significantly greater than the calculations of EMC's Symmetrix DMX or IBM's ESS.

The entry-level USP100 has maximum internal raw capacity of 77 terabytes with up to 256 146 gigabyte or 300GB disk drives and 17GB per second of cached bandwidth.

This performance is equivalent to the Hitachi Lightning 9980V system, which HDS will not phase out. Instead, the company said TagmaStore will co-exist with the Lightning 9900 V Series, allowing "customers the freedom to choose the appropriate system to meet their business needs."

The "enhanced" USP600 will feature maximum internal raw capacity of 154TB with up to 512 146GB or 300GB disk drives, 34GB per second of cached bandwidth, and up to 128 Fibre Channel interfaces.

Rounding out the trinity of new machines, the USP1100 boasts internal raw capacity to 332TB with up to 1,152 146GB or 300GB disk drives and 68GB per second of cached bandwidth. It also handles as many as 192 Fibre Channel interfaces.

All of the new systems will support Fibre Channel , FICON , ESCON and NAS connectivity.