RealTime IT News

Hitachi: The TrueNorth is Out There

Storage systems concern Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), moved to advance its TrueNorth strategy for open, interoperable storage systems Tuesday with the announcement of new storage hardware, software and a partner program to help it better deliver upon the wide-ranging vision of TrueNorth.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based division of giant Hitachi , locked in a competitive battle with systems vendors EMC and IBM in the high-end storage arena, is the latest of the systems vendors to refresh its major software line to allow for more virtualization and resource management capabilities.

Virtualization is popular among storage experts because it lowers total cost of ownership and accelerates return on investment by simplifying the infrastructure through smaller SAN configurations, fewer switches, Fibre Channel cables and host bus adapters.

Geared for penny-pinching IT managers who crave centrally managed, distributed storage with large capacity in a small footprint, Hitachi's new Freedom Storage Thunder 9500 V Series storage cabinet system features a virtualization assist layer to ease storage management through a single interface. The virtualization layer allows administrators to mix heterogeneous servers on a single port and provide security to the Logical Unit (LUN) level through Host Storage Domains.

Chuck Standerfer, senior partner of research firm Evaluator Group, said the Thunder 9500 series is an extension of the concern's Lightning 9900 V Series of storage systems geared for the high-end market. Standerfer said Thunder is a marked change from Lightning in that it includes entry-level systems to full capacity modular systems that will be competitive in all segments of the modular market.

The Thunder 9500 V Series is powered by the company's Hi-PER Architecture, which delivers approximately 2.3 times the performance of its predecessor, according to HDS Senior Director of Product Management Robert Ward. Ward told internetnews.com the system includes up to 2GB cache per controller and advanced cache algorithms.

The Thunder 9500 V Series is available in a number of models, including the Thunder 9570V rack-mountable system, which delivers up to 4GB cache, four 2Gb/sec ports and 224 drives (32 TB) per system. This storage system is geared for consolidation, as the centralized storage system in medium to large businesses, or in distributed or departmental deployments in Fortune 500 companies. The entry-level Thunder 9531V, Thunder 9532V, and Thunder 9533V systems are available in pre-configured, specially priced storage decks and range from 360GB to 1TB in capacity.

The Thunder 9500 V Series will be available in January 2003 at a starting price of $15,000, with more advanced Thunder Series systems to be announced next year.

The CIM-compliant HiCommand Device Manager software, a component of the HiCommand Management Framework storage management software, provides centralized management for the Thunder 9500 V Series, as well as the rest of the Hitachi Freedom Storage 9000 product line. Ward said HDS is a strong proponent of CIM standards to promote interoperability among the sector.

Hitachi Tuesday also announced HiCommand Tuning Manager software, a storage resource management software tool that integrates with the HiCommand Management Framework. HiCommand Tuning Manager allows storage managers to map, monitor and analyze utilization of their storage infrastructure from the database to the device, providing them with data required for managing their storage resources. This tool enables storage managers to set capacity/performance alerts and generate customized reports that will support forecasting, planning, and implementation of future storage needs.

Tuning Manager software works on the Hitachi Freedom Storage Lightning 9900 V Series systems, Lightning 9900 Series systems, Thunder 9200 systems, and the Hitachi Freedom Storage Thunder 9500 V Series systems. HiCommand Tuning Manager will be available in January 2003.

Hitachi topped off its hardware and software news with a new global partnering initiative based on TrueNorth. Partner fields cover solutions integration, technology and developers; actual partners include VERITAS, Brocade Communications Systems and Storage Area Networks. HDS' Ward said his firm prizes partner programs because the company does not "believe a storage vendor can be everything to everyone. By partnering with other software and hardware vendors, Ward said, HDS can best plug in holes and help develop open systems that IT managers demand.