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HDS Spruces Up High-end Storage System

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Wednesday said it has spruced up its high-end storage system with double the capacity, better connectivity, and enhanced throughput options as part of its TrueNorth play for creating open, interoperable storage systems.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based Hitachi subsidiary improved the Hitachi Freedom Storage Lightning 9900 V Series by blending it with the company's Hi-Star crossbar switch architecture and virtual storage ports, to make the machine better help enterprise customers consolidate storage systems and ultimately lower costs.

HDS, which competes with the likes of EMC, HP and IBM in the lucrative data storage market, said its customers have been able to consolidate as much as five competitor's storage systems into one Lightning 9900 V Series system to save cash.

Introduced with the original Lightning 9900 Series in June 2000, Hi-Star is a massively parallel processing (MPP) schema that delivers bottleneck-free bandwidth at up to 15.9 GB-per-second.

The bolstered system features Virtual Storage Ports (VSPs) for SAN environments, which assures unrestricted connectivity by enabling 128 different server platforms or operating systems to access the same physical 2Gb/s Fibre Channel port. Basically, each server has access to its own "virtual private storage" with complete data security, barring the effects of one server's storage domain from affecting other servers' storage.

The Lightning 9900 V Series is also now available with 146GB drives, doubling total capacity of the original offering to 148 TB and total usable capacity to 128TB in a RAID-5 configuration-ideal for consolidating many disk arrays based on shared bus architectures. Connectivity is also possible up to 32 FICON channels and 64 Fibre Channel connections at 2Gb per second, providing higher data transactions rates.

The upgrades met with the approval of industry analysts.

"The doubling of capacity combined with the high bandwidth of Hitachi's crossbar switch architecture and virtual storage ports are key differentiators between Hitachi's products and the competition," said Don Young, Managing Director, Technology Equity Research, UBS Warburg.

John McArthur, Group Vice President of Storage Research at IDC, agreed, saying the enhancements to the Lightning 9900 V Series "provide the foundation for massive consolidation" and deliver real savings.

HDS unveiled the news less than a week before EMC is expected to refresh its own high-end system, Symmetrix, with new capabilities. In a competitive tit-for-tat, IBM is also expected to announce industry advancements on the data storage front.