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Hitachi Adds NAS to its Storied Storage Mix

While slowdowns in hardware spending have left some companies clinging to the cautious side, others see new market opportunities they hope will leave them in more comfortable positions when the economy reheats. Storage is one such arena where this is occurring. While some companies have taken an either-or approach to picking network-attached storage (NAS) or storage area networks (SANs), other firms have found that it is beneficial to sell products tailored for both storage formulas.

That's a bell Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) answered Wednesday. Already known for its SAN products, mainframe maker HDS launched the latest addition to its widely successful Freedom Data Works suite in the form of a NAS solution. Hitachi Freedom NAS allows customers to include both NAS and SAN storage requirements in a single pool of centrally managed storage.

What this does is create greater flexibility for the business client. In configuring Hitachi Freedom NAS, the Hitachi Freedom Storage Lightning 9900 Series or the Thunder 9200 systems is attached to a NAS server (supplied by partner Network Storage Solutions). From there, clients may grant partial capacity in a single storage unit -- up to 37 terabytes in the Lightning 9900 and up to 7.2 terabytes in the Thunder 9200 -- for use by NAS for filer applications, while other parts of the same storage array can be used by SAN.

These features appeal to customers who want to make operations simpler on the IT infrastructure front, with the added benefit of being cost-effective because storage is handled from one system.

One Yankee Group program manager agreed.

"Customers are looking for storage solutions that meet their needs for scalability, reliability and data access," William P. Hurley said. "Freedom NAS provides those benefits in a familiar Ethernet network environment."

Hurley also noted that such NAS solutions demonstrate that HDS is a market leader in storage networking, where it battles with giants EMC Corp. and Brocade Communications Systems. Evidence that HDS' star may be on the rise came with their fiscal year results, ending March 31. The company revealed that of the $1.6 billion in revenue the Hitachi subsidiary pulled in for 2000,$1.2 billion, or 75 percent, came from storage products. Five percent of revenues was all that was accounted for from the company's mainframe side.

Meanwhile, EMC Corp. has taken hits as of late. The storage leader said Tuesday that it will cut 1,100 jobs, or 4 percent of its global work force, as it tries to reach 2001 revenue growth targets of at least 20 percent and grow market share.