HDS Aims High for Small Biz, Compliance

Hitachi Data Systems added to its storage system family Wednesday with a new modular product for small-and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)
that it called more powerful and flexible than comparable products from rivals EMC
and Network Appliance.


The Santa Clara, Calif-based division of Hitachi also
unveiled new business continuity software for the high-end HDS Lightning
9900V, and added compliance features to the mix at a time when businesses of
all walks-of-life are required to keep records for a certain period of time.


The Thunder 9580V improves application performance and aims to help
customers use multi-tiered storage in combination with the Hitachi Lightning
9900V Series, and large-scale consolidation of older mid-range JBOD
storage.


IDC Analyst John McArthur said this modular storage system competes with EMC’s CX and IBM’s FAST products, and spans from small to large capacities.


“What you need to know is they’ve designed an architecture that’s going to incorporate a variety of capacity and performance on the drive side,” he said. “Once you have right-once capability, you have many components to support information lifecycle management.”


The crown jewel from HDS is its proprietary technology Hitachi QuickShadow
copy-on-write snapshot, which offers point-in-time copies without requiring
a full volume backup. This product reduces storage requirements for data
protection while Hitachi HiCopy replication software shuttle data between
Thunder 9900V and Lightning 9500V storage tiers.


Among other specification from the company, the new system features 64
terabytes of raw capacity, 7.4 GB per second of cached bandwidth and 1,024
Virtual Storage Ports with secure multi-tenancy, said Jim Beckman senior
director, Hardware Platform Marketing at HDS. Multiple hosts are able to
access their own virtual private storage housed on a Thunder 9580V storage
system with no threat of exposure to other hosts.


Taken as a whole, Beckman told internetnews.com that the Thunder
9580V is geared for departmental or SMB storage consolidation, or for
improving the state of business continuity, parallel applications and data
replication.


The product figures to stand tall amid other recent storage product rollouts
for the SMB sector by both Network
Appliance
and EMC.


Vendors have been paying increasing attention to the SMB market, where
customers are asking for high-end storage capabilities at a low to midrange
price. Rather than be frozen out of lucrative business the storage concerns
have been whipping up solutions for these companies almost en masse.


Another area of concern among customers has been the ability to move from
older, less effective direct-attached storage (DAS) to
networked storage schemas such as networked-attached storage (NAS)
or storage area networks (SANs) . HDS has attempted
to address that as well, said Beckman, noting that the pace to move from DAS
to networked storage calls for greater performance and connectivity.


Hitachi HiCopy replication facilitates data movement between the Lightning
9900 V Series and modular Thunder 9500V storage systems, a capability that
Beckman said is not offered by comparable EMC Symmetrix and CX lines, or IBM’s FAST and Shark systems.


IDC’s McArthur told internetnews.com the common management functionalities between Thunder and Lightning are unique in the industry.


“IBM doesn’t have that with its SAN Volume Controller,” McArthur said. “EMC doesn’t have that with its ControlCenter. Both are still trying to bring their solutions under one management framework.”


In the area of data, or information lifecycle management (ILM), Beckman said HDS
is offering a number of compliance features. An open systems version of its
LDEV Guard data retention manager allows customers to preserve and protect
sensitive enterprise information.


It functions as WORM in that once data has been written, it
can be retrieved and read by authorized applications, but not altered or
deleted, for the required retention period. Network Appliance has recently
announced a similar solution.


McArthur said that while it was necessary for vendors to deliver compliance solutions, he said IDC believes customers will eventually want and expect them integrated in one general purpose solution, like EMC’s Centera compliance system, as opposed to an add-on.


To address business continuity, HDS introduced Three Data Center Copy, which
provides speedy resumption of service, regardless of the magnitude of
disaster or issue. Three Data Center Copy is implemented for mainframe
environments using Hitachi CopyCentral, which automates Hitachi TrueCopy and
ShadowImage software through a single interface.


Lastly, HDS has also announced a 50 percent increase in ESCON to 48 ports, with broader support for FICON Cascading.

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