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.

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