Hitachi delivers Lightning fast storage Freedom

Speed could make or break a company, something Hitachi Data Systems must have been considering prior to announcing the Freedom Storage Lightning 9900, the first in a new generation of storage systems based on an internal switch architecture, the patent-pending Hi-Star.

“The biggest thing it (Hi-Star) will provide the customer is the ability to gain access to a large amount of data at a higher speed, and higher availability,” said Bruce Jolliffe, Hitachi Data Systems’ Canadian director of enterprise systems marketing. “What they’re looking at is when they want to grow from 1-to-10-to-20 terabytes, they want to be able to do that very quickly, non-disruptively and they want to be able to do it without having any impact to they’re overall performance and throughput availability.”

He added: “You can grow the box from 1 terabyte to 37 terabytes, add addition interfaces, add overall capacity without ever having to take the subsystem off-line — a 100 per cent availability guarantee.”

The Hi-Star storage architecture provides a highly scalable, highly reliable, very high-performance framework for a new set of information management solutions, according to Jolliffe.

“From a reliability perspective, the Hitachi design of all of its products is such that everything inside the subsystem is duplicated and in some cases triplicated — there is no single point of failure even down to the level of the microcode,” he said. “It’s the only enterprise-class storage solution available today that has full microcode update and full family replacement on the fly, non-disruptive.”

Hi-Star’s new internal switching technology replaces the shared-bus architecture of current subsystems to provide the high levels of scalability required to meet the I/O demands of e-commerce.

“Any I/O request coming from a server, an application will be honoured within the storage subsystem,” Jolliffe said, noting it allows up to 32 direct fibre channel interfaces with a mean time between failure of 2.5 million hours — 2.5 times the industry OEM standard.

The multiple, non-blocking data paths created within the new internal switch architecture enable the Lightning subsystem to increase throughput even as additional load is brought to bear. Up to 6.4BGps of internal bandwidth ensures that the Lightning 9900 will scale to meet demand.

David Hill, research director, storage and storage management with Boston, Mass.-based Aberdeen Group said, “The lightning 9900 is storage lightning that strikes on three dimensions — performance, scalability, and availability — that ‘net economy enterprises require. On the performance side it can master peak demand surges that will keep the Web cash registers ringing instead of turning away would-be buyers. That storage mountain-climbing scalability eases the process that many e-commerce companies face of adding terabytes quickly by the ton. The dual redundancy features mean that the 9900 delivers the 24×7 availability that allows a sound night’s sleep. This lightning strikes the target right on three times.”

The easy to install ‘plug and play’ Lightning 9900 offers complete redundancy and hot-replaceable capabilities in its components and will deliver all the software functions provided with the Freedom Storage 7700E, according to Hitachi.

Lightning 9900 eliminates performance bottlenecks by replacing the shared-bus structure, and Hi-Star provides any-to-any connectivity among disk, cache, and host interfaces with separate connections used for data and control paths, according to Jolliffe. And control information is kept in a separate bank of cache memory.

Fremont, Calif.-based StorageWay, a company delivering managed storage services to the ‘net economy, has partnered with Hitachi Data Systems since the founding of the company, said president and CEO Peter Shambora. “We’ve found that Hitachi’s technology delivers the manageability, scalability, and performance that our customers require. StorageWay is deploying the Lightning 9900 in our facilities to provide our customers with ‘best-of-breed’ storage as a utility.”

Finally, with security built in to the Hitachi Resource Manager 9000, customers can define and control access to the 9900.

“We provide software called Zone Allocation Manager, it’s like a LUN (Logical Unit Number) security, no other attached processor can gain access to the information stored by another server,” Jolliffe said.

From a rollout perspective, Hitachi is going into volume shipment availability by the middle of August, but the price is dependent on configuration and capacity.

For more information, visit Hitachi Data Systems at