Hitachi rolls out Thunder array

InfoWorld (US) –

Hitachi Data Systems Corp. is sharpening its focus on enabling customers to consolidate their datacenters, with the goal of stealing high-end market share from EMC Corp. Next week HDS will unveil an ILM (information lifecycle management) strategy, a third member of its Thunder 9500V family, new replication software, and enhancements to its Lightning 9900V series.

The upgraded products come at a time when HDS competitor EMC is enjoying increased sales with its modular midrange products, due in part to its reseller relationship with Dell.

“The Dell partnership is working well for them,” acknowledged Jim Beckman, senior director of hardware platform marketing at HDS. “EMC will get (customers) the cheapest thing to win a deal.”

Unlike EMC, however, Beckman believes HDS is more focused on providing customers with value.

“We give customers the ability to consolidate boxes and increase utilization,” Beckman said. “Customers are looking for value, which is what we sell them.”

To wit, HDS will introduce Thunder 9580V, the newest member of the company’s product line targeted at small and midsize enterprises looking to consolidate storage and servers in the data centre. Boasting a 64TB capacity, the 9580V has nearly twice the capacity of HDS’ Thunder 9570V product and of EMC’s DMX800.

HDS also explained its ILM strategy, something competitors EMC Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Corp. have done in the last few months. Like them, HDS promises a multi-tiered architecture and an understanding that not all data is the same.

Beckman explained that the new array, along with the new Hitachi QuickShadow, HiCopy software, and the virtual storage port technology, makes for an ideal entry-level enterprise storage system.

QuickShadow software allows storage administrators to take point-in-time copies of stored data, instead of requiring the less flexible practice of a full-volume backup, which eats up more time and disk space, Beckman said. Also, the HiCopy software feature introduced this week will permit replication between the Thunder 9580V and the high-end Lightning 9900V Series.

HDS also boosted the capacity of the 9900 arrays. The company has doubled its cache from 64GB to 128GB, increased control memory from 3GB to 6GB, and said it will offer customers a new 73GB (15,000 rpm) drive option. Additionally, the company has also increased the number of ESCON (Enterprise Systems CONnection) channels from 32 to 48. These enhancements are designed to help customers reduce the number of boxes they have on the floor, Beckman said.

Enteprise Storage Group analyst Brian Babineau agreed that EMC has been successful with Dell and that HDS may need to pay more attention to the mid-market. “HDS will be able to compete with EMC in the mid-market and high end by continuing to modify its offerings,” Babineau said. He added that opportunity still exists particularly since both HP and Sun Microsystems Inc. have yet to refresh midrange offerings.