Hitachi saves data and time

Hitachi Data Systems Inc. (HDS) says network managers have precious little time and anything meant to give them more is welcome. HDS’s latest storage area network (SAN) management module is designed to do just that, although an industry analyst suggests the system is only as good as its interoperability.

HDS last month unveiled HiCommand 2.0, a new storage management platform.

“Essentially it allows the user, the storage administrator, from a GUI or a Web-based interface to manage the storage sub-system – assigning additional space for LUNs (logical unit numbers) and security…from one interface,” said Pierre Raymond HDS Canada’s director, sales and support from his Montreal office.

Raymond said network managers prefer a single point of reference, a one-stop spot to view the network as a whole.

Of note, Raymond said, is 2.0’s ability to work with not only Hitachi storage arrays but also Sun Microsystems Inc.’s StorEdge T3. HiCommand 2.0’s predecessor (Version 1.0) worked with Hitachi boxes alone.

By the end of the year HDS hopes to have agreements in place with even more storage providers, so network managers and administrators in multi-vendor environments will be able to use HiCommand 2.0 as their “one common interface” to the SAN, Raymond said.

That’s the road map, however for the time being the controller works with Sun and Hitachi boxes alone. Ed Candolini, HDS’ president in Canada, said the company would have deals in place with other storage providers because “the customers will push us in that direction. They’re going to force the market to co-operate.”

HDS’ blueprint makes sense, said Alan Freedman, research manager, infrastructure hardware with IDC Canada in Toronto.

“Ideally, you want everyone (all of the storage vendors to take part), and that’s what the industry is clamouring for. The end users demand true interoperability, where it’s a heterogeneous environment and it doesn’t matter who’s storage systems and who’s servers you have in there, you’re able to communicate and manage effectively.”

But it might be difficult for HDS to win the requisite agreements, he added.

“It’s a bit of a panacea. But we are seeing agreements,” he said, even between erstwhile competitors. “Compaq has been working with IBM to make sure that there is a level of interoperability.”

HiCommand 2.0 is priced at $28,500 for 1TB of data. The product scales to cover 27TB.

“There is a cost involved, but sometimes people look at how much money…they save,” Candolini said. “If I’ve got a person here, I still need that person, but I could have him doing a whole lot of other things, other than managing the system. You get time back.”

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