Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) was already in the cloud services business, but when it became clear that customers wanted the holy grail of multi-service cloud storage solutions, converged infrastructure, there were some features that needed to be added.
This week, the Tokyo, Japan-based storage vendor announced three new cloud services to its tiered solutions to help round-out its solution portfolio, bringing it up to the standard of a full, converged infrastructure, one where all data is searchable and reachable anywhere. Private file tiering, file serving and Microsoft SharePoint archiving services were added to HDS.
Private file tiering is essentially on demand network-attached storage that scales to the users needs and is available on a pay per use basis. File serving works in much the same way and SharePoint archiving is useful as its becoming a go-to resource for content sharing in the enterprise.
Hitachi also detailed a cloud computing infrastructure roadmap that allows, “unencumbered index search and discovery across all content,” said Chris Willis, Americas director of cloud and converged solutions at HDS. “If you had 50 enterprise applications feeding into the content cloud, you would have the ability to search across all of those for a given string or text. Think of it as Google for the enterprise.”
Dave Pearson, senior analyst at Toronto-based IDC Canada, said this move puts Hitachi in a league with the most comprehensive cloud storage and oversight options on the market. “It’s Hitachi demonstrating they have a little more intelligent view of the market and what it needs in seeing that they need to manage data that’s not just tier one data, that’s not just archive data, but that’s really across the entire breadth and depth of the kind of information that companies are going to be looking for.”
In acquiring ParaScale, which provided Hitachi smarter solutions for accessing storage resources through a network, and BlueArc, which had experience coding for huge software packets in the niche realm of video storage, Hitachi has assembled the tools to provide comprehensive cloud storage services, Pearson said. “They’re demonstrating, through BlueArc and through ParaScale, the ability to manage file-based content, object-based content,” he said. “And, of course, they’ve always been very strong on the database side, on the block-based storage side.”
That’s one of the interesting parts of this announcement. While it might look as though Hitachi is trying to drag every customer up to the top tier, converged infrastructure level of cloud services, it’s introduced greater flexibility in tiering to widen the options.
Willis said he sees customers starting at what Hitachi calls the Infrastructure Cloud. This tier involves the new services announced and is a simpler, pay-as-you-go solution for businesses not ready to make the plunge for a full cloud based environment.
The second tier, or Content Cloud, allows more indexing and searching of content across cloud layers and applications.
But where Hitachi sees most businesses ending up is its Information Cloud tier. Here, Willis said, the most insight can be drawn as analytic layers are infused into the indexed content.