Hitachi brings virtualisation to midrange systems

Hitachi Data Systems Corp. is offering advanced virtualization capabilities across its entire product line as a key prong in a full-scale assault on the midrange storage market. The announcement dovetails with the company’s Application Optimized Storage strategy, with the logical partitioning capabilities of its new midrange offerings utilized to optimize the performance of key business applications such as Microsoft Exchange or Oracle Financials.

Specifically, Hitachi this week launched the TagmaStore Network Storage Controller model NSC55, a miniaturized version of the TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform which delivers the same functionality as the latter including the massively parallel crossbar switch architecture, large-scale controller-based virtualization layer, logical partitioning, storage-agnostic universal replication, and a rich set of software tools.

According to Bruce Symes (left), vice president, Asia, Hitachi Data Systems, the controller-based virtualization capabilities of the Hitachi Network Storage Controller provide customers with a single replication engine and a single management console for all their storage assets, thereby achieving one of the primary objectives of virtualization – to simplify management of the storage infrastructure.

“Controllers are an integral part of any disk storage array,” said John Webster, senior analyst and founder, Data Mobility Group. “The uniqueness of the NSC55 controller lies in its implementation of global cache coupled with an ability to add virtualization, heterogeneous replication software, and external arrays from other vendors as ones’ requirements change.”

Hitachi has also introduced a new line-up of midrange modular storage systems – the TagmaStore Adaptable Modular Storage and Workgroup Modular Storage lines (models AMS500, AMS200, and WMS100). Successors to the Hitachi Thunder 9500 V Series, they feature virtualization capabilities such as logical cache partitioning.

The latest Hitachi launches plug what some analysts see as a gap in the company’ product strategy. In a recent report on External Controller-Based (ECB) Disk Storage Revenue, Gartner said Hitachi needed to elevate its presence in the faster growing midrange ECB disk market in order to stop market share erosion.

The AMS and WMS systems will support up to 4Gbps fibre channel port connectivity. At the same time, AMS systems offer fibre channel drives with a cost-effective SATA intermix option, while WMS systems are configured only with SATA drives for low-cost nearline storage applications, such as data archival for regulatory compliance. Both support advanced software for point-in-time snapshots, remote copy, and backup. These systems complement the Network Storage Controller or Universal Storage Platform as tiered or archive storage, especially when configured with SATA disk for lower costs.

Hitachi’s new NSC, WMS, and AMS offerings leverage on Hitachi HiCommand Tiered Storage Manager software to provide customers with a dynamic tiered storage strategy; that moves data to storage media that satisfy the quality-of-service and cost requirements of the application.

The Hitachi HiCommand Suite provides a single interface for managing resources across the product lines. Tiered Storage Manager, which was introduced earlier this year, helps users define and dynamically migrate data across multi-dimensional tiers of storage without disruption to the application itself, leveraging the embedded virtualization layers in the NSC and USP products. It recognizes and addresses the constantly changing requirements of applications allowing data to be frequently migrated between storage tiers to maintain an optimal location.

Related links:

EMC joins line of virtual storage players

Saskatoon gets real success with virtual storage

HP Integrity servers to get virtualization boost

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