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Hitachi Data Systems Unifies Block, File and Object

Following vendor announcements is an important part of what we do as analysts. Product introductions and new technology developments help us keep our fingers on the pulse of the industry.

But there is rarely an announcement that shakes up the industry, especially when the announcement is centered on mid-market – traditionally a less well-heeled segment than the enterprise. However, mid-market spend is increasing as businesses increasingly adopt virtualization and databases, and need storage to go along with it – yet do not have the big dollars to spend that the specialized enterprise storage groups might have.

In the past, vendors have taken successful enterprise models and stripped them down for mid-market. That approach is no longer working as mid-market has important requirements of its own. Vendors woke up to this fact several years ago and started to develop systems optimized for transactional processing and virtualization network storage, located in simple-to-mange systems that packed a lot of power and intelligence under the covers. The systems are optimized both for mid-market and the cloud storage industry, which has similar issues and needs. Vendors offering cloud-based storage needed to find a way to offer economical and powerful storage to their customers. Without that, they risked squeezing their profit margins.

Some vendors have introduced very attractive products to mid-range and/or cloud-based systems.  Nexsan introduced a very nice E5000 series a few months ago that applies storage intelligence and fast SSD-based processing to file and block data. We also like GreenBytes Solidarity for its fast SSD, single tier storage system for the mid-market, and IBM PureSystems for a really interesting approach to integrating storage systems and cloud optimization in a single appliance.

Now Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has stepped in with a new level of unified performance for block, file, and object storage system that is priced for the mid-range. HDS built the system on recently acquired file architecture from BlueArc, and wisely spent the necessary development time and dollars to maximize the platform for cost-effective unified storage with a small footprint and high performance. The system is based on a single clustered namespace and an object-based file system that enables high performance search, copying for replication and snapshots, and automated tiering.

The platform supports object storage and key block and file protocols including Fibre Channel, iSCSI, NFS and CIFS. Management software simplifies the process for mid-range IT, which often lacks the specialized experience of high-end enterprise storage administrators. Block and file data may share the same storage pools for consolidated storage and management.

System capacity scales to nearly 3PB without impacting performance. Its dense architecture is packed into small footprint. Depending on the model, HUS block systems house 2.5 and 3.5 drives or front-end port modules. Customers may add single node or clustered file modules for NFS, CIFS and FTP file sharing access, and dense expansion trays add extra capacity.

Dynamic virtual controllers automatically correct performance issues and enable fast provisioning. Multi Level Cell (MLC) SSDs. MLCs and 400GB SSDs lower cost per capacity over single level cells while HDS made more performance improvements to ports, ASICs and processors, and memory management. Metadata development increases snapshots capacity to 1024 and also improves snapshot, replication and dynamic tiering speeds.

All of these improvements and more were made with an eye to efficiency, which allows HDS to offer a highly advanced system at a reduced price per GB – a terrific advantage to mid-market and cloud-based storage needs.  We believe HDS is the first major storage manufacturer to effectively integrate block, file and object storage in a single cost-effective system, and in so doing has raised the bar for other unified mid-market storage offerings that follow.

  • Premiered: 04/25/12
  • Author: Jeff Byrne
Topic(s): HDS Hitachi Hitachi Data Systems Storage Database Virtualization unified


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