NetApp buys SolidFire, Hitachi Data Systems rolls out all-flash array. Coincidence? (Spoiler alert: Nope)

Flash storage is hot. So hot that it gets near billion dollar acquisition offers and big moves from incumbents.

young man in plaid shirt holding pile of cash money
Credit: Thinkstock

I was somewhere near Everest Base Camp the day the news came out that NetApp was buying Solidfire for close to $1 billion, so it took a few days before I caught up on the fact. On the one hand, I was kind of stoked -- I first met Solidfire's founder Dave Wright back in the very early days of his company and recorded a video interview with him (see below). Since then I have followed the company closely, been to their analyst summits a few times and run countless miles in the socks they give away as conference swag.

On the other hand, I was perhaps a little sad. While the result was awesome financially for all concerned, a Solidfire under the NetApp umbrella is kind of a hard pill to swallow. The company that was as cool as they come might just became a little more buttoned-down under its new ownership.

Regardless of what one feels about the deal itself, one thing is for sure, it was a very real indication that Flash's time has come. Seen as an edge-case technology only a few short years ago, the overwhelming use of solid state storage in consumer fields, coupled with the fantastic economics that flash storage has been displaying in recent years, combine to make flash something that pretty much every storage executive is thinking about.

So given this mass interest in flash, it is perhaps unsurprising to see Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) today announce a series of all-flash storage arrays. No longer simply an addition to traditional storage, HDS is going all in on all-flash.

Available in three models,Hitachi Flash Storage (HFS) A series includes a pair of controllers and up to 60 SSDs in a single 2U-high tray. The units have up to 384TB of effective capacity, 1 million IOPS and is focused on customers with a particular set of use cases like virtual desktop, virtual server and database environments. HFS A series arrays also provide data protection in a number of ways. Customers can protect data with up to 1024 copy-on-write snapshots per logical volume and full clones of logical volumes can also be created and copied for redundancy. QoS controls can be set for maximum IOPS and bandwidth consumption per logical volume to enable consistent application performance.

The Hitachi Flash Storage A series joins the recently announced all-flash Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) F series and recently enhanced models of the hybrid Hitachi VSP G series in the Hitachi flash storage portfolio. HDS has, since 2008, shipped a reported 250PB of total flash capacity -- a big number that indicates the experience they have in the area. The company has a patent portfolio that has over 350 flash-related IP claims.

Flash is here, it's mature and its got everyone excited. There's serious money being spent on it and HDS' new product line looks like a timely addition.

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