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Hitachi launches refreshed flagship storage array

HDS adds SAS to its high-end array

September 27, 2010 12:11 AM ET

Computerworld - Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) today announced a new version of its enterprise-class storage controller, the Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform, which replaces the Universal Storage Platform V (USPV) as its flagship offering.

With multicore processors, virtualized servers and distributed computing, data centers require a more flexible storage platform, one that can grow dynamically to meet application needs on the fly, according to Hu Yoshida, chief technology officer at HDS.

With the new hardware platform, HDS adds the capability to use SAS instead of Fibre Channel drives, along with solid-state drives (SSDs) and SATA drives, all within a single shelf on the array. Users can also mix and match 2.5-in. and 3.5-in. drives in the same shelf.

HDS claims its new hardware, which comes with refreshed management software, can connect multi-vendor servers, networks and storage arrays under a single management interface. And it automates storage provisioning through a much finer-grained thin-provisioning process for both structured and unstructured data applications.

"Hitachi is responding to what the customers want," said Rick Villars, an analyst with market research firm IDC. "They're saying they want them to make a more modular, efficient system that's easier to manage and administer."

HDS removed the word "storage" from its Hitachi Storage Command Suite, saying the management software now offers a more flexible method of controlling performance and power in the data center.

"Everyone is talking about the cloud and for the cloud we need agile infrastructures with multi-tenancy, but what they're getting from most vendors are siloed solutions. This platform was actually built for virtualized server environments," Yoshida said. "The redesigned Hitachi Command Suite is more business focused rather than just storage focused."

With the new storage platform, Hitachi said it's adding more granular dynamic provisioning at the page level, which represents 42MB of data, versus moving data at the volume level. So the new HDS Virtual Storage Platform can spread a single volume of data across multiple tiers of drives to optimize performance at the page level, depending on what portion of the volume requires the highest performance.

"What it does is allow you to have a single LUN [logical unit number] span multiple tiers of storage. That's new," said Claus Mikkelsen, HDS' CTO of Storage Architectures. "Before, you could have a 50TB Oracle database and 95% of it hadn't been touched in months, but it's still on tier one storage. Now, those inactive parts of the database will sink to the bottom level of the storage tiers automatically. There's no physical aspect to a LUN now with Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning."

Mikkelsen said the new dynamic provisioning will relieve administrators from having to consider performance tuning, how they'll lay out RAID configurations for applications and other performance-centric tasks. "It just doesn't need to be considered any more," he said. "Just think of a LUN now as just a container with no physical aspect."

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