HDS releases virtual storage array for smaller firms

The Hitachi Unified Storage VM holds up to 4PB of data internally

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) today introduced a new version of its Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) array that allows file, block and object-based data to be stored through a single management interface.

The HUS VM (virtual machine) array is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises and designed to significantly cut operating costs by using a hypervisor for data migration instead of data replication, which can be limited by network bandwidth constraints.

"Our target market are businesses that have 20TB, 40TB, 80TB of storage capacity per [storage frame]," said Mike Nalls, a senior product marketing manager for HDS. "There are 80TB in a typical storage frame in an enterprise and it can take three to nine months to migrate that to a new platform. With HUS VM, you can do that amount in a weekend."

The entry-level list price for the HUS VM is $156,000 for the controller, software and maintenance contract. That price does not include capacity.

The HUS VM is based on the HUS 100 array, which HDS announced last spring. The HUS 100 was also targeted at small- and medium-sized businesses and could hold up to 756TB of data.

The new HUS VM holds up to 4PB of data, or roughly four and a quarter times that of the HUS 100. By taking advantage of HUS VM's hypervisor, users can pool storage from other arrays for up to 64PB of data under a single management interface.

Nalls described the HUS VM as using the same microcode as HDS's high end Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) array and the same basic hardware as the HUS 100.

"The introduction of HUS VM by HDS certainly makes the competition in the mid-market storage world more interesting," said Mark Peters, an analyst with market research firm ESG. "HDS certainly brings great virtualization genes and strong raw-hardware credibility. By offering a unified and virtualized package ... HDS is appealing directly to the mid-range user that is faced with 'enterprise' needs and, yet, enjoys only an 'SMB' budget."

The HUS VM has 32 8Gbps Fiber Channel ports and uses 6Gbps SAS connectivity on its backend. Internally, the array can be populated with SAS drives or 2.5-in. solid-state drives (SSDs).

HDS is using the SiliconFS File System from its acquisition of BlueArc last year as the network-attached storage (NAS) front end. SiliconFS provides a single, unified storage management console that lets application servers access data via CIFS, NFS and iSCSI protocols.

HUS supports Hitachi Content Platform (HCP), a virtualized object store with custom metadata, and provides regulatory compliance. HCP can share HUS capacity with file and block applications from the same storage pool.

The array also uses Hitachi's Dynamic Provisioning -- a thin provisioning algorithm -- to grow file and block storage as application needs grow, eliminating the requirement to over-provision storage to ensure application uptime.

HUS also migrates file and block data among different tiers of storage, such as SSDs and SAS and SATA hard drives to ensure the highest performance for mission-critical data.

"This is fully integrated with VMware, Microsoft Hypervisor, Oracle and SAP. It's a product ready to consume data immediately," Nalls said.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

See more by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon