Hitachi unveils clustering software for high-end storage virtualization controller

It works with HDS's replication software for automated fail-over and recovery

Hitachi Data Systems today announced new clustering software for its high-end Hitachi Universal Storage Platform V (USP V) controller, a virtualization engine that enables storage from multiple vendors' arrays to be pooled behind a single management interface.

The Hitachi High Availability Manager software allows virtualized pools of storage being managed by USP V to migrate between storage systems without applications or host servers having to be brought down.

Claus Mikkelsen, CTO of HDS's storage architectures, had attempted to build hype around the announcement by offering a clue as to what the product was a week ago in an anagram on his blog page. Unscrambled, the anagram -- REGRADES OUR CLASSY TREAT -- spells out "clustered storage arrays."

The Hitachi High Availability Manager will be available in the fourth quarter of this year, and pricing will be based on each USP V on which it is deployed, not on the amount of storage capacity it's managing. HDS did not immediately offer pricing details.

Christopher Crowhurst, vice president of strategic technology for the professional division of Thomson Reuters, has been an early evaluator of the Hitachi High Availability Manager and likes its potential for "operational resilience and efficiency."

"This robust solution combines continuous high-availability and disaster recovery protection in virtualized SAN environments and the ability to seamlessly migrate data between arrays, and to refresh the SAN non-disruptively," he said in a statement. "This design helps remove the impact of potential failures, reduce management costs and simplify business operations."

Rick Villars, vice president for storage systems and IT strategies at IDC in Framingham, Mass., said technologies like the Hitachi High Availability Manager provide users with instantaneous fail-over and recovery capabilities "that can dramatically reduce data management costs while also reducing application downtime."

With the announcement, HDS CEO Jack Domme said the company is looking to shed its image as a hardware-only storage provider and take on the mantle of a provider of software and services that allow access to data, regardless of its form -- block or file -- or where it resides. Domme pointed out that 40% of HDS's revenue now comes from software and services.

The new clustering software works in conjunction with the USP V's fail-over capabilities to vault data off-site to other USP V's to help eliminate the risk of data inaccessibility from the host to primary storage.

The High Availability Manager software is used with HDS's replication software -- Hitachi Universal Replicator and Hitachi TrueCopy -- to fail-over storage pools across storage arrays for data recovery at the primary site or at a remote site during downtime.

According to HDS, a typical implementation requires a pair of Hitachi USP Vs, along with Hitachi's TrueCopy Synchronous software and Hitachi Dynamic Link Manager software on the hosts.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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