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Hitachi launches assault on midrange storage market

HDS introduces a midrange storage virtualisation engine, and unveils its channel-optimised SMB Storage line-up, making it the first to offer advanced virtualisation across all its products.

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), the provider of application optimised storage solutions, and wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, announced the launch of products that introduce high-end functionality to the broader midrange and SMB markets. Hitachi thus becomes the first company to offer advanced virtualisation capabilities across its entire product line.

The products are intended to enable companies of all sizes to realise the business benefits of application optimised storage solutions, so that even the smallest companies can enjoy the benefits of virtualisation by optimising the performance of their most pressing business applications — such as Microsoft Exchange or Oracle Financials — by utilising the logical partitioning capabilities of the new fleet of midrange offerings.

The first of two launches, the TagmaStore Network Storage Controller (NSC) model NSC55, promises to deliver all of the functionality of the TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform, surpassing the limitations of current midrange disk storage only products as well as functionally-limited switch or appliance-based virtualisation-only offerings, by offering customers enterprise-proven virtualisation software in a rack-mounted, modular form factor at a midrange price.

“In an era when software has become the most desirable way to deliver customer value, the announcement of the NSC55 has to be seen as a significant step forward,” says John Webster, senior analyst and founder of the data mobility group. “The list of software options now available to small to medium enterprises is impressive and includes logical partitioning and heterogeneous replication across heterogeneous disk arrays.”

A challenge for top-tier midrange customers is to deliver enterprise service with limited resources. Conventional midrange storage leaves much of this market under-served. However, according to Dave Vellante, CEO of ITCentrix, an independent software and services firm, Hitachi has addressed this issue with the cost-effective Network Storage Controller, delivering high-end function in a user-friendly form factor. "Relative to competitive best-of-breed midrange storage products, the NSC can reduce total cost of ownership by as much as 32% over a three-year period. This clearly changes the dynamics of how midrange data centres can be organised to meet business priorities versus IT necessities,” he says.

Hitachi is also introducing line-up of versatile and scalable, channel-optimised modular storage systems — the TagmaStore Adaptable Modular Storage (AMS) and Workgroup Modular Storage (WMS) lines. These new products feature virtualisation capabilities such as logical cache partitioning, host storage domains, and virtual ports.

The AMS and WMS systems out-perform, out-scale and are significantly more reliable than comparative modular products, and will support up to 4Gb/s fibre channel port connectivity. At the same time, AMS systems offer high availability FC drives with a cost-effective SATA intermix option, while WMS systems are configured only with SATA drives for low-cost near-line storage applications, such as data archival for regulatory compliance. Both support advanced software for point-in-time snapshots, remote copy, and backup. These systems complement the Network Storage Controller or Universal Storage Platform as tiered or archive storage, especially when configured with SATA disk for lower costs.

“These days small and medium enterprises are facing storage challenges that are similar to large enterprises in terms of availability, performance, and manageability. Hitachi is meeting this need by taking (…) enterprise technology and porting it down to the fastest, most functional class of midrange storage systems,” says Rachel Young, vice president of global marketing for HDS. She believes this new technology will enable mid-sized businesses to think differently about how to deploy and manage their storage infrastructure.

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