Year 2006 will soon be behind us, and a challenging new year
approaches. Bellwethers indicate a fast growth in storage with faster growth in
areas involved with data protection. Vendors have been trying to battle it out
to gain total supremacy for years. IT managers realized long ago that its RoI on
storage technolgies is important, but vendors have not. But, still vendors keep
on inventing the storage wheel. Recently, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) with its
innovation in storage virtualization connected itself with IT managers at CIO
On the Virtualization Path
Hu Yoshida, CTO, HDS, admitted that storage is oversubscribed and underutilized.
"More budget is spent on maintaining the old because it becomes too
disruptive to migrate. Also, multivendor storage keeps price competitive but
adds to management costs. Cost has become crucial and should be spent in
technologies that can give RoI," he added.
Undoubtedly, its cheaper to buy storage today rather than hire
people to manage it. Today, CIOs don’t want to give up what they already have.
They want additional capabilties to be added to the existing technologies, which
is much cheaper than migrating to a completely new concept, which they are not
sure on ROI. Storage virtualisation is one such concept.
It isn’t a new concept, but it’s getting a lot of attention
lately as the top storage vendors launch next-generation virtualization wares.
The vendors vary on their approaches; some put virtualization in the network,
while others put it at the edge or in the array. But, they all attack the same
basic problem-simplifying storage management. Hitachi, with its storage
virtualisation concept has been able to convince IT managers that there is more
to tape and disc storage.
‘We not only sell concept,
Why HDS is
Today SAN is
Where do you
Virtualizing storage has differnet methods. These methods are
characterized by whether the virtualization is done on the host, the storage
array or the SAN.
HDS offers controller-based virtualization with its TagmaStore
Universal Storage platform. It puts virtualization in the storage controller,
either as a separate appliance or built into the array. Since controller-based
virtualization is intimately connected to the storage arrays, controller-based
products generally do an excellent job of working with the storage, especially
in the event of errors or write failures.
The major drawback to controller-based virtualization is vendor
lock-in. In fact, in most cases, customers are not just locked into a vendor,
they are locked into a particular product line since storage controllers only
work with one product line. Another disadvantage is that controllers, by nature,
have the narrowest view of the SAN-essentially, they only see the storage
array. But, HDS is riding high and claims to have around dozen installations in
Though Hitachi entered the Indian market a bit late-infact much later than
its competitor EMC-the Japanese storage giant is making up for lost time. A
growing reputation on reliability is helping Hitachi win more business. And,
Hitachi has been subjected to less criticism than EMC on interoperability-one
of the SAN industry’s biggest problems.
The risk Hitachi runs is letting its focus on EMC, keeping it
from capitalizing on opportunities to sell its solutions to smaller companies.
Profit margins in the midsize market are slimmer, but revenue growth is
But, slowly HDS is changing its gears and has started focusing
on SMB market as well. It is now enabling companies of all sizes to truly
realize the business benefits of Application Optimized Storage solutions, as now
even the smallest companies can enjoy the benefits of virtualization by
optimizing the performance of their most pressing business applications–such as
Microsoft Exchange or Oracle Financials–utilizing the logical partitioning
capabilities of Hitachi’s integrated new fleet of midrange offerings.
The challenge in front of HDS is to deliver world-class
enterprise service to its top-tire customers with limited resources.
Conventional midrange storage leaves much of this market under-served. However,
Hitachi has addressed this issue with the cost-effective network storage
controller, delivering high-end function in a user-friendly form factor.
As organizations look to move beyond tape — currently the
predominant storage medium for long-term retention-utilizing disk storage
technology for backup and recovery operations has become an attractive method of
improving reliability, reducing backup windows, achieving greater data
throughput performance and ensuring rapid recovery. Until now, however, the
migration to current disk-based solutions has been causing disruption and costly
downtime in legacy IT systems. Hitachi Data Systems has virtual tape library
solutions that requires no changes to existing backup policies, practices, or
Delivering on its plan to increase market share in SME
worldwide, HDS has entered into a global distribution agreement with Ingram
Micro, the world’s largest technology distributor. Under the agreement.
Bolstering its high-end storage virtualization market
leadership, HDS has shipped more than 4,500 intelligent virtual storage
controllers worldwide, outpacing competitors still attempting to gain a foothold
in this critical market
HDS is already on top as far as enterprise customers are
concerned. HP and Sun Microsystems sell HDS boxes to their enterprise customers
and HDS has no plans to compete with its partners in this space.
HDS is slowly and steadily making progress and has drawn some
major expansion plans to gain foothold in the region. It is also continuously
investing in its labs, which acts as demo centers to its customers.
Though HDS is making right moves, still lot needs to be done to
be the king of storage times.
Rahul Gupta in Phuket