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Hitachi aims to transform the data centre with 3D storage

New Virtual Storage Platform products introduced at company's Innovation Forum

SANTA CLATA, CALIF. – Hitachi Data Systems (NYSE: HIT), with the release of its new Virtual Storage Platform and Command Suite management software, is trying to position itself as the go-to vendor for the channel in the data centre transformation market place.

The company, best known for its storage networking products, released the first ever 3D scaling storage as part of its Virtual Storage Platform which scales up for apps and servers, scales out for multiple servers and changing workloads and scales deep to extend the life of heterogeneous storage systems. The new platform was also built to optimize data migration and includes 2.5-inch SAS hard disk drives, reducing power consumption by 30 per cent.

Jack Domme, CEO of HDS, told channel partners and customer attendees at the vendor’s Innovation Forum that the growth of data and storage cannot be maintained if the costs continue to be in parallel. “We need a new way to help those who want to manage and share this data. CIOs are looking for this as well. The number of apps outside the IT governance stream is amazing. So many apps make businesses more effective. We as IT folks have to keep up to support the business requirement and the demand for content is amazing. And it’s all being created in the cloud,” he said.

To that end, HDS has brought together several of its key alliance vendors such as Brocade, Cisco, Intel and Vmware and its channel partners in an attempt to go to market together. The company’s global services arm developed a new set of transformation services taken from best practices and methodologies from successful data centre transition customers. HDS hopes these transformation services will result accelerating the channel’s ability to plan and design virtualized data centres.

According to Domme, about 70 per cent of all new servers will be virtual. “This cannot be done without virtualized storage. But we need to scale up to meet the need for all these apps and access the data where these apps sit on these servers to make them more efficient. Social networks are driving data and consumption across business. Businesses are using social networking tools to communication better with customers and this leads to a major impact on data centres,” Domme said.

The Canadian roll-out plan for VSP is already in motion said Barry Morrison, vice president and general manager for HDS Canada. “Channel partners are already trained, HDS Canada employees have gone through partner readiness programs and top customers have tested VSP under a non-disclosure for this launch. It’s time for channel partners to re-engage with existing clients and, more importantly, enable them to open up new markets. VSP is a new solution that has never been seen before in the mid market in Canada,” Morrison added.

In the past, HDS struggled in the Canadian mid-market with server pull-through. Morrison said there was a delta between cost and functionality that was too large for mid-market customers in Canada. “Now that gap has been removed. Customers can now pick and choose the solution such as data migration or provisioning or archiving. They never had that kind of opportunity,” he said.

Hitachi channel chief Mike Waikley confirmed there will be added margin incentives for channel partners to attract new customers for VSP on top of its product and service margins. Total margin opportunity will be between 20 and 25 per cent, depending on service offerings.

Morrison also said that Arrow will be officially signed as a distribution partner by HDS Canada in early Oct. to compliment Avnet Technology Solutions, which acquired Bell Microproducts earlier this year.

HDS Canada channel partner Bradley Brodkin, president of HighVail Systems, called the Virtual Storage Platform a natural evolution to the USP and USP-V platforms and it adds more flexibility to an already wide ranging set of tools and technology customers are adopting in force.

“From a practical standpoint, integrating some of the industry’s leading products as part of a total solution, all the while protecting our clients current investments in not only HDS but competitive (multi-vendor) technologies, brings tangible cost savings by leveraging existing skill sets as well as minimizing and more often than not avoiding additional expense associated with moves, changes, and migrations,” Brodkin said.

Brodkin found HDS’ cloud computing strategy a key because it focuses on scale, which he said is often overlooked or forgotten.

“Dynamic Data Mobility provides scalability in all directions, giving our clients the ability to deliver what their users are looking for rather than making them settle for simply what the platform offers them,” said Brodkin. “I think the entire world is not only ready for 3D storage, but are asking for it. HDS has just taken the step of naming it “3D” storage.”Follow Paolo Del Nibletto on Twitter: @PaoloCDN.