Hitachi Data Systems (NYSE: HIT) has moved to fill a hole in its solution line-up with the launch of the Hitachi NAS 3080 and 3090, two new network attached storage (NAS) platforms that aim to offer performance, scalability, consolidation and management that’s tailored for the mid-market.
Fred Oh, senior product marketing manager with Hitachi, said customers are having to deal with exponential growth in their levels of unstructured data, and with mid-market customers also suffering under greater IT budget and resource constrains, it creates real storage management challenges.
“Customers are running into disparate storage silos and server sprawl so storage consolidation is a big challenge for them, and anything that can help them deal with that is a positive,” said Oh.
The challenge in the past, though, said Oh, is that Hitachi really didn’t have an offering to meet the need of the mid-market for a balance of performance, price and resources.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from our channel partners that customers appreciate our (enterprise-focused) 3100 and 3200, but in most of their environments the systems are overkill and too high-priced for their needs,” said Oh. “They want the same features but at a lower price point and a smaller footprint.”
Over 70 per cent of Hitachi’s NAS business flows through the channel, and Oh said partners were also asking for a Hitachi mid-market SAN solution. Many Hitachi partners also sell NetApp, and in competitive bid situations where a competitor is first to register the opportunity with NetApp, partners wanted an alternative vendor solution to offer.
Toronto-based HighVail Systems, an Hitachi partner, said it’s glad to see Hitachi offering a targeted solution for the mid-market, a market that dominates the Canadian IT landscape.
“We’ve always been after Hitachi to offer something that addresses more of the Canadian marketplace,” said HighVail president Bradley Brodkin. “Canada is really one big, huge mid-market.”
In the absence of a Hitachi solution, Brodkin said HighVail has used a number of other options. It has built an environment for some customers based on a highly-available server cluster with standard SAN storage, which has worked well for some customers. It has also offered a competitive NetApp product, as well as EqualLogic before its acquisition by Dell.
“We could compete in that market but we couldn’t be as successful as we’d like,” said Brodkin, adding the Hitachi NAS 3080 and 3090 will change that. “It’s an excellent offering and we’re quite excited about it. Hitachi has come a long way in a very short time with this.”
Hitachi’s Oh said the 3080 and 3090 offer intelligent file sharing and high performance with up to 2PB of capacity and support for 250TB of file system, compared to 16TB in competitive offerings. They also feature intelligent tiering and integration with Hitachi’s Data Discovery Suite.
To ease future growth and to help partners more easily make the case for upgrades, the systems also come loaded with all Hitachi’s software pre-loaded. Customers just need to purchase the license keys to activate them. As well, for the first time, Oh said Hitachi is offering a 120-day free trial license for the full software suite, to allow customers to experience the full capabilities.
While Oh can’t disclose margins, he calls them aggressive and adds Hitachi’s True North partner program includes a number of new programs to help markets take these products to market. It include sales tools, a demo program, a leasing program, and a new simplified ordering process that allows partners to order software and storage bundles.