Hitachi Data Systems moves into unified storage architecture with HUS

Hitachi Data Systems combines BlueArc’s SiliconFS with block storage for its first unified storage architecture.

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) took its first step into offering a unified storage system today with the launch of its Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) platform that combines block, file and object storage under a single management console.

The HDS unified series consists of the HUS 110, HUS 130 and HUS 150. The systems replace the HDS midrange Hitachi Adaptable Modular Storage (AMS) family and will compete primarily with EMC's VNX arrays, and NetApp’s FAS3000 and FAS2000 products.

“We're not the first to market, but we're doing it better than our competitors,” said Fred Oh, HDS’ senior product marketing manager for NAS. “We're taking our enterprise-class technology and bringing it down to the midmarket. We're doing unified storage on block and file, and on top of that we can add the object storage capability.”

All three modules are managed under the Hitachi Command Suite 7.3 storage resource management (SRM) application that has been upgraded to support file systems.

HUS supports file storage protocols CIFS, NFS and FTP, as well as Fibre Channel (FC) and iSCSI for block storage. File support comes from the SiliconFS file system used for Hitachi’s NAS platform. SiliconFS was developed by BlueArc, which HDS acquired last year.

SiliconFS is an object-based file system, which adds metadata for each file and enables features such as migration and replication. The unified storage architecture can also connect to the object-based Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) via an HTTP interface. HCP is used for compliance archiving and cloud storage.

HDS will continue to sell its NAS platform separately.

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HUS uses a separate NAS head and SAN controller that are managed under a single Command Suite console. HDS's Oh said the 100 series is similar to EMC’s VNX system in that the block module manages all the storage capacity and provisions capacity to the file module, which layers a file system on top of the storage.

“The block data and file data never mix,” Oh said. “It’s just the block controller managing it all.”

“If you use the block module, it connects to object I/O; if you do file I/O, it connects to object I/O,” said Ray Lucchesi, president at Silverton Consulting in Broomfield, Colo. “HUS maps on top of the object storage that has the potential for better metadata.”

The 3U HUS 150 scales to 2.9 PB of raw capacity and 32 GB cache per module. The 2U HUS 130 scales up to 756 TB of raw capacity and 16 GB cache per module, while the 2U HUS 110 holds 360 TB and 8 GB cache per module. The systems support 8 Gbps FC and 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) connectivity.

File modules are added to the block controllers for unified storage. The file modules support 256 TB file systems. The HUS 110 and 130 support one or two nodes per cluster, and the 150 supports four nodes in a cluster.

The systems use active-active dual controllers that both have access at the same time to the same storage pool and drives. They provide automatic failover and dynamic load balancing.

“They put everything under one management roof,” said John Webster, a senior partner at Boulder, Colo.-based analyst firm Evaluator Group Inc. “They also started down the road to object-based storage, which will be more important over time.”

HDS also announced the Hitachi Application Protector software suite that provides application-aware data protection through snapshots for Microsoft Exchange, SQL and SharePoint Server. These are managed through a plug-in for Microsoft Management Console (MMC). For VMware over NFS, a snap-in for vCenter is available.

Hitachi’s block-based modules are currently available, but the file modules will start shipping in 60 days to 90 days.

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