With HUS VM, Hitachi takes its unified storage to the enterprise

Hitachi Data Systems rolls out Hitachi Unified Storage VM (HUS VM), taking its multiprotocol storage array to the enterprise.

Building on its Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) platform launched in April, Hitachi Data Systems today added its first enterprise unified storage system. The new HUS VM combines the HUS unified architecture with the HDS Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) enterprise storage virtualization controller.

HUS VM is a smaller capacity system than the VSP, and lacks Fiber connectivity (FICON) support for mainframes. It's expected to compete with entry-level enterprise storage area network (SAN) arrays such as the EMC VMAX 10K, Hewlett-Packard 3PAR, IBM XIV and NetApp FAS6200 systems, and larger midrange multiprotocol storage such as the EMC VNX7500 and IBM Storwize V7000.

Like the midrange HUS, the HUS VM supports Fibre Channel (FC) and iSCSI for block storage, and CIFS, NFS and FTP file protocols. The FC and iSCSI support come from the VSP controller technology -- VSP controllers don't handle file data -- and file support comes from the SiliconFS file system in Hitachi’s network attached storage (NAS) platform. SiliconFS was developed by BlueArc, which HDS acquired in 2012.

The SAN controller and NAS head are separate modules, both managed by Hitachi Command Suite software. The 5U block module includes two clustered SAN controllers that share up to 256 GB of global cache, support 60 TB LUNs, and hold 1,152 SAS drives and 32 8 Gbps FC connections. Customers can populate up to 128 slots with solid-state drives (SSDs).

We felt there was a gap that forced our buyers to choose between midrange storage and enterprise storage.
Mike Nallssenior product marketing manager at HDS

The 3U file module includes up to four clustered nodes with 32 GB of cache per node. It supports 128 file systems and a max file system of 256 TB, and includes four 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and six GbE ports.

HDS claims its HUS VM systems can be clustered to support 3.38 PB and the controller can virtualize 64 PB of external storage.

The HDS HUS VM can also connect to the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) through an HTTP interface, adding object storage to its file and block capabilities.

HDS will sell the HUS VM controller without drives as a virtualization engine to compete with IBM’s SAN Volume Controller (SVC) and NetApp’s V-Series. In that configuration, the controller will use any back-end storage from HDS or competitors. HUS VM is also available with only a block storage module, making it a smaller version of the VSP for organizations that don't want file services.

“We felt there was a gap that forced our buyers to choose between midrange storage and enterprise storage,” said Mike Nalls, senior product marketing manager at HDS. “The buyer we have in mind is similar to the enterprise buyer but at a smaller organization. They’re fairly sophisticated with needs for high availability and virtual machine consolidation, but they just don’t need a big tier-one storage array.”

HDS was one of the last major storage vendors to offer a unified storage system, and comes late to the entry-level midrange space. But Nalls said HUS VM goes beyond its competition as “the first unified platform with virtualization for all data types.”

Ashish Nadkarni, research director for storage systems at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, said the most important thing about HUS VM is that it shares the same code base with other HDS SAN systems, laying the foundation for the vendor to deliver one platform from the low end through the enterprise. NetApp is the only major storage vendor that currently does that. EMC, IBM and Dell all have multiple storage platforms.

“The HUS VM is HDS’ first unified storage system for the enterprise,” Nadkarni said. “It shares the VSP’s code base so customers can replicate between any combination of HUS, HUS VM and VSP arrays. If you outgrow a HUS array, you can migrate to a VSP.”

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