Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) introduced this week a new storage array to its mid-range line and an additional application module to its HiCommand storage management suite.
Both announcements sound pretty humdrum on first reading but actually reveal important differences between HDS and its competitors.
The company announced a new QoS (quality of service) module that supports Sybase, following modules already released for Exchange, Oracle and general file serving applications.
By providing an application-specific storage management module for Sybase, HDS claims it gives administrators managing this application better information on the utilization of this application. It should also enable users to make more informed decisions on the allocation of storage for particular applications.
HDS also announced a software extension to these QoS modules called HiCommand Path Provisioning. This will automate the provisioning functions of switches, hosts and sub-systems using these applications. "When a DBA adds new storage or brings another application online, typically they have to use multiple tools to get the job done," said an HDS spokesperson. With the path provisioning tool this can now be done through a single interface, he said.
HDS is working through a list of applications that it plans to create modules for, but declined to give any details on which applications or when they might be coming.
The HDS approach to managing storage makes more sense than the conventional method, according to John Webster, founder and analyst with Data Mobility Group. Traditionally, he said, storage is managed according to the number of terabytes it consumes. For example a data-warehousing application that sucks up tons of storage is likely to have more people managing it. By contrast, Exchange, which could be a tenth the size, eats up all kinds of administration, but often has just one person managing it, Webster said.
Webster said he believes the HDS approach looks more closely at what the administrator is actually doing with the application and then automates some of these tasks, which he said is more helpful.
HDS is the only company out there taking a software and storage services combined, approach, according to Webster. He noted that other vendors have some of the functionality for supporting specific applications, such as AppIQ, Storability and CreekPath but that don't have all the automation features.
Alongside the new software announcements, HDS unveiled another mid-range box, the Thunder 9585V, which uses a faster processor than the other models (1.3 GHz, instead of 933MHz). It has no additional disks or virtual ports. Pricing ranges from $100,000 for a 1 TB Thunder 9585V to $300,000 for a 10TB version. HDS said it is "filling in the gaps" in its tiered storage architecture.
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