By Alan Earls
Hitachi Data Systems, based in Santa Clara, Calif., has emerged recently as one of the toughest competitors in the storage arena. Following its refocus effort a few years ago away from mainframe products, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has come forward with strong storage products and a slew of strategic partnerships.
A recent Giga Group report showed the firm's storage business growing at up to 100 percent annually -- double the rate of EMC and other market leaders. According to a February 2001 A.G. Edwards report, Hitachi has replaced EMC as Hewlett Packard's primary storage provider on the high-end and currently derives approximately 30% of storage revenues from its OEM business unit (which also sells to Silicon Graphics).
Consider just a few of the recent developments at the firm. Recently, Hitachi formed a Global Storage Management Agreement, with Veritas Software. This agreement advances the coordinated integration and testing of each company's storage solutions. As part of this agreement, Hitachi will offer the latest versions of a wide range of VERITAS Software products and professional services to its customers around the globe. The companies will also unite in joint product integration and certification efforts. Separately, Hitachi has made an investment in Sanrise Group, Inc. -- a company in which Hitachi has also formed a strategic relationship. This relationship is designed to position HDS as a leading storage provider in the Storage Service Provider (SSP) arena.
HDS has also been ranked as the leading vendor of storage systems in a survey of data center users reported by Wit SoundView Corp., a New York-based investment banking firm focused on technology markets. In the survey, Hitachi Data Systems was measured against eight other storage vendors with substantial presence in corporate data centers. Hitachi Data Systems beat out EMC, IBM, Sun, and five others for the top rating.
The vendors were ranked on the basis of reliability, function, performance, service, technology, price and footprint. Hitachi Data Systems' scores ranked highest, with an average overall rating of 1.9 out of 5.0 (1.0 being the best). The score for the closest competitor was 2.2. Survey respondents were particularly impressed with Hitachi Data Systems' service and product performance. In reporting its survey results, Wit SoundView also said it expects Hitachi Data Systems has the potential to start gaining market share in the second half of 2001.
Finallly, Giga notes that while HDS hasn't had the breadth of an EMC or Compaq, it should begin to offer something comparable once it rolls out its NAS products later this year.
About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, Mass.