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Forget acquisitions, HDS will build its own flash storage

Every storage vendor has a solid-state strategy, and today Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) revealed plans for putting flash in its storage controllers, arrays, appliances and on PCIe cards.

HDS allows up to 256 solid state drives (SSDs) with a maximum capacity of 800 GB per drive in its high-end Virtual Storage Platform (VSP). The next step is a flash acceleration feature for the VSP. Implemented through a firmware upgrade, HDS claims the acceleration feature will enable VSP systems to achieve more than 1,000,000 random read IOPS and significantly reduce latency when using SSDs in a hybrid design.

The flash accelerator feature is available for VSP customers as a firmware download.

HDS is also developing a flash memory controller that it will use in appliances, arrays and server cards with product launches expected to begin late this year.

Roberto Basilio, HDS VP of infrastructure platforms product management, said the HDS plan is to develop its own flash technology instead of gaining it through partnerships or acquisitions. That’s a different way than other major storage vendors approach flash, but HDS has never been as acquisitive as the other large storage companies.

“Hitachi is an engineering company,” Basilio said. “We can do it better ourselves. We don’t want to wait for LSI or Micron or Seagate or somebody else to build something. We want to provide the technology on our own.”

The HDS flash memory controller will handle features such as block/page mapping, wear leveling, data compression and performance management, Basilio said.

HDS claims it can drive sustained throughput four times as high as current multi-level cell (MLC) SSDs with five years of endurance for enterprise workloads, inline zero block compression and secure erase functions. The key question is, will people wait for HDS when so many other options are available with more coming nearly day?

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