Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), known primarily for its block-storage platform, today moved to bolster its file storage with upgrades to two NAS platforms and a new software suite for indexing and searching data.
HDS' new enterprise network attached storage (NAS) comes from its OEM deal with BlueArc Corp., which rolled out upgrades to its Titan family today, and which HDS will brand as the Hitachi high-performance NAS 3000 series. HDS also reworked its Essential NAS midrange platform, replacing NAS blades that plugged into its storage area network (SAN) storage systems with a standalone filer or gateway that connects to the Hitachi Adaptable Modular Storage (AMS) midrange or Universal Storage Platform V system.
HDS also brought out its Data Discovery Suite, which includes federated search across its high-performance NAS and the Hitachi content archiving platforms, and allows users to restore files without the help of administrators. The federated search comes from FAST, the search vendor that Microsoft is acquiring for $1.2 billion. HDS also added security and search features to the archiving platform, allowing users to encrypt administrative functions and delivering role-based access to search results and a logging of search activities. HDS will also allow software vendors to write directly to its high-performance NAS and archiving platform.
Bringing search and retrieval to all
Analyst John Webster of Illuminata Inc. said federated search will soon be a "must-have" item for any e-discovery product. He also said HDS' new suite should help non-IT personnel find and retrieve email and other files. These personnel can include corporate attorneys, HR staff, the financial department and other users inside an organization.
"You have to develop interfaces for people outside of IT, not just because you want to bring them into the decision-making process as to how these things are indexed, but [because] as storage administrators you don't want to get involved with all these things," Webster said. "You want the storage person to manage storage, and as a corporate attorney you don't want IT people making decisions that have a legal impact. Hitachi has created a place where both sides can sit down and work together."
Midrange NAS for HDS storage
Although the NAS that HDS gets from BlueArc is proprietary, its Essential NAS platform is designed to run with HDS storage. The new Essential NAS consists of the 1500c with 32 GB of RAM and supports 24,000 concurrent CIFS sessions; the 1300c with 16 GB of RAM and 12,000 concurrent CIFS sessions; and the 1100c with 8 GB of RAM and 5,000 concurrent sessions. The filers and gateways support RAID 6, scale to 512 TB in a two-node cluster and have a new GUI.
HDS sees the platform as competitive with the Network Appliance FAS3000 midrange NAS. JurInnov Ltd., a Cleveland-based data forensics company, recently added an 1100c gateway to use with its AMS200 midrange array. Although HDS has struggled to win acceptance with its own NAS systems in the past, JurInnov network operations manager Eric Vanderburg said he was pleasantly surprised when he saw the new NAS offering. "We were ready to go with a NetApp gateway, but we wanted to stay with all Hitachi and the new system let us do that," he said. "We hadn't used NAS before. We were using our own servers attached to the SAN, but we reached a point where Windows could only handle a certain number of files. When we hit about 60 million files, performance was too slow with Windows trying to reference that many files."
Vanderburg said he had to change back-end RAID groups and make some other tweaks to get the system working the way he wanted, but now he's happy with the throughput and failover capabilities, as well as its performance running multiple domains with Active Directory.
He said he likes the scalability improvements, as well as the new interface for the upgraded Essential NAS platform. Although he didn't use NAS before, the AMS200 had the capability to insert a NAS blade, and he had seen the interface.
"There were lots of command lines and not as many options as the new GUI," Vanderburg said. "Here we have Active Directory integration and multiple administration accounts. It would have been a lot harder for us to work with the old interface."