New Hitachi VSP G1000 storage virtualization array goes active-active

Hitachi Data Systems rolls out new flagship enterprise storage array and virtualization software that allows active-active clusters across locations.

Hitachi Data Systems launched a new flagship storage array today, as well as an operating system for storage virtualization designed to eventually run across the vendor's storage platform.

The Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) G1000 is the latest entry in the Hitachi VSP enterprise storage array family and it also works with other vendor arrays. The new Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System (SVOS) handles management features such as non-disruptive data migration and includes a native global active device feature that provides active-active clusters across data centers without requiring a separate storage appliance.

The G1000 supports a maximum of 2,304 2.5-inch hard drives, 1,152 3.5-inch hard drives, 384 solid-state drives or 192 flash module drives, which is Hitachi's proprietary array-based flash technology. The 10U block storage module includes 192 8 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) ports with 16-gig FC on the roadmap. It holds 176 Ficon interfaces for mainframe connectivity, 176 FC over Ethernet ports and supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet through a file storage module. It supports memory cache from 64 GB to 2 TB and volumes to 60 TB.

For unified storage, the G1000 connects to a Hitachi NAS (HNAS) file module. The HNAS node is a 3U box with a maximum of 32 PB file system pools and up to 108 GB cache per node.

A new feature for the VSP family is the ability to install primary and secondary controller chassis up to 100 meters apart in a data center.

The Hitachi VSP series competes mostly with EMC VMAX and IBM DS8000 arrays. Hewlett-Packard rebrands the VSP and today also launched its version of the G1000, called the HP XP7.

The SVOS provides active-active clustering, Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning (thin provisioning) non-disruptive migration and Hitachi Dynamic Tiering. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the active-active clustering, which requires a separate global active device license and is not yet available. Bob Madaio, Hitachi's senior director of infrastructure product marketing, said the feature will be available in approximately six months.

Madaio compared it to EMC's Vplex storage federation product, but no extra hardware is required with SVOS.

"This is akin to what VMware and others do on a server," he said. "Vplex and others use appliances to deliver this. We do it in storage right on the device. We don't have to layer stuff on and add SAN connectivity."

SVOS is first available on the G1000, but Madaio said it will eventually run across other Hitachi storage platforms such as the Hitachi Unified Storage and Hitachi Unified Storage VM platforms.

"We'll have the entire portfolio with the same look and feel," Madaio said. "Some systems will be smaller and some will be VSP class."

Henry Baltazar, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, maintains Hitachi can benefit from bringing capabilities from its enterprise VSP arrays into its midrange systems.

"VSP was always the star of the show at HDS," Baltazar said via email. "Making that core functionality more accessible to a broader range of storage arrays is a good move, especially when considering the highly competitive environment in the midrange storage space."

The G1000 will eventually replace the current VSP, but Madaio said Hitachi will sell the VSP for at least another year.

In addition, Hitachi upgraded its Hitachi Command Suite of storage resource management applications, adding a new interface, support for SVOS and a common REST application programming interface across all the suite's applications.

The vendor also added support for the VSP G1000 and SVOS to the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) and UCP Director 3.5 software that helps manage storage through VMware vSphere. Hitachi expanded the UCP family with entry-level configurations of UCP for vSphere and added server profiling to simplify provisioning to the UCP Director.

UCP is Hitachi's platform for building private storage clouds.

"Hitachi's cloud strategy is still a work in progress," Forrester's Baltazar wrote. "The tight integration between their storage and server management tools looks solid. While owning the server and storage IP should be a strength in the converged and cloud markets, right now HDS really does not have significant market share outside of Japan. Customers want to have tight integration between their virtualization and storage management, and HDS is in a good position to improve on this."

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