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Hitachi builds managed service around HDS UCP private cloud platform

Hitachi Data Systems turns its UCP integrated stack into a managed service private cloud. HDS now sets up and manages all the hardware and software.

Hitachi Data Systems is trying its hand at the managed service provider business. The company this week introduced...

Hitachi Cloud Compute-as-a-Service, which deploys HDS' Unified Compute Platform as a customized private cloud.

Here is how Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Cloud Compute-as-a-Service works: The vendor places its Unified Compute Platform (UCP) converged infrastructure product on premises behind the customer's firewall, and manages the hardware and software through HDS worldwide service operation centers.

"With this model, we are committing to no CapEx upfront," said Justin Augat, global services marketing lead at HDS. "This is a shared reward and shared risk model. We put UCP on the customer floor and we manage it with UCP personnel. It's a private data center, but we are managing the hardware and software."

Augat said the service is designed so HDS provides a secure, on-premises cloud with a custom-built infrastructure and service-level agreements (SLAs) managed by HDS employees who specialize in UCP.

The UCP uses HDS's storage and servers, and networking from Cisco or Brocade Communications Systems Inc. It also comes with a set of reference architectures comprising HDS storage, as well as servers and networking from Hitachi partners. UCP is integrated with VMware vCenter and it has access to vCloud Air along with support for Microsoft System Center and access to Microsoft's Azure public cloud.

HDS UCP provides remote monitoring and administration of the entire infrastructure from the hypervisor and beyond.

"It's a private cloud but with the public cloud benefits," Augat said. "We understand that customers are deploying cloud in a different way. Customers are trying to determine what cloud is best for them."

Augat said customers are charged monthly, with a negotiated baseline cost. Customers pay for the capacity they use that month. Contracts typically run between three to five years.

"If we put 100 TB on the floor, and we establish a baseline cost for 50 TB, then that [50 TB] is the agreed amount that the customer pays monthly," he said. "If there is a certain month that more than 50 TB are used, then they pay more."

Leah Schoeb, senior partner and analyst at Evaluator Group, said HDS' Cloud Compute-as-a-Service is different from most private cloud setups.

"They are one of a very few that do that," she said. "[HDS] wants to have the ability to offer a hands-free service. They fully support on-premises but everything is managed off premises."

HDS has UCP configurations for VMware vSphere, Oracle Database, SAP HANA, Microsoft Private Cloud and Microsoft SQL Server. Depending on the version, an HDS UCP can use any of the vendor's SAN or NAS storage platforms.

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