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Hitachi analytics sharpens heterogeneous storage management

Upgraded Hitachi Vantara analytics for storage improves visual mapping of application storage and integrates dynamic-cooling IoT technologies from Vigilent.

SAN DIEGO -- Hitachi Vantara is trying to deepen the role artificial intelligence plays in storage analytics for data protection and hybrid cloud environments.

Hitachi analytics in the Hitachi Smart Data Center data lake includes continuous SAN optimization and automated provisioning of heterogeneous storage. The Smart Data Center upgrade also integrates AI-based thermal management intelligence from technology partner Vigilent.

Formerly known as Hitachi Data Systems, the company changed its name to Hitachi Vantara in 2017 when it moved beyond only storage to include IoT technologies and Pentaho cloud-based predictive analytics.

Hitachi Vantara has also added Lumada Maintenance Insights, a set of prescriptive analytics that is part of its nascent Lumada industrial IoT platform. New Hitachi analytics include machine learning models to help industrial users avert unplanned downtime from equipment and maintenance failures. Hitachi launched Lumada in 2017, based on the Pentaho engine.

Hitachi analytics in industrial settings

Big data analytics for core, cloud and distributed infrastructure was the dominant theme during the opening day of the Hitachi Next 2018 user conference this week.

"This is a very disruptive time, and we need to embrace the disruption. Data is changing the game, and those who have the best data strategies will win," Hitachi Vantara CEO Brian Householder said in his keynote address.

Analytics is a core component of Hitachi storage. Unlike traditional enterprise storage vendors, Hitachi markets its all-flash Virtual Storage Platform mostly to industrial and manufacturing customers. Those environments need infrastructure that can ingest factory data and correlate it in real time to big data projects.

Brad Surak, Hitachi Vantara's chief product and strategy officer, said Hitachi wants to deepen the ties between storage, data governance and agile management.

"We are focused on data agility. Think about how important it is to be able to operationalize your data pipelines, especially if you have a large distributed workforce with different data-access policies," Surak said.

Improvements in Smart Data Center include dynamic mapping of application storage to aid data placement across data centers, clouds and edge environments, said John Magee, a vice president of portfolio marketing at Hitachi Vantara.

"We're using more machine learning algorithms to help customers make better decisions based on the data we're collecting," Magee said.

Hitachi Smart Data Center is a managed service for on-premises and off-site locations. Hitachi analytics looks across Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System-based environments, as well as competing vendors' storage.

AI simulations and better visibility

The intelligent SAN optimization AI module identifies hot and cold spots as they develop within Hitachi storage. Smart provisioning places data on different tiers of storage, based on cost and performance requirements. Customers can run AI simulations to evaluate how data growth is likely to affect near-term storage needs.

George Crump, an analyst at Storage Switzerland, said Hitachi analytics increases control of data across traditional storage, converged infrastructure and the cloud.

"Hitachi isn't necessarily trying to eliminate silos," Crump said. "Some applications need to be siloed to get a certain level of performance. What Hitachi is trying to do is give you better visibility into those silos across your infrastructure IoT and to manage through those silos as you need to."

For cooling, Hitachi said Smart Data Center uses Vigilent machine learning, temperature sensors and closed-loop controls to deliver the best air temperature on a rack-by-rack basis.

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