Hitachi Data Systems Takes on the Midmarket IT Complexity Challenge

Michael Vizard

Once upon a time, midmarket IT organizations faced distinctly different challenges from their larger enterprise IT brethren. But as IT continues to get more complex, midmarket IT organizations are now facing the same IT challenges as any large IT organization with the exception of one important attribute: less money.

To address that issue, we’re starting to see companies that primarily focused on large enterprise customers roll out more entry-level versions of their products that are specifically designed to appeal to midmarket customers facing complex IT management issues. The latest of these came this week from Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), which rolled out a Hitachi Unified Storage VM (HUS VM) storage system that, like its larger siblings, is capable of supporting file, block and object data types.

According to Mike Nalls, senior product marketing manager for HDS, midmarket IT organizations not only need a more efficient approach to managing multiple data types, they also need systems that can easily scale because no one can be sure what their data requirements are actually going to be a year from now. Not only is the sheer volume of data that needs to be managed growing exponentially, the characteristics of the data that IT organizations are being asked to manage is changing rapidly. Asking a midmarket IT organization to manage storage systems that are dedicated to one data type versus another simply isn’t feasible or practical, says Nalls.

Based on the floating-point gate array (FPGA) file architecture that HDS gained with the acquisition of BlueArc last year, HUS VM supports Fibre Channel, iSCSI and Ethernet (NFS and CIFS). Like the other members of the HDS storage lineup, it relies on a single clustered namespace and an object-based file system that enables searches, replication, automated tiering and the rapid movement of files.

Nalls says that capability ultimately reduces storage costs by up to 50 percent by consolidating existing storage into a centrally managed pool of shared capacity, while at the same time reclaiming as much as 65 percent of unused storage capacity. Each HUS VM system can support up to 3PB of storage using a combination of hard drives and solid-state drives (SSDs), with a maximum capacity of 64PB when coupled with external storage.

As the number of virtual machines that need to be managed per server increases, IT organizations are increasingly struggling with application performance. Obviously, new servers are going to be an important part of solving that problem. But as the number of processors increase, so does the I/O pressure on the storage systems, which is rapidly becoming a major performance bottleneck. As virtualization continues to evolve, it’s become apparent that existing storage systems will not be able to keep pace, which means most IT organizations are going to have to soon figure out new ways of managing storage that not only rein in costs, but don’t adversely wind up affecting application performance.



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