While the idea that a storage system should be able to simultaneously support file, block and object data types isn't particularly new, building a unified storage system that scales has been a challenge.
For this reason, most usage of unified storage systems has been limited to small-to-medium (SMB) organizations where scale is as important as the ability to contain management costs. Now Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) wants to bring unified storage to the enterprise in the form of a Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) platform that is being launched today.
According to Sean Moser, vice president for Software Platforms Product Management at HDS, IT organizations are being asked to consolidate departmental applications that usually support a variety of different storage formats. The HUS platform allows IT organizations to consolidate those applications using a single storage system that can scale up to 3 petabytes.
To make it easier to manage that amount of storage, HDS also unveiled today the Hitachi Command Suite, which provides a framework for unifying the management of file, block and object data types.
The biggest problem with the volume of data that IT organizations are now being asked to routinely manage is that it's strewn across the enterprise in multiple formats. Each format typically requires the IT organization to acquire a dedicated storage system, which becomes expensive to manage.
New approaches to manage multi-protocol storage that unify the management of data and storage systems are obviously going to be required. It just has to be done in a way that actually scales; otherwise, all an IT organization winds up doing is moving the problem from the department level to the data center without really fundamentally changing the cost equation.