HDS Jumps into Converged Infrastructure with Help from Cisco

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While Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is still primarily known for selling storage systems, the company recently expanded its product portfolio to include servers. Now HDS wants to combine those offerings with VMware vSphere to create a new converged infrastructure platform.

The Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) announced this week at the VMworld Europe 2012 conference is much like similar offerings from rival vendors that seek to unify the management of servers, storage and networking. In some instances, the Hitachi UCP offerings are based on x86 servers built by Hitachi. In other instances, HDS has opted to also support Unified Compute System (UCS) servers from Cisco.

According to Ravi Chalaka, vice president of solutions marketing for HDS, what differentiates the Hitachi approach from those rival systems is the company’s Director software for UCP, which via the VMware vCenter Server graphical user interface, makes it possible to easily manage thousands of virtual machines, says Chalaka.

While primarily focused on VMware at the moment, Chalaka says HDS will look to support other virtual machine platforms down the road. At the moment, however, the HDS focus is on driving infrastructure costs out of VMware environments while simultaneously making the overall environment more agile. To that end, UCP Director software makes it easier to logically partition and manage servers and storage across what are increasingly becoming complex virtual machine environments, says Chalaka.

Ultimately, converged platforms such as Hitachi UCP will drive a realignment of how certain tasks are managed across the data center. One day that may even lead to everyone in the data center being seen more as an IT operations generalist, versus the server, storage and networking specialists who are in place today.

But in the meantime, Chalaka says most organizations are simply trying to get to the point where the amount of time it takes to provision not only a virtual machine, but also all the physical infrastructure that goes with it, requires only a few minutes versus the weeks those tasks typically require today. That alone is probably victory enough for most organizations for now.