Hitachi Data Systems Unveils Next Gen Storage

October 1, 2010 Off By Hoofer
Grazed from Network Computing.  Author: Beth Bacheldor.

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) today introduced a new platform that Hitachi says provides organizations with more intelligent, scalable storage and also prepares them for the next-generation data centers leveraging virtualization and cloud computing. HDS unveiled a new upgrade to its management software that, among other things, can manage more volume of objects and capacity via one management server and offers visibility and correlation of applications, virtual machines and servers and logical storage devices for traditional and virtualized VMware and Microsoft Hyper V environments.

The Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) is what HDS calls a "3D scaling storage platform" because it can "scale up," meaning that processors, connectivity and capacity can be dynamically added in a single unit and there’s support for page-level tiering. It can also "scale out," meaning that individual units can be dynamically combined into a single logical system with shared resources, there’s multi-tenancy support, and the storage needs of servers can be prioritized and provisioned from a common pool of storage resources. Finally, it can "scale deep," meaning that the platform lets organizations dynamically virtualize new and existing external storage systems, among other things.

In his blog on the HDS web site, Hitachi CTO and VP Hu Yoshida says the 3D architecture lets users, for example, start with a diskless, singe rack, 12 core system for use in a virtualized mid-range application environment and scale up to a 6x rack configuration with 96 cores, 1TB of data cache, and 2048 x 2.5 inch, Serial Attached SCSI drives. From there, the architecture could then scale up to support a large VMware cluster with thousands of virtual machines as well as scale deep to include external storage as lower cost tiers of storage.

The new page-level tiering capability will let organizations break up storage data at the page level, rather than logical unit number (LUN) level, and move them to storage media that best matches the data’s requirements. "Now a LUN can span multiple tiers of pages, says Claus Mikkelsen, chief scientist with HDS. "Typically, as databases grow, there is lots of data that hasn’t been touched in a long time but must stay in tier one or tier 0 where the fastest drives are, while some pages can drop to the lowest tier. This lets you match data, at granular levels, to a tier of storage," he says.

Other storage vendors also offer automated tiering, including EMC and 3Par. EMC offers FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering) for Symmetrix V-Max and other EMC storage systems. Earlier this year, EMC announced a new version of FAST that offers sub-LUN tiering for Celerra and Clarrion (though no word on when Symmetrix would offer the latest version of FAST). "VSP’s automated tiering is not all that different from FAST on V-Max, but with VSP it feels more cooked in rather than added on," says Howard Marks, chief scientist at DeepStorage.net and a Network Computing contributor. "The difference is that VSP is not, in the fullness of time, limited to local system drives." In other words, HDS will be able to apply its automated tiering to 3rd-party arrays, although not in the initial release of VSP. It may be a year or more before VSP can apply page-level tiering to competitors’ arrays.