Hitachi Powers Storage Lineup With Intermix

by Amit Tripathi    Jun 15, 2004

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) launched a Serial ATA (SATA) Intermix option offering yesterday that will allow its Thunder 9500 V series of arrays to be configured with a combination of SATA and Fibre Channel (FC) devices to a capacity of 107 terabytes (TB) in a single storage system.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Sunil Nawani, national channel manager, HDS-India, spelt out the potential that Indian enterprises offer for the product. “Since we find huge demand in India from large data users like finance, banking, telecom and more recently the pharmaceutical sector, the new facility will provide the option to have the best of SATA and FC.”

Does it help in cutting down on business costs, really? Nawani was quick to point out, “On a comparative analysis, a FC storage costs Rs 6.75/MB (1.5 cents) where as a SATA storage would cost Rs 3.5/MB (0.8 cents). The cost cutting on the mix option would thus depend on the degree of storage combination of each category.” While FC storage is usually adopted for frequent data retrieval, SATA is better suited for maintenance of data criticality.

The previously FC-only Hitachi Thunder 9570V, Thunder 9580V, and Thunder 9585V systems would now take trays of SATA drives for archival storage. To achieve reliability, Thunder 9500 V Series controllers enhance SATA functionality with features to safeguard data integrity, enhance data protection, and reduce drive failure rates. This SATA functionality is administered by the same management software as used on all HDS storage systems.

The new technology is also slated to be extended to fixed content applications generating data such as e-mails, databases, videos and medical records. Says Nawani, “We see huge growth in demand from pharmaceutical sector as it is bound by statutory specifications for maintaining data for number of years.”

Businesses are gradually depending on fixed content for business purposes as suggested by an IDC report that points to the rapid growth of e-mail from 10 billion to 35 billion messages between 2003 and 2005. Thus, an archival platform that provide fast information retrieval is very much in the need.

The reliability aspects added to HDS SATA system would include the ability to read the data that was just written to check for reliability, a feature which tape drives offer, but few hard drive systems do, he said. There is also a call-home feature which scans hard drives on a regular basis and reports to a remote location.

The SATA Intermix Option is compatible with HDS’s Open LDEV Guard data retention utility that provides disk-based WORM capabilities to ensure data integrity for compliance and regulatory purposes.

On the pricing structure in India, Nawani said, “The India pricing is now being worked out and would be revealed shortly.” Outside India, the Intermix option is available for HDS’s Thunder 9570V, 9580V, and 9585V with price for a 5-Tbyte configuration for about $95,000 and for 13 Tbytes (of which 85 percent is SATA-based), the list price is about $170,000.

Elaborating on the HDS marketing strategy in India, Nawani revealed, “For our enterprise storage segment (Lightning Brand), we have partnered with HP and Sun and have about 70% market share in India, where as, for the modular storage (Thunder Brand) where the new Intermix option fits in, we have partnered with Acer, Wipro, Apara (and here HP and Sun are the competitors) to market our product.” HDS India currently has 20% of its revenue ($18-20 million in 2003) coming from modular storage and Nawani expects to increase that to 60% within three years.

The option of a mixture of SATA and FC storage capability is slated to gain significance as more and more vendors, like Veritas, are spelling out information life cycle management strategies. Meanwhile, the India storage scenario is getting competitive, with aggressive marketing strategy that finds hand holders at one product segment becoming stern competitors at others.

Tags: Hitachi