HDS targets midmarket with expanded UCP 2000 and new hyper-converged offering

The HC V240, HDS’ first hyper-converged appliance, is based on the VMware stack, but the hyper-converged road map is likely to broaden out beyond that.

Hitachi-logoHitachi Data Systems has deepened its mid-market presence with two new products. Its converged offering is the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform 2000 [UCP 2000], a greatly expanded version of the product first introduced in late 2015. The hyper-converged offering, the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform HC V240, is the first of its family, and HDS has a road map in place for future offerings.

“What we are really focusing on here is evolving the UCP product family, with two solutions squarely focused on the midmarket,” said Chris Gugger, director, infrastructure solutions marketing at HDS. “They cover from the core of the network, out to the edge, and out to Big Data.”

The UCP 2000 is a 2U 4 node rack-based system. When it came out late year, it only supported the VMware environment. Support has now been extended to Microsoft and OpenStack. Likewise, while it originally only supported HDS’ VSP G200 Virtual Storage platform, with which it is tightly integrated, it now supports the VSP G400 and VSP G600, and HDS’ VSP F400 and VSP F600 all-flash arrays in the same manner.

“Support has been greatly expanded with this release,” Gugger stressed.

HDS is positioning the UCP 2000 as simple, flexible and right-sized, compared to the larger models in the converged family.

“Many businesses, particularly outside the U.S., want a system with a smaller footprint, an entry level value-based system,” Gugger indicated. “That was one of the drivers in creating this product.” He noted that VDI, web apps, cloud, databases, and test/dev environments are the main use cases. He indicated that a major selling point is that the customer can start small with the UCP 2000, and that both storage and compute scale independently, which is not the case with the hyper-converged model, where these scale together.

That hyper-converged model, the HC V240, is the first such offering from HDS. The 2U 4 node appliance combines Intel x86 commodity hardware, HDS’ own software, including their Hitachi Compute Advisor management software, and the VMware stack, with VMware vSphere, VMware VSAN and VMware vCenter Server. As VSAN supports hybrid drives, that’s what the HC V240 supports as well.

“The VSAN supports hybrid so we are staying in step with VMware here,” Gugger said. “We are, however, working on an all-flash version to be out at the end of the summer, so one will be available, just not at this time.

“The mid-market is more value-based in pricing, particularly as they are often edge solutions, and the hybrid drives meet that need out on the edge, but we will have all-flash across the entire product line,” he continued.

HDS doesn’t see the present lack of a flash option as a problem with their hyper-converged model.

“Anyone but a pure flash vendor still sells a ton more of hybrid than do of flash, but they don’t want to talk about that,” said Bob Madaio, vice president, product marketing at HDS. “We will soon be leading with flash too.”

The HC V240 is a rack server product, not a blade server one like other HDS offerings like the UCP 4000e.

“Gartner says the majority of data centres are still using rack-based servers, and that’s what the mid-market, which is the HC V240’s target, is using,” Gugger said.

Gugger noted that the HC V240’s primary use case is VDI, which he said still tends to be the case across the hyper-converged industry.

“The appliance is highly configurable to tailor to specific use cases though, with a choice of processor, RAM and drive configuration,” he said. “We’ve also been working closely with VMware to configure it closely. And of course no new skillsets will be needed if the customer knows the VMware stack.” Each HC V240 is sized to run approximately 100 average-sized VMs.

Gugger also indicated that the road map for the hyper-converged line could broaden beyond VMware, among several other variants.

“There is a very detailed road map here, as there is for the UC 2000,” he said. “For the hyper-converged products, we could potentially look at larger scale systems, all-flash arrays, different types of platforms depending on use cases, as well as different software stacks. We may not stay tied to VMware in that regard.”