Hitachi unveils roadmap to the future

Hitachi made multiple announcements of significance at their recent NEXT customer show, but they also gave some high level guidance about what’s coming in 2018.


Most tech vendors offer high level roadmaps of their future plans at their big customer events, and at their recent big NEXT event in Las Vegas, Hitachi was no different. However, Hitachi’s plans were of more than average interest here, given that the company is refocusing its IT business around the Internet of Things, as it had earlier emphasized data management, and storage before that.

“What we have to do to help our customers is fundamentally changing,” said Bob Madaio, VP, Infrastructure Solutions Marketing, Hitachi Vantara. “As we move forward, we need to correlate data from different systems– not just business application data, but human data, and machine data with the Internet of Things.

Madaio said that to build the full portfolio of the future, the infrastructure needs to scale, and the integration of Pentaho and the Lumada IoT appliance from the Hitachi Insight Group into Vantara, along with Hitachi Data Systems, are critical to that.

“We need a very complete and robust portfolio,” he said. “The addition of Pentaho is so critical to our strategy. It does that blending of data that we could never have done alone on the infrastructure side. Lumada is also critical because it takes care of those unique environments where we have not been deploying systems.”

Madaio told the customers in attendance at his well-attended session that many of them still tend to see Hitachi as a hardware vendor.

“Most of you know us from our bottom layer – the physical systems, even though they are driven by a lot of advanced software,” he said. “We need to bring the power of software to all these systems because the software layer is becoming control plane.”

Madaio said that Hitachi’s products have followed this strategy recently, but that the significance of it has largely been overlooked.

“A lot of this has been missed in what we have done over the last six months, with so much going on in the industry,” he said. “We’ve brought out new e brought out HCI, converged, a new rack scale platform (with VMware), and we have an upgraded 8.0 content platform coming to market right now. We just announced a  new management suite,  an IoT appliance, and new container-friendly as-a-service enterprise cloud offerings – not bad for this week.

Madaio began what what’s coming next for the Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform

“Next year, we will have new flash options, with 7.6 TB and 15 TB SSDs,” he said. “We will have  encrypting FMDs. We will also make storage management easier.”

“Encrypting FMD is something that a lot of customers have asked for,” said Iri Trashanksi. Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Hitachi Vantara.

“In sum, we are making our 2018 models denser, and easier to deploy and manage. All that’s coming next year,” Madaio said. “The platform will also have a management utility that comes out of the box, which will get a system up and running 40 per cent quicker because it will be HTML5 and run natively on the system.”

Trashanski said that the HTML5 capability will be available early in 2018.

“It will provide almost 3x performance compared to today, with lower latency, and higher capacity and density,” he said.

2018 enhancements to Hitachi Storage Advisor will create a simple, federated storage management environment.

“It will be easier, faster, and lighter, with active active storage built in, and iSCSI support, Madaio said,

NVMe will be a key building block in 2018.

“NVMe is ready for prime time in some areas,” Trashanski said. “It’s in our hyper-converged now, and are looking at it in the back end and Over Fabric.

“We can do NVMe caching in hyper-converged today, and more is coming in hyper converged tomorrow,” Madaio said. “We will have NVMe Over Fabric once the industry figures out the best way to do that.”

Enhancements are also coming in software defined storage.

“We are playing with it today in object storage, and in 2018 will be extending that to block storage,” Trashanski indicated.

The next generation of the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform has been announced over the last three weeks.

“The key here is a common management layer,” Madaio said. “The new UCP Advisor 2.0 simplifies operations with a federated management across the infrastructure. Its policy and workflow-based automation accelerates innovation and easy integration with ITSM and CMDB establish best practices.”

Trashanski emphasized that UCP Advisor 2.0 really is a quantum leap forward.

“We have changed the way of thinking here,” he said. “There is a very open API, and simple operations. It manages all converged and hyper-converged, so you don’t have to run between different screens. It will also support the old generation.”

Madaio said that the new solutions are on the new Intel sixth generation Xeons, and benefit from a faster time to the Intel release.

“They are much more flexible there than before,” he said.

“We are also bringing together environments where converged and hyper-converged can co-mingle, and there are more improvements coming with what we do with OpenStack, including content management.”

Trashanski noted the success of the Hitachi Content Platform, which is now able to do blending visualizations and mining with Pentaho.

“HCP Anywhere is being used dramatically more in enterprise accounts compared to Dropbox,”  he said. “We are making additional investments in analytics here in the next year, as well as a more intuitive visual experience. We are opening the platform with more Spark and Stream Support, and scale out infrastructure and cloud ecosystem support for the enterprise platform.”

Madaio stressed that automation has become a necessity rather than a nice-to-have

“Two tools for automation are critical – Hitachi Automation Director and Hitachi Infrastructure Analytics Advisor, which determine what gets automated,” he said. “Many of our customers haven’t touched all these tools. Hitachi Automaton Director can reduce manual processes by 90 per cent, eliminating human errors. We will continue down this path of automation, with integration across Hitachi analytics, copy management, storage management, and Pentaho. We will determine how we can roll out Pentaho services from this interface.”

Hitachi Analytics Advisor will see continuous reporting to SLAs.

“This is a critical step for us,” Madaio said.

Madaio then discussed the philosophy of Hitachi’s NEXT Smart Data Center.

“We used to focus on the hardware infrastructure,” he said. “That’s long gone at this point. What’s really going on today is enabling these applications to talk to each other, to tie this collective together, with everything being API-enabled. We don’t need analytics in every app. Our analytics tools need that though. We need to have them talk to each other. Think of it as control plane management in the data centre.”

Data Governance solutions are a top priority going forward.

“Hitachi Data Instance Director is how we protect and secure it and make sure you own the metadata,” Madaio said. “We believe the two big capabilities here are Big Data Analytics  with Pentaho, and deep data exploration – content intelligence to exploit metadata. These are going to start to be packaged together, so that you can look at one pool of data and get intelligence out of that. Lumada will excel in grabbing machine data of any type. Pentaho with its blending capabilities will be a key ingredient on the data lake  Where we are going is to make it easier to analyze information – simplifying data analysis – Including Big Data analysis right in Pentaho without having to set up a cluster.