Rearchitected Hitachi Data Instance Director likely to have first appeal to channel

Version 6 of Hitachi Data Instance Director massively increases scalability, and adds role-based access controls and a new interface. Exposing the system with REST API will, however, likely be the factor that makes it more attractive to Hitachi partners.

Hitachi Vantara has announced Version 6 of their Hitachi Data Instance Director [HDID] cloud-enabled data recovery platform. HDID was part of Hitachi Data Systems before its integration into Vantara with Pentaho and Hitachi Insight Group, which created the Lumada IoT platform. While Vantara has indicated that major integrations of the technology from the combination are forthcoming, this release does not include any of that. It is nevertheless extremely significant.

“This is a major release,” said Rich Vining, senior data protection product marketing manager at Hitachi Vantara. “HDID has now been in the market for two and a half years, and has seen incremental improvements over that time. This, however, is a rearchitecting of the product.”

Up to now, HDID has been largely a direct play because it’s a backup product, and channel partners typically have existing relationships with backup vendors, so were not interested in selling HDID.

“This is the first version of the product that we think will be interesting to channel partners.” Vining indicated.

Hitachi Data Instance automates and orchestrates operational recovery, business continuity, disaster recovery and copy-data management with snapshot, replication, live backup, continuous data protection and archiving. It is typically sold with the other elements of the Hitachi storage portfolio.

“We are seeing good integration with our storage management stack, with customers using our Automation Director product to automatically add data protection services as part of the provisioning,” Vining said.  “In Asia, it does a lot of standalone business because of its host based backup capabilities. We have sold a few hundred there without storage attached, although in Europe and North America, its sales are typically led by storage attached.”

Vining identified four major enhancements in HDID Version 6.

“First, we replaced our internal database with a Mongo database, which creates a massive improvement in scalability – about 100x,” Vining stated. HDID came to Hitachi through the acquisition of Cofio Software in 2012, and the rebranding of Cofio’s AIMstor product. While Cofio had been using AIMstor as a Windows Continuous Data Protection product, Hitachi bought it for the architecture and modularity. They continued to build on the original database through versions 4 and 5, before deciding to make the change this time.

The second major change with this version is the introduction of role-based access controls.

“Before there was just one standard log-in,” Vining noted “Now there are seven prepackaged profiles, which allow you to check on or check off different types of access. This is something that our larger customers were demanding.”

The third change is a new user interface. Typically, interfaces are redone when they appear clunky and out of date, but that wasn’t the problem here. The old interface, which was whiteboard-based, was popular, and was a selling point.

“We had a unique interface with a policy workflow engine,” Vining said. “The issue was that the massive increase in scalability, leading to hundreds of thousands of restore points, required making changes.  We also wanted to make it look like our other products, and it now looks more like our storage management interface. The old interface was a cool selling point, but this makes it better.”

Finally, this version of HDID now has a REST API – which is where the broader channel play comes in.

“The RESTful API allows the integration of our data protection directly into an application,” Vining said. “That allows us to offer HDID as a platform for cloud services. We see a lot of channel partners trying to sell services. Now, with our ability to integrate into their service, they can add this in. It’s the RESTful API that now should make it attractive to partners.

“It’s time for us to take that next step and start introducing this to channel partners,” Vining added.