Hitachi Vantara adds agility to data centre portfolio with hyperconverged, converged portfolio upgrades

The HCI part of the portfolio introduces the first NVMe offering, while new support on the CI side was announced that will support very large deployments, and a refresh of the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform Advisor’s management and orchestration software was announced.

Paul Lewis, global vice president of industry and enterprise architecture at Hitachi Vantara

SAN DIEGO – At their NEXT 2018 event here, Hitachi Vantara announced enhancements to their hyperconverged [HCI] and converged infrastructure [CI] portfolio, with a highlight being their first hyperconverged system with full NVMe-over-Fabric capability for the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform.

The HCI market as a whole has been growing, and so has Hitachi’s Vantara’s HCI business, although Hitachi Vantara is still a relatively small player in the hyperconverged infrastructure space.

“There is still a need for best of breed in hyper-converged,” said Shawn Rosemarin, SVP and CTO, Global Field and Industry, Hitachi Vantara, who emphasized the importance of being able to simplify things in the data centre.

“Do everything possible about managing down your level of technical debt,” Rosemarin told customers at NEXT. “It will destroy your ability to be agile. It’s not just the platform, but the number of tools you need to manage, and the number of training sessions you need. Keep it Sesame Street Simple so you can allow the people who want to innovate to focus on that.”

Hitachi Vantara’s HCI business does not typically address the traditional HCI use cases that are still a large part of sales for most vendors in the space, even as HCI broadens its base.

“Our HCI business is mainly in the analytics space,” said Paul Lewis, global vice president of industry and enterprise architecture at Hitachi Vantara. “If you are creating a federated data lake, you typically invest node by node.  HCI is the way to do that, either with a rack scale or vSAN implementation.

“We aren’t competing workload by workload against other HCI vendors,” Lewis added. “We are addressing different customers, and different use cases. Our HCI is a part of diversification as a central theme of our strategy. If data is the core of your business, there might be a requirement for HCI – or you might be better served by Oracle, or a managed service, or a public cloud offering. We want to make sure that diversity exists to give you the maximum flexibility to extract value from the data. Both our HCI and our CI offerings are all about increasing this agility for customers.”

The new announcement beefs up the HCI appliance series with an optional new all-flash UCP HC V124N system that is fully NVMe capable. Lewis said the NVMe isn’t just from an NVMe media connection, but from a full NVMe host fabric, which provides a much deeper benefit to the customer in latency, IOPs and scalability benefits.

“This is still not a capability that most customers are demanding today, but it has great value, and the next iteration of our infrastructure set has it as a core feature,” Lewis said. Hitachi Vantara’s NVMe demand today comes from the bleeding edge – as real-time analytics, stock trading, fraud detection and online transaction processing.

The NVMe appliance has a 1U form factor with up to 12 NVMe SSDs  — four ultra-fast Intel 3D XPoint-based Intel Optane SSDs for cache and eight NVMe SSDs for capacity], delivering a total raw capacity of up to 72 TB. Hitachi Ventara says that it provides a 3x increase in IOPS performance and 4x lower latency compared with its predecessor all-flash UCP HC system.

“NVMe changes the performance metrics, which changes the customer’s choices and options around where they may want to spend their money,” Lewis said.

On the converged infrastructure side, the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform adds new support for Hitachi Advanced Server DS7000 series servers for demanding scale-up workloads. It also now supports the Hitachi Advanced Server DS225 with NVIDIA Tesla GPUs for specialized graphics needs including VDI, CAD, collaborative workplaces and advanced analytics.

“These enhancements are for very large applications, in particular those large Oracle, SAP and Microsoft deployments in heavy scale up environments,” Lewis said.

Software enhancements were also announced. The Hitachi Unified Compute Platform Advisor’s management and orchestration software adds new deployment manager functionality with automated, rule-based deployment and validation software. The automation of hundreds of manual tasks  can reduce deployment times from multiple days to as little as a few hours.

Oracle Enterprise Data Warehouse optimization is enhanced with the addition of Hadoop as an offload target. Oracle and SAP HANA customers can now also use UCP CI configurations with Hitachi DS7000 series servers. Other CI configurations with the Hitachi DS7000 are also coming, including Virtual HANA  and other VMware-based workloads.

“We actually find many partners are more attracted to software side of this than the hardware, because it fits with thousands of use cases,” Lewis said.

The optional all-NVMe chassis for UCP HC systems are expected to be generally available in November 2018, and will be complemented by all-NVMe Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform options for standalone deployment or within UCP CI in 2019. UCP CI configurations with Hitachi DS7000 series servers are available now for supported SAP HANA and Oracle environments. The latest release of UCP Advisor with new deployment manager functionality will be generally available in October 2018.

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