Hitachi Vantara looks to reshape high-end enterprise storage with the VSP 5000

At an event that emphasized the ability of Hitachi Vantara’s new solution set to deliver end-to-end performance for the DataOps economy, the most exciting new product of the show was a box. But it’s a very special box.

Dan McConnell, SVP Infrastructure Products at Hitachi Vantara, onstage at NEXT

LAS VEGAS – Hitachi Vantara’s NEXT event this year had new product announcements for the core, the edge and the cloud. The splashiest of all of these was the new core announcement, the new top of the line Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform [VSP] 5000 series. It was complemented by the new Hitachi Ops Center management software and the updated Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System [SVOS].

“This is the biggest set of product announcements since Vantara was founded two years ago,’ said Brad Surak, Hitachi Vantara’s chief product and strategy officer.

Surak stressed however, that while the VSP 5000 is all about the core, the most traditional part of Hitachi Vantara’s business, this does not make it a traditional product.

“We pushed ourselves to reimagine the architecture, and we redesigned the core array with elastic scale and AI-driven automation, in a unique architecture designed around Hitachi Acclerated Fabric,” he said.

Hitachi Vantara CEO Brian Householder discussed the design objective of what was known internally as Project Jupiter before its release.

“With Project Jupiter, we spent a lot of time looking at what the new architecture is for the future – edge to core to multi-cloud,” he said. “We focused on what the key challenges are that customers are facing – massive siloes of infrastructure and stranded data that doesn’t work in this new DataOps world. The decision was made to extend that capability across our entre infrastructure. So our Smart Dedupe will work across entire data centres, regardless if it is Hitachi’s tech or someone else’s tech.”

The VSP 5000 series’ metrics are impressive. In the opening keynote, Dan McConnell, SVP Infrastructure Products at Hitachi Vantara, who got to introduce the product, declared boldly that this is now simply the best flash array in the business.

“The VSP 5000 provides the fastest NVMe on the planet,” McConnell said. “It can deliver 21 million IOPs, and it is capable of 70 microseconds latency. That can accelerate any workload. You can start small with 2 controllers, and scale up to 12 controllers with 69 PB of capacity. That’s over eight times of our competitors. We are also capable of 8 nines of reliability – making us the biggest, fastest and most reliable product in the market.

The smart dedupe optimizer Householder referred to uses advanced machine learning algorithms to perform on-the-fly optimizations of dedupe processes. The intelligence here allows the optimizer to determine in real time whether in-line and post-process dedupe should be used. That provides maximum data reduction with minimal performance impact, with up to 7:1 total reduction.

Matt Bouges, enterprise IT architect, Conagra Brands, appeared onstage, and emphasized that Conagra would be using the VSP 5000 to eventually replace all their older arrays.

“This will let us consolidate our Tier, Tier 2 and Tier 3 arrays all in one platform, while reducing our footprint,” he told the audience.

Does that mean this is a rip and replace product? Not necessarily.

“It can be, but it doesn’t have to be, because of Hitachi’s External Storage Optimization Capability, which lets you virtualize an older array behind a VSP 5000,” said Mark Adams, Product Marketing Director at Hitachi Vantara. “This lets the customer still get more life out of that asset.” The VSP 5000 is also able to bring all the data services it possesses to these older assets through virtualization.

Adams said that several tiering options are available through the VSP 5000.

“One is to spinning media and hard drives, where using the cloud and pulling it back can produce an unacceptable level of latency,” he said. “Cloud tiering is an option as is our Storage Virtualization Engine, that enables data to be moved back and forth from a VSP 5000 to other arrays.

Along with the VSP 5000, the company introduced a VSP Cloud Connect Pack, which adds an HNAS 4000 file storage gateway to move data to a public cloud, while enriching it with metadata to make it indexable and searchable. An upgraded version of the Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System, which powers the VSP 5000 series, was introduced as well.

McConnell also announced the Hitachi Ops Center, which is a new brand, and while it incorporates existing products, it is in essence substantially new as well. It is designed to bring AI to infrastructure management and operations, using analytics to connect data across the environment, and automation of correct actions with customizable UI dashboards.

“This is a new brand and a new licensing structure for a group of products that were disparate up to now,” Adams indicated. “It combines basic storage management, analytics, automation  and data protection.

“Besides the new branding, there are a couple of new aspects to this,” Adams continued. “One is that the installation and single sign on of the products is now cohesive. There are also a lot of new features and functions, like Viewpoint, a global analyzer. Until today a datacenter could view their own assets and that’s it. They couldn’t view another within a consolidated screen. There would be a separate screen. Now they can see a consolidated view that show elements like production from a global perspective.”

So is the VSP 5000 the magic bullet that significantly expands Hitachi Vantara’s share of the enterprise storage market?

“It’s a step in that journey, but it is an important step,” Adams said. “It’s squarely targeted at the high end – like financials, telcos, global retailers. There are lots of elements of the storage market where this is not a fit, and we are working on solutions for those and will be sharing and announcing them in the not-so distant future.”

All the newly announced products are available now.

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