Hitachi Vantara sees great fit for Canadian partners with expanded solution set

Marcel Escorcio talks with ChannelBuzz about the major new additions to the Hitachi Vantara lineup announced at NEXT, and their implications for Canadian partners.

Marcel Escorcio, GM & regional VP of Hitachi Vantara Canada

At their recent NEXT event in Las Vegas, Hitachi Vantara made major announcements around the core [the VSP 5000 array], the edge [the Lumada 3.0 IoT platform] and the cloud [the integration of the REAN Cloud technology acquired in 2018]. All of these are at different stages of development in the Canadian market, however. Marcel Escorcio, GM & regional VP of Hitachi Vantara Canada, who has led the Canadian organization since 2013, filled in ChannelBuzz on the implications of all three for the Canadian market – and the Canadian channel.

“The big change was increasing the focus on data across all of our businesses,” Escorcio said. “It’s very simple. Everyone should do it this way. All data has to be stored. The VSP 5000 is a big kick-ass, but we also have REAN, which takes us off prem, and Pentaho is all about activating that data.”

The VSP 5000, Hitachi Vantara’s new high-end box, was the signature announcement. It has what the company says is the fastest NVMe on the planet, being able to deliver 21 million IOPs at 70 microseconds latency, to accelerate any workload. While it starts with 2 controllers, it scales up to 12 controllers with 69 PB of capacity. That sounds like a direct product, but Escorcio emphasized that it isn’t. The reason is the VSP 5000’s use of advanced machine learning algorithms to perform on-the-fly optimizations of dedupe processes, determining in real time whether in-line or post-process dedupe should be used. That provides maximum data reduction with minimal performance impact

“The VSP 5000 is a big kick-ass box, but you should really think of it as a brain,” Escorcio said. “It’s a very powerful thing, which doesn’t need any disks, and has the smarts to enable its own data centre. The value of the 5000 is the smarts around it, and that it can pass them on to the older assets customers have in their data centre. This is the newest element of functionality, and something that can help it pay for itself that way.”

Escorcio said that Canadian partner interest has been strong.

“Partners are already jumping on it,” he said. “A lot of them have been waiting for it so that they can deliver it. It’s a foundational solution that gives more value to their clients. Because their value as a partner is bringing more value, they can use the 5000’s smarts to provide a better solution to the clients.”

The second announcement was around what the company is calling Lumada 3.0, a broad expansion of Lumada services designed to expand it beyond its base in the industrial IoT space.

“Lumada is a reset of the data lake, that prevents it from becoming a swamp,” Escorcio stated.

The core data products around Lumada now are the Lumada Data Lake, Pentaho 9.0, and Lumada Data Optimizer. The last version of Lumada was one of the highlights of NEXT two years ago, but Escorcio acknowledged that it really didn’t take off as a channel product in Canada.

“Many partners are re-evaluating their businesses,” he said. “Some want to be more analytics focused. But truthfully, there are very few partners in our existing partner community who are in that right now. There’s a handful of partners in Canada in this area. We don’t have the big type of partner in this. We are very regionalized. But we are getting new partners for that, and developing some partners we have today into that data stairway of value, where we enable solutions that can help them change their model, and they deliver some of these solutions.”

Escorcio highlighted Calgary-based partner Precision Drilling, which uses the analytics from Lumada at the edge in ‘digital drilling,’ that processes more than 20,000 data streams per second per rig to provide data for optimal decisions.

“Precision Drilling is a small company, but they have totally executed a data at the edge solution that has monetized revenue for their businesses,” he said. “Some people only talk about sensors at the edge, but our value is data at the edge, and there is huge opportunity there.”

Escorcio stressed how the edge is integral to Hitachi Vantara’s strategic vision.

“Foundationally the HDS [Hitachi Data Services] legacy business is very strategic, but we have been able to use that to build out all the way to the edge,” Escorcio said. “That shows the extent to where we eventually want to go, and everything in the middle is powered by the analytics.

“That’s why Pentaho was so important,” he added. “I’ve been pushing and enabling partners in that world. Partners like Benchmark are bringing us newer opportunities there. We’ve been very fortunate in having this HDS business that provides the infrastructure layer. We can now look inside these boxes and evaluate that data.”

The other new component, the integration of REAN into the Hitachi Enterprise Cloud, enhances Hitachi Cloud Services significantly around application flow. It brought a systems integration play, a solution and development play and a managed services play in the application space.

“The way to think of REAN is that in answer to ‘will data be on prem or off prem,’ this is the off-prem solution,” Escorcio said. REAN gives us this opportunity for customers to control their data. With the public cloud, they are stuck with their processes and cost models. With this, they have a choice of where to go, and more flexibility to choose which platform they end up on. They just have more control over data.”

That also makes the Hitachi Cloud more attractive to partners.

“The whole partner community is changing their identities, and broadening their businesses,” Escorcio said. “REAN gives them the capabilities, the opportunity and the power to lead a customer with something that the Big Three cloud providers can’t push aside.”

Escorcio emphasized that the new offerings extend Hitachi Vantara’s policy of allowing partners to choose their own business model, rather than a choice of marching to the cutting edge or dying.

“We don’t stick partners in a box with this,” he said. “With us, partners can choose where they want to play and develop. They can be a foundational partner or be a data partner to help customers with the analytics side, or be at the edge. Not everyone wants to be there, because they are still learning about it.

“My business is not about selling boxes,” Escorcio concluded. It’s solving data problems. For that, you need an ecosystem and that’s why the partner community is so important.”