Hitachi Vantara announces major storage product refresh, roadmap strategy

Hitachi announces new product for their VSP 5000 and VSP E-Series, along with non-disruptive upgrade capabilities for both, as well as an enhancement of their HCP platform to accommodate new use cases.

Colin Gallagher, Vice President Product Marketing, at Hitachi Vantara

Today, at their ‘The Road Ahead: Digital Infrastructure for the Data-Driven’ event, Hitachi Vantara outlined their vision for the future of hybrid cloud data storage. They also laid out their roadmap to get there, and they announced a series of upgrades to their large enterprise-focused Virtual Storage Platform [VSP] 5000 series. models, to the VSP E-Series for small and mid-sized enterprises, and to their Hitachi Content Platform [HCP] object storage software.

“The theme of this event is adaptive resilience,” said Colin Gallagher, Vice President Product Marketing, at Hitachi Vantara. “The need for performance is often at odds with the need to keep a business running and stable. We address how to do this while accelerating the rate of change, with different approaches to provide for adaptive resilience, which allow customers to adapt quickly to get that needed agility.” This involves non-disruptive upgrade paths and cloud-like management tools.

While Gallagher acknowledged that all of the major storage vendors are addressing some shape and form of this vision, he said Hitachi Vantara’s was differentiated from the others.

“We do have a different vision of hybrid cloud data storage, and we have some different solutions,” he stated. “Everyone in the industry sees hybrid as paramount going forward, but a lot of industries are staying on prem. We are looking to unify those management, protection and mobility points of view, and deliver all benefits of on-prem across any environment with our distributed hybrid cloud fabric.”

While the VSP 5000 is Hitachi Vantara’s marquee product, the biggest news here for the channel is likely the VSP E Series news, which is targeted at smaller enterprise customers than the VSP 5000 and is a much stronger channel offering. The company is introducing new versions of its VSP E590 and E790 storage solutions, along with common data services and virtualization as part of Hitachi Vantara’s hybrid cloud data virtualization strategy. SAS has now been added as an option, in addition to the original NVMe, for customers who are not yet ready for the more expensive NVMe. New hybrid cloud integrations were also announced, as well as a plug-n for containers.

“We introduced the E series a year and a half ago, but at that time it was all-NVMe in order to handle high performance workloads,” Gallagher said. “Now the E590 and E790 are being offered in hybrid and flash versions. Some customers still want hybrid to meet certain price points, and are happy with file-based storage that doesn’t require the specific performance of NVMe. While we originally introduced this with NVMe for future proofing, not everyone is at the same level of the tech curve. Customers who want this can get it, and can upgrade in 1-3 years down the road as their workloads change.”

That upgrade strategy becomes easier because Hitachi Vantara is also announcing that these models now all have a non-disruptive upgrade path. They are also announcing addition hybrid cloud integrations with Google Cloud Anthos, and with Red Hat OpenShift.

“We have had plenty of integrations in the past, but what is important about these new ones is their direction – cloud and hybrid cloud approaches,” Gallagher said. “We are also announcing Hitachi Replication Plug-In for Containers, which enables enterprise data services in container environments.”

The VSP 5000 Series for large enterprises has been upgraded with two new models, the VSP 5200 and 5600, which will replace the VSP 5100 and VSP 5500 respectively.

“These have faster performance and lower latency than the older models,” Gallagher said. The VSP 5600, for example, has an industry leading 33 million IOPS and under 39 microseconds of latency.

“We have also outfitted them with dedicated compressor modules to take load of controller CPUs, and like the new E-Series models, these are also designed to be non-disruptively upgraded going forward.”

The VSP 5100 and 5500 will continue to be sold in the short term, for customers who already have them in their sales cycle, but will be phased out after that.

The Hitachi Content Platform [HCP] object storage software solution has been enhanced with a greater than 2x improvement in performance for cloud gen apps through new optimization settings that distribute the objects across the architecture more efficiently. A new scale-out policy engine also optimizes performance through data services that can be customized per use case or workload.

“This greater performance is designed to meet new workloads – not just to provide performance for performance’s sake,” Gallagher said. “The HCP is no longer just being used for archives only. It’s being used to drive business decisions, so performance matters.”

Hitachi Content Software for File has also been enhanced, and now supports ingest from Amazon S3 object storage for high performance applications such as IoT sensors and video surveillance machines, which need to rapidly feed massive amounts of data into a central repository.

“We introduced this solution nine months ago,” Gallagher said. “It is a high-performance file system from Weka-IO combined with HCP. Now we support S3 ingest, and have a reference architecture for high performance. We are also  finalizing a GPU Direct storage certification from NVIDIA.”

Improvements were also announced to the Hitachi Ops Center, which streamlines operations for distributed teams by applying AI and ML methodologies.

“We have a new version which we call ClearSight, which is a simple cloud-based version for all VSP storage,” Gallagher indicated. “It lets you optimize and manage storage from anywhere with easy-to-use dashboards. We still believe that Ops Center has a place in the data centre, but there are scenarios where customers just need quick and easy web based management,  and that’s what this is for.”

Kimberly King, Senior Vice President, Strategic Partners & Alliances at Hitachi Vantara

“We did a channel preview of this last week and we got amazing feedback,” said Kimberly King, Senior Vice President, Strategic Partners & Alliances at Hitachi Vantara. ‘Partners were really excited about the E series and what we are doing with that – making it more cost effective, but still letting them future-proof their customers.

“Partners are seeing us drive more profitability through all of these solutions, and are pleased that we are continuing to invest and innovate across the storage portfolio. They are seeing huge opportunities. We just had a major competitive takeout last week. A small mid-range customer in Europe bought an 590 and deployed Ops Center Analyzer, which identified the root cause to of identified issues. They refreshed 11 site environments with the E590 as a result.”