Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has entered the modular storage market with the Thunder 9500 V Series of virtualised storage systems.
The common information model (CIM) compliant entry-level systems are aimed primarily at storage consolidation. CIM is the basis of the Bluefin storage interoperability standards initiative.
The 9500 V Series comes in three pre-configured deskside models, ranging from 360GB to 1TB in capacity, and one rack-mountable system. That supports up to 224 drives with a total capacity of 32TB.
It has a virtualisation assistance layer designed to ease storage management and maximise resource use.
"The 9570V [rack-mountable system] supersedes the Hitachi 9200 and has more performance, more disk, more scalability in a smaller size," said Andy Williams, HDS mid-range storage and network attached storage (Nas) product manager for EMEA. "The deskside systems use the same basic architecture but are low-cost."
Graham Titterington, senior analyst at Ovum, said: "This is indicative of the pace of progress in storage. What we are seeing is an accelerating trend to miniaturisation and getting more power for less money."
He added that the specifications sound impressive, but that he expects similar initiatives from other companies in the coming weeks.
The new models complement HDS' high-end Lightning 9900 V Series systems introduced earlier this year, sharing the same software and features.
The three pre-packaged systems can be 'disruptively' upgraded out of their units into a 9570V so that the data is protected.
The software is designed to let administrators mix different servers through a single system connection.
This simplifies infrastructure and reduces total cost of ownership by cutting the number of host bus adapters, fibre channel cables and switches.
HDS has also signed an agreement with Network Appliance to sell its enterprise Nas products in an open challenge to EMC's Celerra Nas.
The two companies will also combine Network Appliance's front-end Nas heads with HDS' back-end storage arrays to create an enterprise Nas gateway due to ship in the first quarter of 2003.
Titterington explained that Nas is becoming increasingly important as storage vendors move down from targeting Fortune 100 to Fortune 2000 companies. "The cost and complexity of storage area networks is a bit beyond them," he said.
Under the agreement HDS will sell Network Appliance's enterprise Nas gateway for its Freedom Storage environments managed by HiCommand Management Framework tools.
Williams stressed that the HDS V class blade storage technology, which will be testing in the first half of 2003, is complementary.
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