Hitachi Data Systems has introduced a new line of mid-range storage systems designed to bring the performance and features of high-end storage kit within the reach of medium-sized businesses.
Available immediately, the Hitachi Adaptable Modular Storage 2000 series consists of rack-mounted modules capable of holding up to 480 drives in the top-end AMS 2500 for a maximum capacity of 472TB.
The new kit introduces several important features at its price point, including dual controllers operating in active/active mode with dynamic load balancing, plus the first 3Gbit/s Serial Attached SCSI backplane in a mid-range storage platform, according to Hitachi.
Bob Plumridge, Hitachi's software product management director for EMEA, said the storage market has changed dramatically over the past few years, which has led to increasing demand for enterprise-grade features from medium-sized companies.
In particular, archiving and new regulatory stipulations have driven up storage demands. "We've had to go back to the drawing board to meet these requirements," he said.
With dynamic load balancing as standard, the AMS 2000 series can deliver greater throughput and removes the need for customers to implement load-balancing tools on their servers, Plumridge said.
This has benefits for virtual environments, as it offloads this overhead from servers, freeing up capacity to handle more virtual machines.
"What we're seeing is that the servers don't need to worry about which path they have to write data to because of the dual active controllers," Plumridge said.
The kit is already certified for VMware ESX environments, he added, and supports the VMotion live migration technology.
Another first is the ability to apply live upgrades to the controller microcode, according to Plumridge. Administrators can take one of the pair down for upgrading and the other will temporarily handle all requests. This feature avoids the need to take systems offline for maintenance, he said.
Hitachi's move to Serial Attached SCSI internally has also enabled a boost in performance as this replaces Fibre Channel's arbitrated loop architecture with up to 32 point-to-point links for attaching storage devices, which can either be SAS or Serial ATA. Fibre Channel or iSCSI is supported for host server connections.
Plumridge said that data migration is fully supported between Hitachi's existing storage products and the new range. The AMS 2000 series also supports remote replication for businesses continuity and disaster recovery purposes, using synchronous replication for distances up to 100km and asynchronous beyond this.
The entry-level AMS 2100 starts at $31,500 (£18,236) and is designed to fit in a half-height rack and supports up to 120 physical drives for up to 118TB of capacity, while the AMS 2300 is priced from $47,500 (£27,509) and supports twice as many drives in a full-size rack. Both systems are available immediately.
The AMS 2500 will be available from November. It costs $81,500 (£47,235) and supports up to 480 drives, requiring two racks when fully configured.
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