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NEXT 2018

14 posts
Douglas Howatt

The Next Day of NEXT

Posted by Douglas Howatt Employee Sep 20, 2017

Award winners, robots, entertainment – Oh my! And I thought the first day was exciting! Today was the second and final day of NEXT 2017 and it certainly ended with several high notes.


Today was all about the future with insights aplenty and opportunities in data and the internet of things. The General Session was where the charismatic Dr. Kaku filled the hall with matter-of-fact predictions that can help all of us navigate the future. We agree with his vision of artificial intelligence, and Hitachi Vantara is already going in that direction. Though it seems that we have to brief him on Hitachi’s robot, EMIEW, to raise his expectations of what’s possible today! I hope he saw EMIEW’s demonstration this afternoon.


But before that we had the Women’s Leadership Forum that included Vernice Armour, the first African-American female combat pilot. Her advice on fearless and decisive leadership was valuable insight for anyone to hear.


Did you see the announcement of the winner of the Hitachi Transformation Award? It’s Meat & Livestock Australia! Nobody expects the cattle industry to be on technology’s leading edge, but MLA has shown that digital technologies can help even the most remote cattle stations. What assumptions does your organization have for what could “never” benefit from digitization?


Breakout Sessions were just as informative and just as packed as yesterday. I could see that you were all enjoying learning with and from your peers today. I hope you swapped many business cards to continue your collaborations.


After the announcement of Hitachi Vantara during yesterday’s opening session, there was an exciting buzz that carried on through the day and definitely into last night’s Gala Dinner. With everyone dressed in their best, it was a celebration perfect for kicking off a new chapter and toasting to the future. But for me, that light show was a bit overwhelming and I wished I’d kept my sunglasses with me.


It’s been an incredible two days here in Las Vegas. This first NEXT event has been memorable but don’t hesitate to relive the presentations that were most meaningful to you on our Resources page. Send the link to your coworkers who couldn’t attend this year.


I’m definitely looking forward to the next NEXT in San Diego, September 2018. But before this NEXT closes its doors on a successful inaugural event, we’re going to party with a Grammy-winning, international superstar tonight – Pitbull! See you there. Dale!


We’ve all heard the old adage, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  Similarly, hyperconverged is the new shinny object in IT infrastructure and some vendors would lead you to believe it can address all your IT modernization needs.  The fact of the matters is, building a modern data center requires a complete toolbox. Yes, hyperconverged systems play an important role but so too can converged and rack scales systems help meet your business demands.  To complete your modern infrastructure build-out, you need to wrap these systems with end-to-end management automation software, providing agility, flexibility, simplicity and intelligence to drive digital transformation. The Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) family provides a complete toolbox to quickly and easily build your modern data center.



Data is an organizations most strategic asset. Data is the only organizational asset that technically lives forever and whose value continues to grow over time. For this reasons we believe a modern data strategy is the foundation of any Digital Transformation journey. A data strategy blends disparate sets of data together – structured, unstructured and machine data into logical insights.  It enables  you to derive value and gain competitive advantage from a modern data strategy with ubiquitous data services – using any data source -  from any application - on any cloud.    You will also find in the UCP toolbox a complete set of  data management capabilities that allow our customers to efficiently manage, govern, move and analyze their key data sets across data centers and clouds, reducing the complexity and cost of disparate applications and services.  UCP systems solve today’s data problems with mature, marketing leading solutions to easily ingest, aggregate and blend data from the core data center – to the edge – to the cloud.

Increased business agility drives innovation, Hitachi is committed to accelerating our customers Digital Transformation journey by bringing IT agility to life. (check out  Paul Lewis' blog). I see three key IT and data focus areas that you need to invest in in order to enable successful digital transformation:

  • Modern Infrastructure – Automated, software-defined, flash accelerated, with consistent data management capabilities.
  • Digital Workplace - enabling new ways of working to empower the digital workforce.
  • Business Insight - the digital enterprise needs to add new value to their existing customer data and get better end to end visibility over their business to discover new opportunities.


HDS has answered these challenges by creating the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) family of converged and hyperconverged infrastructure solutions. The UCP family that can betailored for all workloads and business apps to gain more complete data insights and drive better business outcomes.



Our UCP family of converged, hyperconverged and rack-scale systems provides enterprise, departmental and managed service provider (MSP) environments with a simple path to IT modernization enabling our customers to deploy any application, at any scale, in any location, be it a private, public or hybrid cloud.  The systems provide a flexible, low-risk, modular architecture to create a framework on which to build a robust cloud infrastructure that includes automation, analytics, advanced data services and management capabilities.



The Hitachi Unified Compute Platform family provides you with a toolbox to drive IT modernization and develop your data strategy to ensure a successful digital transformation.  To learn more about how Hitachi can help you solve your business challenges, please contact your Hitachi Data Systems representative or visit  Hitachi Vantara.

Douglas Howatt

The First Day of NEXT

Posted by Douglas Howatt Employee Sep 19, 2017

Wow! What an incredible first day of NEXT. So much happened today, it’s hard to know where to start. Oh yeah – the big announcement that kicked off the first-ever NEXT.


We sure made an entrance to NEXT when we introduced Hitachi Vantara, a new company that combines Hitachi Data Systems, Pentaho, and Hitachi Insight Group to bring customers and partners the best of Hitachi. Hitachi Vantara is a new generation of Hitachi that combines our legacy of expertise with our innovative current and future solutions for data management. Brian Householder, president of Hitachi Vantara, described the company’s focus on customer success through better outcomes, better business and better society. He cautioned against silos in data, organizations and mindsets, all of which hamper competitiveness and outcomes.


The rest of the General Session was full of insights on digital transformation and what it takes to disrupt and lead the industry, thanks to some of the biggest names in the industry, such as noted author Geoffrey Moore and Penske President Bud Denker. The finalists for the Hitachi Transformation Award were also announced. I can’t wait to see who wins tomorrow!


The Solutions Showcase was like taking a walk through the future. It featured the latest products and solutions for almost every industry. Energy, manufacturing, transportation and IoT are just a few areas in the Showcase that had innovative demonstrations on display. There is still so much to see.


And those Breakout Sessions. There were so many to choose from and most of them were packed with attendees as well as information. With five different tracks, there was an informative session for everyone throughout the afternoon.


Next up tonight is the Gala Dinner. With a new company and renewed dedication to customer success, there will be many things to toast. It will be a suitable close to an eventful day at NEXT.


I’ve got to rest up. Tomorrow’s going to be another big day. Before the General Session are the Women’s Leadership Forum and an interview by The Wall Street Journal. At 10 a.m. you can look into the future with four different presentations by people who are driving their industries there or who are predicting what we can expect. You’ll be fascinated and inspired by futurist, Dr. Michio Kaku. The morning sessions will easily be worth the price of admission just by themselves. And watch for the Breakout Sessions in the afternoon with still more information and insights about how the world is changing your business.


The last thing I’ll say is that you must not miss the evening entertainment on Wednesday. It will be a night you’ll long remember.


See you tomorrow in the hallways.

Just moments ago at the inaugural Hitachi NEXT 2017, we introduced Hitachi Vantara, a new company that brings together Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), Pentaho and Hitachi Insight Group to combine data management, analytics, industrial expertise, technology and outcomes into one great solution provider.


As Hitachi Vantara, we stand for data-driven innovation. This new brand was created with you, our customers, in mind. As the world changes how we all work, driving companies to evolve, we want to transform for and with the enterprises that are data-driven, too. With you, we want to innovate to reach meaningful outcomes for business and society, leaving the world a better place than we found it.


So what’s behind our new name? Hitachi Vantara is a nod to our storied history in data management and infrastructure in VIRTUALIZATION. It is also a name that represents our strategy for future growth – giving customers a VANTAGE POINT to uncover new insights in data for a competitive ADVANTAGE. We look forward to building this brand with all of you in the years to come. 


While we’ve got an awesome company name, it’s so much more than that. It’s about what new value this company will bring to our customers through the combination of our 100+ years of operational technology expertise and 58 years in IT. We’ve gathered the best of Hitachi to combine the digital and industrial worlds into something new that will last, grow and deliver outcomes that really matter. It’s also about creating a new culture for our employees—a culture that represents our drive to create something extraordinary while we enjoy the journey along the way.


It’s a rare opportunity to help a company that’s over 100 years old create something so big and new. This introduction of a new company has created a tangible moment in Hitachi’s transformation, one that shows the strength of our history, our ambition to take risks for a greater purpose and our noble commitment to our customers.


As the Chief Communications Officer at Hitachi Vantara, I had a unique insight on the creation of the company. Creating a new brand isn’t easy. Most companies take over a year to go through the process—we did it in 180 days. This was made possible by a nimble approach, a clear direction with strategic milestones and small sprints led by a small-but-mighty team. A feat this huge is impossible without dedication and collaboration, and all Hitachi organizations played a big part in the journey. Becoming Hitachi Vantara was nothing short of amazing, and I cannot talk about it without a huge “thank you” to all the teams across all functions to make it happen.  We also couldn’t have done it without the amazing support of our senior executive teams at Hitachi Vantara and Hitachi, Ltd. This display of participation and teamwork is truly inspiring and emphasizes Hitachi’s commitment to innovation and our customers.


Along with the announcement of Hitachi Vantara came the kickoff of NEXT, Hitachi’s new conference. This global platform gave us a chance to introduce ourselves to our customers and partners and provide a personal experience in getting to know the future of Hitachi. We couldn’t have thought of a better way to show you who Hitachi Vantara is and what our path leads to.


As the new generation of a renowned legacy, Hitachi Vantara was created with the intention to grow, evolve and expand along with our customers and partners. We’re well on our way to intelligent innovation and a better tomorrow, and this is just the beginning of the journey. We can’t wait to change the world with you.

With our first annual user conference NEXT 2017 happening this week, it's is a great opportunity to pay it forward and share your event experience on social media. Here are five simple ways that attendees (onsite and online) can create a virtual experience for the entire Hitachi community:


1. Follow the #HitachiNEXT hashtag and contribute: Whether you are attending live in Las Vegas or following along via our Livestream, be sure to use the #HitachiNEXT hashtag.


For onsite attendees, a Social Media Wall will be displayed in front of the Solutions Showcase so attendees can view tweets, photos and videos in real time. By keeping an eye on the social stream, you can join the conversation by replying, retweeting, or sharing your own insights.

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2. Tweet your favorite sound bites: This is a simple but valuable way to share out information. You will hear a lot of great sound bites from numerous speakers – from General Session keynotes, to evening events, to any of the 50 breakout sessions throughout the week. You can help surface key insights by highlighting great quotes or visuals from our customers, thought leaders, partners, Hitachi executives, and other attendees.


3. Participate in our social media contests: To help encourage conversation and have a little fun, we're introducing three social media contests during NEXT. Read the details here, but here are the categories:

  • Favorite Quote From Tuesday's General Sessionmini-drone.jpg
  • Favorite Quote From a Hitachi Customer
  • Favorite Quote From Wednesday's General Session

Specifics on each contest can be found here. Whether you're attending onsite or following the livestream, you can enter for a chance to win a Mini-Drone!


4. Capture the fun moments! Silly, fun or cool moments are often some of the most memorable aspects of any event. And there will be plenty of opportunities to capture the vibe of NEXT 2017, including unique evening events, surprises in the Solutions Showcase, and an evening with a Grammy Award-winning artist. Our event mobile app also has a Click! Game which includes photo challenges that could be shared on social media. Be sure to check it out!


5. Maintain your connections after the event: If you have a great conversation with a fellow attendee during the week, keep the communication going after the event via social media. Just connect with them on LinkedIn, Twitter or our Community. It's much more effective than sticking all of those business cards in a drawer ;-)


I hope you found these tips useful. Remember that paying it forward has great benefit to your fellow colleagues who may not be able to attend in person or online. Let's do our best to include them this week.


I look forward to seeing you in person or virtually at #HitachiNEXT!

Share your excitement about #HitachiNEXT and be entered to win prizes!


Are you excited about NEXT 2017 and want a chance to win a cool Mini-Drone? Share your event experience on Twitter and you could win!




NEXT 2017 kicks off on Tuesday morning with a General Session featuring big announcements, amazing speakers, and a few surprises along the way.


Whether you're watching in person or via the live stream, just tweet a great quote with the hashtags #HitachiNEXT and #GeneralSession and you'll be entered to win. After the session we'll pick one participant at random to win a Hitachi-branded Mini-Drone (pictured right). And if you hear a lot of great quotes from our many speakers? Share them all since posting multiple tweets will only increase your odds. Best of luck!





NEXT 2017 will feature over 20 customer stories told in Breakout Sessions and the General Sessions. Share these valuable insights by tweeting your favorite quote(s) with the hashtags #HitachiNEXT and #Customers for another chance to win. Once again we'll pick one winner at random and each participant may submit multiple tweets.




Similar to Tuesday's General Session, Wednesday will bring more great presenters, futurists, customers, and Hitachi executives together to discuss technologies of today and into the future. Live or virtual attendees can tweet their favorite quote(s) with the same hashtags from Tuesday (#HitachiNEXT and #GeneralSession). We'll pick our third random winner of the event to take home our last Mini-Drone!


Best of luck to everyone, and thank you for sharing your NEXT 2017 experiences with larger community!


*Official Rules Attached

Not attending Hitachi NEXT 2017 in Las Vegas next week? Not to worry. We’ve setup livestreaming of our Tuesday and Wednesday general sessions so that you can participate and hear all the exciting news in real time. Find out how and when you can livestream below.


How To Livestream


It’s easy. Simply follow the link on the home page of on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 8:30 a.m. PST, and again on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. PST. That’s it. Of course, livestreaming is not the same as attending the live event, but we don’t want you to miss the opportunity to get informed, inspired, and energized by our stellar speakers.


When to Livestream


Speakers on Tuesday, September 19th starting at 8:30 a.m. PST include:

  • Transformation Today – Toshiaki Higashihara, Hitachi, Ltd.
  • Unleashing the True Value of Data – Brian Householder, Hitachi Data Systems
  • Transformation in Action – Bud Denker, Penske and Hicham Abdessamad, Hitachi Consulting
  • Competing To Win in the Age of Disruption – Geoffrey Moore, Author




Speakers on Wednesday, September 20th starting at 10:00 AM PST include:

  • The World Is the Domain of IT – Hitachi Technologists
  • The Power of Analytics and IoT To Drive Real-World Outcomes – Sean Starling, Meat & Livestock Australia
  • What Does the Future Hold? “The Next 20 Years” – Dr. Michio Kaku, Futurist
  • Future Technologies: AI and Robotics – Senior Hitachi R&D Executives and Dr. Michio Kaku




Hitachi NEXT 2017 is going to be exciting. You won't want to miss it!

Project managers use reference architectures to outline technical discussions and define best practices. It’s a template we fit our ideas and debates into. Reference architectures run from high level to detailed  abstractions. It starts with a management point of view of the concepts. [All hail Jerry Woolf, inventor of the dry erase whiteboard marker.]  Next, IT architects craft a more technical view.  This becomes “the plan”.  Next comes, the gut wrenching discussion “You want how much money?” Later, detailed workflows of data movement are defined.  These are pages full of complex details that only a programmer could love. Finally,  programmers turn  workflows and components into code. 


Recently, Hitachi Data Systems and Teradata formed a partnership focused on the Internet of Things. A management level reference architecture for the alliance is found here: Three Links in a Chain. It describes edge computing, the IoT Platform, and the analytic ecosystem. Let’s drill down one level into the Hitachi-Teradata reference architecture.


Figure 1:  Reference Architecture for Hitachi Lumada and Teradata Analytics

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Intro to Hitachi Lumada Architecture Components

Lumada is Hitachi’s IoT platform.  It supports business solutions such as smart industry or smart energy applications. It begins with an edge SDK that is callable by Python or Java programs. MQTT and other protocols provide continuous streams of real-time sensor data.  Hitachi’s data integration provides vital data preparation but you can add to this easily.  Data preparation is done in batch and real time processing.  It also blends in external data.


Identity services provide the three A’s of security: Authentication, Authorization, and Audit. Studio enables creation of high-quality custom applications from pre-built components. Asset and user management are subsystems to administrate edge devices and people. Orchestration includes all the policies and controls placed on things, people, and processes.  Not shown is a module library of reusable components. This includes dashboards, workflows, reports, metadata models, and analytics.


I am enamored with the sensor data storage, cluster services, and asset registry. Sensor data is stored in  Apache Cassandra. Cassandra provides a scalable, high-performance cluster database for time series data. Underneath Lumada are scale-out  cluster services. Lumada architects wisely built upon a scalable foundation for fast response time. Thus, Lumada can cope with small or huge amounts of sensor data. Why the excitement? Because for many IoT platforms, scalability is a problem all by itself.  Unforseen scalability complexity has defeated many implementations. Fortunately, Lumada rests on a scalable clustered foundation whether it’s on premises or in a cloud.


The part I am most excited by are the ‘Avatars’ inside the asset registry. An avatar is a digital model of a physical machine or device. It contains the device specifications, properties, and metadata. It provides KPIs, current and historical state, and events for 'things'.  Lumada also lets you design avatars, make inquiries, and invoke visualizations. Tools such as Qlik, Tableau, and MicroStrategy can provide reports, dashboards, and visualizations. Avatars can include rules and algorithms. When the avatar model is robust, simulations can predict device behavior. Poke an avatar with too much digital heat and watch how it behaves without catching fire. Industrial designers do this to rethink end-to-end design, manufacturing processes, and device usage. Machine owners can better predict maintenance cycles, yield quality, and costs reliably. Sweet!


Intro to Teradata Architecture Components

Teradata broke away from traditional data warehouses back in 2010. The result is the Teradata Unified Data Architecture (UDA). The UDA combines data lakes, data warehouses, data integration, analytics, and discovery zones into an analytic ecosystem. Where did this lead us?


The data warehouse is still an indispensable point of data gravity.  It contains the corporate data model in thousands of tables. Feeding into the data warehouse is ERP, CRM, supply chain, risk, and other data. Pentaho and other components participate in the scalable ingest framework. Teradata Listener is a self-service ingest tool for real-time data streams. Listener works well with sensor data arriving in MQTT format. Kylo is open source for clients that generate thousands of flat files daily all over the world. Manufacturers and transportation companies tend to need Kylo. Thus, the Teradata ingest framework connects to Lumada’s ingest brokers. 


Originally, all data was well behaved rows and columns stored in relational tables. For example, all the financial data a CFO needs is tabular like Excel spreadsheets. How can a CFO exist without spreadsheets? But then came data structures that didn’t fit into rows and columns. The first was XML, then JSON, then Avro.  Next came IoT sensor data which is a continuous time-series.  Sensor data often looks like a saw tooth pattern. Thus, Teradata added data types and functions to accommodate unstructured data. This enables parallel processing of any type of data. It’s not that hard, really. I mean creating new data types. Parallel processing is incredibly difficult to do right.


Back in 2007, Teradata entered a partnership with SAS®. We started embedding SAS algorithms "in-database."  This means SAS procs now run in the parallel database engine. In 2006, data scientists had to extract 50GB of data to a server and run SAS procs for hours.  In 2007, the SAS proc could run in parallel. Elapsed times of days became hours, hours became minutes. In-database parallel performance also applies to Fuzzy Logix, R, MicroStrategy, and Python scripts. Analytic tools went from automobile speed to rocket speed.


Geospatial data is also not a simple data structure. You can’t just add up longitude and latitude.  (Hint: geospatial data comes from complex sensors.) Thus, Teradata implemented 2.5D geospatial storage and processing. This is vital for ‘things’ that move around. Do you know where your $150,000 tool is today? When and where was the airplane when it malfunctioned? Geospatial ANSI SQL makes it really easy for users to do location-aware analysis. Similarly, time-series data is easier to analyze with ANSI SQL temporal functions. Temporal functions can provide 80X data compression and faster analytics for sensor data.  Add to this special time-series tables that deal with data gaps and sliding windows of time. This is perfect for analyzing sensor data at scale.


Teradata App Center is a framework for encapsulating processes. Anything the developer or business user codes can be encapsulated into a module. That module then appears in App Center somewhat like your mobile phone apps. Imagine a sensor data scrubber and conditioner built from Python. Turn it into a reusable app.  Apps can run scripts, software modules, submit SQL, or fire up a visualization. Both the programmer and business users use the apps. Bonus: shadow IT code is captured in one place.


Data Labs are storage pools and tools for ad hoc experimentation. Teradata ended up with multiple solutions in this category. The first was Teradata Data Lab where business users upload and process data in the data warehouse. That’s pure ad hoc experiments joined to production data.  Then came Aster Database which is an amazing data scientist parallel workbench. Aster contains hundreds of built-in algorithms including machine learning. The UDA also includes Hadoop data lakes. Our Think Big experts often build data discovery zones there.


Teradata QueryGrid is the glue that pulls together the entire UDA. It is a federated SQL query service connecting two parallel systems together. That’s a huge differentiator for Teradata. QueryGrid can run a parallel query in Teradata Database doing a parallel join to Hadoop data. Or we can run a parallel query using Presto to access data in Cassandra in parallel. This provides superior performance plus data placement options.


Rivers of Data

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Figure 2:  IoT Data Work Flows


Let’s follow the sensor data through the Lumada-UDA infrastructure.

  1. Sensors at the edge emit time-series data in a wide variety of formats and frequencies.
  2. Lumada core uses message brokers to capture sensor data into Cassandra. Lumada administrates the IoT devices and people worldwide. Lumada also supplies the data to business  applications.
  3. Pentaho Data Integration and Teradata Listener distribute the sensor data to subscribers. 
  4. Teradata QueryGrid peers access the Asset Registry and Sensor Data Storage in parallel. 
  5. Sensor data is prepared and stored in the data warehouse or data lake as needed. Data transformations are done here and throughout the ingest architecture.
  6. Corporate data is continuously added to the UDA. This is ERP, CRM, supply chain, financial, and external data.
  7. Sensor data can be joined together with corporate data at parallel speed.
  8. Teradata App Center and Business Analytics Applications access the UDA data.  This provides deep analytics, machine learning, and visualizations.


Final Observations on Hitachi Lumada/Teradata UDA

Dr. Michael Porter is a Harvard professor and author of 18 books on competitive strategy. He sums up the purpose of the Hitachi Lumada/Teradata Unified Architecture better than I can.  In “How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Companies” he explains to everyone the value of sensor data.  He explains

     “This new product data is valuable by itself, yet its value increases exponentially when it is integrated

     with other data, such as service histories, inventory locations, commodity prices, and traffic patterns...”.


    • This new product data is valuable by itself.  Lumada is needed to collect and extract value from sensor data.
    • yet its value increases exponentially when it is integrated with other data. Joining sensor data to corporate data is the other half of the ROI.


So a control tower for sensors, devices, people, and avatars is vital. Don’t try this at home.  Get a solid IoT platform like Hitachi Lumada. Then add the corporate data and deep machine learning.   



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Dan Graham

With over 30 years in IT, Dan Graham has been a DBA, Product Manager for the IBM RS/6000 SP2, Strategy Director in IBM’s Global BI Solutions division, and General Manager of Teradata’s high end 6700 servers.  He is currently Technical Marketing Director for the Internet of Things at Teradata. Dan lives in Silly Con Valley, except when he doesn't. 


Twitter:  @DanGraham_ 

VMware and HDS enable our customers to realize new possibilities on their unique digital transformation journeys. Our joint solutions power the culture of possibility in their organizations by letting them build exactly what they need, the way they need it, for today and tomorrow. As a result, they can move faster, embrace new business models, and compete more effectively.  Whether our customers are looking to enhance their businesses through greater innovation and agility, create exceptional customer experiences or protect their brand; VMware and HDS deliver solutions that modernize the datacenter, deliver hybrid clouds (integrate private and public clouds), empower the digital workspace and transform security.  In this session, we will explore how some of our key customers have transformed their businesses leveraging VMware’s cross cloud architecture, vSAN, vRealize and VMware Cloud Foundation.  Come see us at Hitachi Next on Tuesday, September 19 at 2:00 pm.



Many manufactures have run proofs of concept and pilots of IoT solutions in their factories. But few have actually built and operate factories that run > 1 PB of data a day through machine learning algorithms, running on powerful edge servers to control the manufacturing process and automation in real time. Come see how Intel leverages big data to control Hitachi plasma etchers in real time with machine learning, and how Hitachi visualizes this big data on Lumada, Hitachi’s IoT platform. We’ll show how it performs additional analytics to further automate the process. We’ll demonstrate how Intel virtualizes the edge in our factories to run multiple workloads. We’ll interface with Lumada to solve real business needs. We’ll even have some fun. Come learn from people who are actually doing it.  Please join us on Tuesday September 19 from 3:00 - 3:45PM.


Digital transformation has become the latest buzz phrase to explain some of the turmoil that is happening across the IT market.  Innovative disruptors who were born in the cloud are proving to be more agile and less inhibited by legacy costs than the more established players.  Corporations no longer see the value of owning and running their own data center, or even owning the infrastructure as a depreciating asset.  Most companies are doing their best to reduce spend on legacy environments, and invest in capabilities that deliver more business value – either through new business streams, or by enhancing their customers experiences.


I speak to customers all the time about digital transformation of their businesses, but in a lot of cases the key inhibitors are the existing legacy workloads.  How do customers start to realize the true benefits from a software defined world with scalable building blocks that reduce operating costs while still delivering scalable performance, secure environments, data protection, enhanced automation, faster time to value and a cloud enabled environment?


One such solution available today is the DXC Modern Platform – Engineered by Hitachi. The DXC Modern Platform is a truly scalable architecture that allows you to start small, but think big, and scale as you grow.


The Hitachi software defined, hyper-converged, all flash solutions address “DXC” requirements for digital transformation of IT infrastructure by delivering:


  • Pre-tested, pre-validated platforms that seamlessly integrate with VMware environments.
  • Automated provisioning, streamlined management and capacity scalability.  Hitachi Advisor software enables DXC to leverage one single pane of glass to manage not only Hitachi platforms, but other manufacturers too.
  • Agile systems that accommodate varying Input/output operations per second (IOPS) in a single cluster to address varying business-critical application performance needs.
  • Optimisation of software licensing by scaling from a single CPU socket to enable maximum flexibility of configurations.


On top of this highly flexible and scalable Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform, DXC then provides a fully managed environment for Platform as a Service (PaaS) – including IT Service Management, Service Catalogue and Self-Provisioning service portal.


But that’s not the end of the story.  Once the customer can see their way to reducing the costs of running their existing services – through automation, flexible scaling, moving to the cloud paying for what they use – Hitachi can also address the future requirements for delivering a better experience for their customers, end to end data governance and potentially discovering better ways to generate future revenues as part of a complete digital transformation.


Hitachi has the technology to enable customers to more efficiently manage their data throughout its life-cycle – whether it be structured or unstructured.  The Hitachi Content Platform provides a solution to private cloud storage, with the ability to attach custom metadata to any object, and to use the metadata to manage the retention period for any asset.  The Hitachi Content Intelligence toolset allows customers to create a customised index of metadata for all of its data stores, which when wrapped together with discovery services, forms the basis for a full data governance solution that can address existing regulatory concerns and also the emerging requirements of upcoming legislation such as GDPR.


Hitachi also has a comprehensive analytics and advanced analytics solution set based on Pentaho’s open source portfolio.  This enables customers to effectively mine both structured and unstructured data sources by creating a data lake and leveraging big data toolsets that create a better understanding of their customers, and the potential to discover new revenue streams by closer examination of larger data sets.


So, what next after cloud enablement and advanced analytics?  Hitachi is a company that takes social responsibility very seriously. Our company values are Harmony, Sincerity and Pioneering Spirit.  We have developed a suite of video analytics products that enable integration of multiple different video feeds via a single pane of glass.  The Hitachi Visualisation Suite can incorporate various video management platforms (including our own) into a single management console and surface the data via a geospatial map.  The console can also integrate with other data sources such as gunshot detection, drone detection, facial recognition software, live face matching, number plate recognition, crime databases, etc.  To enable better policing of cities, arenas, campuses and hence improved public safety.  The video analytics capabilities of the platform enable traffic monitoring, people counting, intrusion detection and could be used to create alerts for potential terrorist activity, or assist in the optimization of Retail or Facilities Management requirements.


Hitachi is also leveraging the strength of the group by developing a framework for future Internet of Things (IoT) solutions that will enable smarter cities, improved manufacturing, predictive maintenance, and hence better use of assets across a range of industries.  This platform of software has recently been launched under the Lumada brand (“ilLUMinAting Data”).  The Lumada suite of solutions will cover everything from edge to core, plus run the appropriate analytics and machine learning algorithms, and provide the ability to create an asset avatar (digital copy) of a particular machine to enable predictive modelling, and manage more efficiency and higher availability from the actual asset.  An example of this approach has been used with Hitachi Rail to enable predictive maintenance of the trains, and hence higher availability of the service. Hitachi is already working with DXC to identify potential opportunities within the manufacturing sector for creating early proof of concepts with customers based on this technology.


There are very few companies in the world today that have the breadth of industry experience of Hitachi, or the level of R&D investment.  Today Hitachi is very well placed to bring together its operational technology together with its information technology to deliver end to end solutions for the emerging IoT market. 


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Building IT vendor partnerships that produce ongoing value is a daunting challenge.  IT vendor alliance best practices require the partners have:

  • A common goal -- hint: it’s not selling something
  • Mutual trust, understanding, and respect
  • Regular two-way communication


These practices are already operating between Teradata and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).  Locking arms together, we form a strong set of solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT).   The goal is helping customers spin up their IoT Platform and analytics at scale. At scale means solving the biggest sensor data problems in the world.


Often such alliances have a common problem.  That is, the two vendors have overlapping product lines or services. When this occurs, tremendous energy is spent explaining when to use which product in what context. The sales teams get confused, which leads to confusion for the customer.  Nothing gets done while everyone sorts out the overlaps. The HDS-Teradata partnership is completely free of this handicap. Here’s why.


Hitachi offers its’ Lumada platform to rapidly build robust end-to-end IoT applications. These technologies can be deployed and integrated anywhere. Lumada inherits industry best practices that Hitachi learned from delivering operational efficiencies at scale to its customers for decades.  Hitachi merges over 100 years of Operational Technology (OT) experience with over 50 years of IT expertise.  Lumada is an industrial strength, modular IoT Platform. It manages the ‘things’ and sensors in the Internet of Things. It is the center stage, the main event in managing sensors and the things they’re attached to.


Hitachi Lumada includes several building blocks, including:

• Edge device integration

• Cybersecurity

• Real-time data ingestion

• Orchestration

• Sensor stream processing


Given the high-end corporations that Hitachi serves, there is also plenty of customization available. Hitachi also went the extra mile building IoT applications on top of Lumada.  This makes Lumada much more than an IoT infrastructure.  But they understood the cost and complexity of building an industrial strength analytic ecosystem. Yes, Lumada has analytics. But with huge volumes of data coming from the edge, and the need to grab data from other sources to add the business context, Hitachi selected Teradata as an alliance partner.


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Internet of Things - Management Level Architecture

HDS provides the IoT platform

Teradata provides analytic systems


In contrast, Teradata’s focus has always been massively parallel data analysis. Data at scale is our core competency.  We have solid credentials in big data (one Teradata client has a 50 petabyte system with hundreds of users.)  Many Teradata clients in manufacturing, transportation, and utilities sift through sensor data today.  We know sensor data, data science, and data management.  Teradata builds data warehouses, data laboratories, and open source Hadoop data lakes.  Of course, that can be in the cloud or on-premises. Teradata’s new low cost cloud based pricing has stunned customers (and a few sales people too). And Teradata is the benchmark for query performance, governance, security, and in-database analytics. Here’s some IoT customer examples: Business Value from the Analytics-of-Things, Volvo, or Flex.


But Teradata does not build IoT platforms. We aim to help with the Analytics of Things. We provide sensor data analysis that’s impossible to get any other way. Our industry vertical consultants focus on analytics. We don’t have Operational Technology (OT) experts. HDS does that. So Teradata working with HDS makes perfect sense for an Internet of Things alliance partner.  No overlaps, no confusion, each of us filling a separate need in the customer's big picture IoT goals.


What differentiates HDS from the great unwashed masses of IoT platform peddlers?  Hitachi built many of the machines where the sensor data comes from. Hitachi has 100 years of manufacturing experience, including elevators, bullet trains, medical equipment, electronics, and energy plant equipment to name a few. HDS has direct access to the business units that build these heavy assets. They are already integrating Lumada with the machines Hitachi manufactures. But that’s not the best part.


HDS has a fast path to the customer’s engineers who run the machines. It’s a huge advantage to have relationships with the customer’s OT experts. They know the use cases. They are there when the machine makes a funny noise. They keep the machines running at high efficiency. This is the BIG differentiator.  HDS can tap into Hitachi’s design engineers and their customer's OT experts.  The third link in the chain is complete.


The HDS-Teradata alliance brings together two world leaders. There is no overlapping product or strategy.  We aim for our customer to be the third pillar in this partnership. Our enterprise class clients want trusted advisors.  Advisors who don’t jeopardize a client’s trust to close a deal.  Advisors who bring a broad spectrum of practical experience.  Regarding the HDS people I’ve met, we are alike in these goals. It’s a perfect fit with the customer in the middle directing traffic.


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Dan Graham

With over 30 years in IT, Dan Graham has been a DBA, Product Manager for the IBM RS/6000 SP2, Strategy Director in IBM’s Global BI Solutions division, and General Manager of Teradata’s high end 6700 servers.  He is currently Technical Marketing Director for the Internet of Things at Teradata.  Dan is living Silly Con Valley, except when he’s not.




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My first response to a critique, even if it’s just in my head: “Are there any other tasteless demands you wish to make upon my artistry?”


Blogging, as an example, is rarely an exercise in typing. It’s mostly an exercise of assimilating a career’s worth of opinion and one-sided arguments into a witty and self-promoting diary of genius. “Sometimes” it’s simply an organized point-of-view, or a position of a shared experience. What is it ALWAYS? Creative writing, art. At least in the mind of the blogger.


The problem is that evaluating the end product of an artistic or creating endeavor ALWAYS is a criticism of the artist or creator themselves. You are making an assessment of their talent, and interpreting parts of a whole. To the creator, the missing word, the wrong shading, the saltiness of the bread, or the lower than expected octave is FUNDAMENTAL to the cohesiveness of the entire work!


However, providing constructive feedback in real time, DURING the creative process is not only received well but is sought explicitly. Directors provide background and emotional settings for an actor WHILE its being filmed. Executive chefs taste base ingredients and combinations WHILE the meal is being prepared. And my marketing partner argues over the tone and substance of my erratic and verbose style WHILE I’m writing, well before its published.




WHILE or DURING is also the perfect timing for most career and corporate evaluations of effectiveness. Your strategic and operational job likely should be assessed WHILE you are performing your duties to the best of your ability. Looking back after you retire, or even just after a single year is “on the books“, wondering what could have been more effective is actually less effective than coming to those conclusions and making adjustments in real time.


Take me for example, over my career as an executive developing internal enterprise-use applications and operating internal IT, every thing I have learned can be summarized in this witticism: craft is what we know, art is the unexpected use of that craft; all projects require both. I had to make several adjustments over time to incorporate this learning over a couple decades. Imagine if I only attempted to change at the end?


Additionally, I encouraged learning, understanding and applying knowledge gained from the outside world. Everybody is an expert in their own company, and that internal-only knowledge-base breeds very little creativity and positive change. We need to hear stories, understand trends, create relationships and assess the potential of applying that knowledge to our own company. We need to spend time outside of our company, outside of our industry and even outside of our city to fully appreciate how others have innovated and how that new knowledge can be translated into innovation for ourselves. ESPECIALLY important for our newly assigned jobs as the digital transformation pace setters for the business.


Digital transformation, the business changes needed to react quicker to digital disrupters, requires a new way of thinking, moving the purpose and goal of IT from “providers of applications” to “CREATORS of INSIGHT.” You need outside influence and education to help with outside game changers to your business.


And what better way to interact and learn, and more importantly APPLY new found knowledge, than a highly organized symposium of like minds with a trusted partner? I’m personally inviting you to Hitachi NEXT 2017, the premier event for the digital revolution.


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I know, I know. Yet ANOTHER vendor conference. Let me guess what’s rolling around in your mind: product pitches and technical deep dives, hordes of people, generic topics, vendor-centric, and suburban settings in the middle of a petrified forest.




That question on your mind is: Is it worth my time and energy? My team’s time and energy?


Having been to (and continue to attend) literally 100s of conferences in my technology executive practitioner career, I want to make sure my time is well spent with three criteria, which we’ve directly and purposely worked out for you:


  1. I want to meet Interesting people (live, in-person Disruptive Perspectives with opportunities to dig deeper). You can:
    • listen to advice from Geoffrey Moore, noted business author, and Dr. Michio Kaku co-founder of string theory. It would not shock me if you have a few of their books
    • meet with Hitachi executives across the entire Hitachi family, including our Chief Scientist Kazuo Yano


  1. I want to have Interesting conversations (engage in a Customized Learning experience). Pick and choose from:
    • talking with accomplished thinkers, business strategists and technology experts that align with your specific interests to tackle real-life challenges. Real customers presenting with real stories
    • attending a CIO Forum that The Wall Street Journal is holding to examine how business gets smarter when IT meets IoT
    • picking from sessions in Digital Transformation, Enterprise IT, Internet of Things and Machines, Banking and Financial services, and Real-World Results including Industrial and Telecommunications


  1. I want to see Interesting technologies and problems being solved (see and touch an Experiential Area). Plenty of time to:
    • engage in group discussions with customers, partners, solution experts. And experience the real-life benefits of technologies and expertise across many different industries.
    • see, touch and experience solutions in Smart Operations and Security, Smart Energy, IoT Platforms, Smart Manufacturing, mining and Transportation, Smart Data Centre, and Data Intelligence


And the best part? This is the Freshman class! Our inaugural event in an intimate setting with an unusual amount of networking experiences (limited executive invites increase personal relationships), and exposure to insights not just with technology but with various vertical industries. It’s quite likely the only event you will attend this year that will create new deep relationships and actual actionable next steps to be applied to your own organization. EXACTLY the goal of external learning




So, to answer that burning question: Yes, It’s worth your time.


Register here: Hitachi NEXT 2017


I’ll see you there. Oh, and bring all your PowerPoint decks. I have some comments to make.


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Douglas Howatt

Breaking Out All Over

Posted by Douglas Howatt Employee Jul 24, 2017

Whew! Have we got an event for you. I’m copywriter and editor for our NEXT 2017 event coming up in Las Vegas, September 18-20, 2017. I’m seeing now all the content that you’ll see then. You’re gonna love it. Top visionaries in IT and business to talk with you in our general sessions. A huge array of current and future demos in our solutions showcase. Special bonus sessions you’ll want to see. You’ve got it all. Oh, and you’ll have breakout sessions. No big deal? Try almost fifty of them. Yeah, fun and informative for you, but guess who has to edit all that information? Sure, who cares as long as you get fresh insights.


We should have named this thing, Insights-A-Poppin. Or Insightspalooza. You’ll get your fill. We’re organizing these breakouts into five different tracks to show you different paths to digital transformation and finding value in the internet of things: Enterprise IT, Digital Transformation, Financial Services, Internet of Things, and Real-World Results.


I’ll take you into one of them today, and others in future postings. Let’s start with our track on the internet of things. The breakout team is filling this track up with fascinating sessions on how data and analytics help you build your business. The sessions cover new business models, intelligent technologies and something we call “the transformative power of IoT.” Not bad, eh?


One session in particular has my attention: Unlock a Greater Business Value With Fog Computing. What the heck is “fog computing”? Well, you probably know already. Fog computing is kind of like cloud computing, but different. Instead of cloud-centric systems, fog computing places applications and functions along a spectrum from the cloud to the things in IoT. It’s a new approach to industrial IoT systems that helps them to work better. You might even say it’s the NEXT thing!


But that’s only one of the breakouts. Lots more breakouts to see here. And lots more about the whole event on Hey, look at that – you can even register on that site.