Digital transformation is a business strategy to accelerate cost efficiency and time to market by rethinking operations and process, increase loyalty and grow revenue by improving customer experience, and unlock new revenue streams and reach new markets with new business models.
Digital transformation is disruptive to IT. It will break traditional IT infrastructure, break traditional development paradigms, break traditional skill set boundaries, and break traditional architectures. Digital Transformation will be particularly disruptive to storage. IT and storage will need to be modernized
Nathan Moffit, who works in Infrastructure Solutions Marketing and publishes a blog on our community site says: “ The reality check here for IT leaders and vendors is that the days of a single product solving all problems is behind us (at least today). To be successful, an IT strategy needs to leverage multiple offerings.” This includes, all flash arrays, hyperconverged infrastructure, cloud solutions and high end storage that can deliver unique values depending on the problem that you need to solve. In addition, these solutions need to be able to bridge between traditional legacy applications and newer cloud based applications. Only then can IT organizations meet the challenges ahead and be ready for whatever new workload or business opportunities develop. Hitachi is aggressively developing new technologies in all these areas, including high end storage
A recent post by Chis Mellor reports that Hitachi is freezing investments in high end storage, based on a report in IT Pro Nikkei which quotes a senior Hitachi Executive as saying: Hitachi Is "freezing the investment in the high-end model of the storage business". Chris Mellor invited Chris Drago our director of Global Corporate Communications to respond and quoted him as saying: "Hitachi is absolutely committed to shifting investments from disk based hardware to flash storage, our Storage Virtualization Operating System (SVOS) and increasing automation and management options for our customers…..Any “freeze” of investments does NOT mean SVOS functionality investments stop (works from entry to mainframe), flash improvements stop (leadership FMD capabilities span G200 to G1000) or innovation is done. It means the investments in stand-alone high-end hardware are no longer a priority – especially since (and not included in that analysis) there are new hardware and system capabilities already developed that have yet to launch which will carry our platform forward for the next few years, and once again push the industry with our innovations.”
Hitachi Data Systems’ Enterprise Storage, from small VSP G200s to large VSP G1000s, all run the same storage systems software, the Storage Virtualization Operating System, SVOS. There is no need to build separate hardware for midrange and enterprise customers. They all have access to enterprise functionality and services like, virtualization of external storage systems for consolidation and migration, high availability with global active device, and geo replication with universal replicator. Since all the functionality runs in software, we can reduce hardware costs by using standard Intel processors and memory in the storage controllers. The only reasons we leverage specialized hardware is for specialized functions in the G1000 for mainframe support, and extreme scale up requirments that require predictable performance.
Our latest enhancement to SVOS and the VSP G series of storage occurred in April and was the addition of embedded file support in our block storage. We added FPGA modules in the G400 to G800 to offload the software overhead of file services and incorporated file management into SVOS. Included in this enhancement to the SVOS code is a feature, which provides secure data migration to our HCP object store or to Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure cloud services. With this Data Migration to Cloud (DMT2C) feature, customers can significantly reduce CAPEX by tiering “cold” files from their primary Tier 1 VSP Hitachi flash storage to lower cost HCP or public cloud services.
SVOS can also communicate with the processors which we built into our Flash Module Devices to provide better performance, availability, and security than other vendors’ flash storage systems who use standard SSDs. If the FMD senses data corruption, it can request that SVOS and the storage controller resend the data as opposed to simply failing to respond (as would happen with SSDs)… this means we both protect customers data and continue non-stop operations without affecting the application, where other flash storage systems may struggle. Of course, that communication would continue and if more errors begin to be seen, SVOS could start a proactive sparing of that FMD to ensure customers never see any issues.
SVOS enables Hitachi to provide services that are not available in any other high end storage system. It also lays the groundwork for future enhancements. With a little imagination we can see SVOS residing in a G1000 communicating with an SVOS running in an external compute storage node or a cloud storage node just like it communicates with an SVOS in a G400 for replication or Global Active Device. You could also imagine external application services like analytics, migrating into the VSP G series running in an LPAR managed by SVOS similar to the way file services have been added.
While investments in standalone high end storage hardware may not be a priority for Hitachi, investments will continue in enhancing our current platforms and innovate with new architectures, infrastructures, processes, and automation to reduce the need for specialized skill sets. Hitachi Storage Systems is the recognized leader in high end storage critical capabilities followed closely by the HP XP7 which is an OEM cousin. Hitachi plans to continue this leadership with investments in future enhancements, some of which we will see later this year. An investment in a VSP G series is an investment that will support your digital transformation.