The terminology varies but nearly every company I speak with is undergoing a digital transformation. These are never simple discussions and real change is hard. When it comes to digital transformation, culture matters more than the technology and real change involves internal disruption of both people and process. It’s tough and as many others have said, if it’s not uncomfortable, you probably aren’t doing it right.
The flip side is that digital transformation doesn’t just happen overnight by corporate mandate. You can’t force the collaboration between application development and IT operations but you can build the culture and tools that enable a DevOps culture to drive IT automation.
For the modern enterprise, this journey requires incremental steps and there is no “easy button”. A “cloud first” mandate is toothless if the culture and technology are not aligned. From the technology side of this equation, this is about technology enablement as much as it is about adoption and this means building a foundation for this transformation.
The digital transformation journey is rooted in platforms that enable IT to be agile with a level of automation that ultimately drives real business value. For many enterprises, this means accelerating their journey with cloud enabled tools for the right cost at the right time to exceed the expectations of users across the organization.
Modernizing how IT delivers value for the business is often rooted in the management of the data itself. Even with this transition, there are core technology objectives that need to be met to manage these valuable data assets.
As I’ve written about before, enterprises have been very clear about their strategic IT priorities. They want:
- Demonstrated long term cost-effectiveness to support business strategies
- A roadmap to leverage existing IT investments with the flexibility to transition resources as business priorities change
- Control of data for security and compliance
- Ability to leverage public, private and hybrid clouds
The Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) is an object based storage solution and is one of the foundational elements for data management. It’s been demonstrated to drive digital transformation and a building block in driving IT automation. With over 1,500 global customers, HCP is one of the fastest growing solutions in our portfolio. As I mentioned a few months ago, the use cases for HCP are as diverse as the businesses we serve whether it is the foundation for cloud services, workforce mobility, security, compliance or simply as a robust content repository.
At its foundation, cloud storage should do nine things really, really well to enable digital transformation:
- It must make data resources easy to access and automate routine functions
- It must enable new and existing applications throughout this transformation
- It must be easily acquired and ridiculously easy to provision
- It must be cost effective and efficient
- It must protect your existing IT investments as it scales
- It must be widely accessible through the widest sets of protocols and APIs
- It must demonstrate robust security and compliance
- It must be flexible to scale independently for either performance or capacity (or both)
- It must be easily interoperable with a variety of public cloud services
A recent study from IDC validates how the Hitachi Content Platform addresses these digital transformation requirements for 3rd Platform workloads and applications. From the report:
“There are a few storage suppliers that have a robust solution to integrate the requirements of the new and existing applications. Hitachi Data Systems' (HDS') object-based storage solution, Hitachi Content Platform (HCP), combined with Hitachi Data Ingestor (HDI) and Hitachi Anywhere, brings to market a robust solution that meets the demands of the 3rd Platform while maintaining the requirements of existing applications.”
Powering Digital Transformation
The real strength of HCP is the ability to handle all kinds of data and almost any application and is a real asset to empower DevOps by automating routine IT tasks. It’s highly reliable, scales massively, provides seamless data mobility and storage across private clouds and public cloud services, encryption, access control, easy provisioning, chargeback measurement and more.
Massive Scalability and Broad Public Cloud Support
At its core, HCP is a singular, massively scalable solution (up to 497 PB per cluster) for storing data from multiple applications and data sources. Unlike some other object storage solutions, it can also scale independently for either performance or capacity. Along with a tightly integrated Enterprise File Sync-n-Share solution (HCP Anywhere) and cloud gateway (HDI), the HCP portfolio is a foundational element to enable digital transformation. Policy based automation provides significant cost benefits and enables easy data movement to a choice of lower cost on premises storage, offsite to a public cloud provider or a combination of both. Hybrid cloud support includes Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, Microsoft Azure, Verizon Cloud, as well as our own Hitachi Cloud Service for Content Archiving and any public cloud that supports S3.
Security and Compliance
Digital transformation doesn’t mean core business requirements should be disrupted. HCP was engineered to address compliance and archiving requirements. The robust security feature set enables governance and compliance with built-in WORM, secure delete, legal hold, audits, versioning retention and more. Based on numerous security and resilience features, HCP meets governance requirements and satisfies such regulations as SEC 17a-4(f) and Dodd-Frank.
HCP provides extensive flexibility and superior interoperability through native API support for HTTP/REST, HCP RESTful, CIFS, NFS, SMTP, WebDAV, S3, OpenStack Swift and a REST based custom metadata query API. Data ingested via any one protocol gateway is fully accessible by every other protocol gateway.
HCP provides sophisticated metadata capabilities enabling data to be searched, stored, accessed and automatically moved in an intelligent manner. Custom metadata can be divided into multiple partitions so that multiple users and applications can work with the same object and not impact each other’s metadata.
No More Forklift Upgrades and Downtime
Enabling a digital transformation strategy is about automating IT so that it doesn’t create more work or downtime as you make adjustments to your environment. Autonomic Technology Refresh (ATR) in HCP is a feature that enables seamless upgrading of HCP physical servers and/or Storage at any time with no downtime. ATR is an integral part of HCP hardware maintenance strategy. It reduces the impact of storage churn and lets customers readily adapt new storage technology with no forklift upgrades, greater uptime, and less management overhead. The very real use case is when data outlives the hardware on which it’s stored and the customer wants 100% data availability during a data migration to new hardware. Generally, the service process is to introduce new hardware, kick off migration, and then turn off and remove old hardware. HCP server nodes or backend storage can be selected for a tech refresh. Writes to old storage stop when tech refresh begins. Objects on old storage then auto-migrate to new storage non-disruptively.
The ultimate validation doesn’t come from a white paper or a blog post, It comes from the people who use our technology. Four out of the five largest banks in the world and four out of the five leading insurance companies in the United States are leveraging the Hitachi Content Platform to power their digital transformation.
One last note from IDC
"HDS has done an impressive job of integrating HCP into its industry-leading portfolio through continued development efforts. The company astutely recognized new opportunities and has created a unique ecosystem of offerings that supports requirements of the 3rd Platform. By way of HCP's tightly integrated solution ecosystem that includes HCP Anywhere, Hitachi Data Ingestor, and Hitachi Cloud Services for Content Archiving, HDS has demonstrated the ability to deliver suitable on-ramping and/or purpose-built capabilities for its solutions that leverage a single management interface. HCP thus provides unique resource and management efficiencies for customers."