Bob Madaio

Flash Leadership: Redefined

Blog Post created by Bob Madaio Employee on May 5, 2014

It comes as no surprise that the rapid customer adoption of flash storage has created a new “gold rush” of vendors into the market place and a new level of noise about what architecture, vendor and strategy is best.


In the storage market's noisiest week (thanks to the volume-turned-past-ten EMC World), I suspect that it will only get worse.  In fact, EMC has been one of the prime protagonists of the claim game and have leveraged impressive flash shipment quantities to proclaim flash market leadership.


Chris Mellor of TheRegister takes them to task after we traded some comments, and beats me to the presses here.


Clearly, EMC's results were impressive. 17PB of flash shipments are nothing to ignore. However, as Chris pointed out in his article, EMC would have been well advised to check in with HDS before jumping to any conclusions. EMC is not, as it turns out, “way ahead.” I realize that Hitachi tends to invest more in product development and support than taking over airports with banners and throwing events with 400 foot screens, so perhaps HDS was not top of mind when deciding to make claims tantamount to “Mission Accomplished.”


But, without resorting to the pure silliness of donning a Gorilla suit, shooting anyone in the head with a Nerf gun or otherwise jumping into the ‘FUD’ battle head-first (all of which is actually going on to gain attention in the noisy flash “Vendor Olympics” of today) I would like to talk about Hitachi Data Systems flash adoption and what we are seeing and hearing from our customers.

Because, it turns out that while some customers might fall into the trap that EMC fell into – forgetting to check in with HDS before going down a path with their installed vendor or deploying a narrowly focused flash silo – those that do check in are testing – and buying – HDS flash storage.

Here are some results:


Hitachi Data Systems shipped more than 19.5 Petabytes of flash last quarter. 

That does not include capacity in Japan, where Hitachi Ltd. sells directly.


Out of that 19.5 Petabytes of flash, more than 17PB was our Hitachi Accelerated Flash storage capacity.

The remaining ~2PB being solid state disk (SSD) flash within our systems.  We did not count capacity from any resell activity of partner server flash.


For those needing a reminder, Hitachi Accelerated Flash (HAF) storage is our Hitachi patented flash-capacity design which is deployed within our storage systems for the highest levels of enterprise performance, availability and density.

Some other data points for those that follow such things with interest :

  • HDS shipped more than a petabyte of flash in each of our core storage product “families” (HUS 100, HUS VM, VSP)
  • HUS VM and VSP dominated the shipped capacity of Hitachi Accelerated Flash (HAF) storage, with HUS VM being the faster growing
  • HUS 100 family, however, saw the most rapid growth in HAF, not surprising, since we only recently added HAF to the HUS 150 product
  • Our flash deployments include all major operating environments, including Mainframe
  • The vast majority of our flash deployments were hybrid Flash+HDD systems
  • HDS shipped all-flash systems across every product family and across a wide set of capacity points
  • We are seeing fast growth of customers leveraging our specific software flash optimization updates for maximum all-flash performance


Instead of continuing to focus on our competition, I’ll follow this blog post up with a series that describes why we think customers are responding to Hitachi flash offerings with broad and rapid adoption. I’ll cover areas such as our overall strategy for integrating flash into customer environments, the innovation we have brought to the flash market, our performance capabilities and where we see things going in the future.  If you have other must-hit flash topics, please leave a comment.


Until then, we suggest other vendors might use this market information to REDEFINE some of their leadership claims.  Because it turns out that the flashiest vendors in marketing aren't necessarily the vendors that have deployed the most flash.