Bob Madaio

Enterprise NAS: Don’t Call It A Comeback

Blog Post created by Bob Madaio Employee on Mar 30, 2015

When not keeping things light with lobster-noodle lunches, HDS Product Marketing often uses music to keep things interesting around the (quite virtual) office. Right now, there are Van Halen ring tones creating energy around upcoming storage solutions and a Sir Mix-A-Lot snippet making the rounds because he refers to the name of a very cool internal software project. 

Yes, the current HDS “let’s get pumped-up” sound-track is based around Van Halen and Sir Mix-a-Lot. If I didn’t know it to be true, I might not believe it either.


(Please note: For prospective employees, one thing I can promise - though will do nothing to demonstrate during the rest of this blog post - the ACTUAL playlists of our team is quite a bit more varied than this. But I digress…)

The blessing and curse of iTunes set to random bit me again this weekend and had me thinking of something I’ve sensed going on around HDS.  LL Cool J’s track Mama Said Knock You Out started playing and once I heard the opening line: “Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years” and the combative tenor of the song it reminded me of some serious resurgent energy around our enterprise NAS business.


Our Hitachi NAS “has been here for years” and has seen acceptance and growth in critical and high-performance environments. That said, we've always thought there was more opportunity for these products then we've fully capitalized on, and I feel the market is coming to us in a very big way.


Here are a few reasons why…


Excellent Integration With VMware VVol

HDS and VMware have worked closely on aligning HDS solutions with VMware’s terrific new VVol functionality, with HDS called out specifically within VMware’s press release.  Hitachi will offer both file and block protocol access for VVol, but Hitachi NAS is leading the charge.  Combining the unique, high-performance nature of hardware-accelerated NFS with deep VMware integration, this free API access is a huge differentiator for us as customers look to exploit NFS-based management with VMware environments.  Big performance meets, terrific integration, trusted infrastructure and data center class support. 

For more detail, here’s a great explanation of our solutions alignment with VVol as INCLUDING a technical demo:



Green Light For Cloud Tiering

Hitachi NAS has always had great file-tiering capabilities, but increasingly, customers want to have the option of moving data to a cloud solution, either inside or outside of their own data center; sometimes private, sometimes public, all depending on their IT model, data types and confidentiality concerns. What is just now becoming better understood is that Hitachi NAS already has the ability to move data directly to Hitachi or third party clouds. Today, customers can tier to the top-rated Hitachi Content Platform, Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure (OK, that's coming this month) or Hitachi Cloud Services.

If you like to go deep, and are interested in a demo and what this solution looks like and how it works, get comfy and hear directly from the experts here:



Capitalizing On Hitachi's High-end Mojo

HDS is seeing real momentum in the most mission critical of environments. With our VSP G1000 continuing the Hitachi tradition of offering the highest proven performance and 761-6D4-1B0.pngbest-rated high-end solution, customers are consolidating environments onto this easy to manage platform. One of the truly unique features customers are most excited about is global-active device capability of the Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System. With this native capability, customers can get active/active read/write access to data in multiple places at once, without the complication and headaches appliances create.


What does this have to do with the energy around Hitachi NAS?


With the simplicity of design for SVOS global-active devices, Hitachi NAS can create active/active clusters for all NFS oriented workloads just as for other workloads. This is a huge win for better workload migration, site failover, high availability and consolidated management. Customers like the Northern Region of Denmark see the value and are starting to build for the future with an active/active infrastructure - with an eye toward consolidation and integrated support of SAN and NAS topologies.


Not Allowing Weak Links In Flash Performance

Flash technology is making a massive impact in storage infrastructures everywhere. Hitachi Data Systems alone shipped approximately 100PB of flash storage in 2014 with demand remaining quite strong today. The majority of flash-based architectures today are built on block/SAN-storage. To bring NAS functionality to most of these systems, vendors typically offer generic NAS processing capabilities as an afterthought, leaving customers to figure out if they want to put commodity NAS servers in front of high-speed, enterprise Flash storage.


With Hitachi, that's not a trade off that customers need to make. With a unique, FPGA-based hardware acceleration design our Hitachi NAS systems provide the lowest response time and most predictable performance for any workload, making them terrific partners to high-speed flash devices. As a reminder of how fast this unique architecture is when partnering with Hitachi flash storage, check out our record breaking response times for the 3rd party SPECsfs2008_nfs.v3 benchmark here.  And, in case you haven't followed the market's growing interest in the (Hitachi-like) use of FPGA technology, check this out.  Or this.  Or this.



Making It Easier To Upgrade To Hitachi

This coming together of Hitachi solutions and performance comes at a time where our competition is stumbling.  In fact, over the last week, two financial analysts have cut financial expectations for on our key rivals in this space.  According to this article, the downgrades follow concerns over "competitive concerns" and a desire for customers to "consolidate their storage resources." (Remember that high-end strength I mentioned? That's where consolidation happens in a big, big way.) Of course, time will tell how how our competition will fair in the market, but stock challenges often drive reactionary decisions and talent departures - neither of which tend to help focus and execution.

It's important to remember, however, that Hitachi is very different. I've written about this before (here), but it's good to remember - HDS is part of a global technology provider, though we compete with some I.T. only companies.  This larger technology perspective affects the way we build our products and the way we build our customer relationships.

Here's the best part: If you've decided to move from your current vendor to Hitachi, we've made it a whole lot easier through advanced services and technologies.  Our Universal Migrator and Universal Migration Director products can get you off that lower-grade infrastructure both easily and non-disruptively.

Here's another detailed video giving the background and technical demonstration on these solutions:

With those being just some of the great activity around our unified storage, you can see why there's so much energy building. Perhaps that will even excuse my choices in soundtrack, though I imagine many of you will have differing musical different tastes. (Feel free to suggest something other than Mama Said Knock You Out as my current choice of NAS anthem.)

Admittedly, some of the lyrics on that particular track are a bit, ummm, over-the-top and not an HDS sanctioned talk track. However, anyone who's worked with HDS knows, our approach to winning in the marketplace is to help customers first and worry about competitive battles second.  So that probably didn't need explaining.

But this is only a blog-post, and in the blogosphere the competition can take this as fair warning, because as Mr. Cool J says... 

Don't you dare stare, you better move, Don't ever compare;

[HDS] to the rest that'll all get sliced and diced, Competition's payin' the price!