Thanks to a consistent research effort, effective synergies with other divisions of Hitachi in Japan as well as the United States, and a vision built on customer needs, Hitachi Data Systems is ahead of its competition in bringing important technologies that customers want to market. That is the message HDS CEO Jack Domme delivered in an interview with Wikibon.org co-founder David Vellante and SilicaonAngle.com creator John Furrier on SiliconAngle.tv during its Monday announcement of its latest step in fulfilling its vision.
“We hear other vendors a lot saying that storage and data virtualization isn't ready yet,” Domme says. “OF course they are saying that. Theirs isn't. Ours is!”
Actually, he said, HDS virtualized storage has been proven by several years of use in customer shops, including in banks where 98% of the infrastructure is now virtualized. That includes the most critical, high-stress environments that other vendors say cannot be virtualized and still provide the performance users need.
And the HDS virtualized data system allows customers to maintain 100% uptime. “One of the banks in India has said they have been up continuously for 10 years.”
One of his challenges, he says, is that some potential customers do not believe this. Given the savings and increased flexibility and the ability to support the new environment of cloud computing and thing apps, “you owe it to your company to at least give it a shot.”
Still, he admits that business has been good. HDS has seen steady growth for the last eight years, even during the depths of the “great recession”, and they are now gaining 250 new accounts per quarter and looking at new markets such as search, discovery, and personalization. He attributed this success to the long view of HDS and its strategy of partnering with clients.
During the economic near-collapse, when customers were facing 60% IT budget cuts at the same time that unstructured data was exploding, HDS brought virtualization to their customers. “We have customers who have gone from 20% utilization to 60%-80% just by bringing our system in,” he said. “Back in 2008 customers were able to delay major purchases by two years. I have one customer who saved buying a 40 Terabyte array by bringing in HDS.”
He admits that in the short run that hurt HDS sales. But, he said, “I hope that means those customers are now partners for us.”
He also emphasized that the Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) is itself very expandable. “We have customers who bring in our system just to build an umbrella across all the other vendors' products,” he said. Actually the term “umbrella” is one he borrowed from a customer who said exactly that to him.
On the other extreme Yahoo! Is one of HDS's largest, fastest growing accounts. “The ability to index data and search across their entire data environment regardless of applications is very exciting to them.” HDS is not a subscriber to the federated data approach, in which data is organized around the application that created it. HDS breaks that structure by virtualizing the data itself, making it independent of any one application, and creating a single data pool. “Now I have data indexed across all those applications, and data mining becomes available.”
That technology, however, is only part of the story. The reason that HDS can produce a highly available hardware/software system is in part the close synergy it has developed with colleagues across the Pacific in Japan. For instance, Hitachi's Power Division builds nuclear plants, and it has developed highly efficient cooling for those plants. HDS borrowed that technology and adapted it to cooling large data centers. Another part of Hitachi makes the electric engines that go into most of today's hybrid cars. HDS borrowed that to build its disk motors, giving it an extremely dependable, long-lived disk system.
“This is part of our culture,” Domme said. “It is the synergy of all these great minds together.”