The vision and product development at Hitachi Data Systems is driven by what its customers tell it they need, rather than an internal soul-searching, Robert Bassilio, VP of storage management at HDS. Furthermore, he told Wikibon CEO David Vellante and SiliconAngle CEO John Furrier in a live interview on SiliconAngle.tv from the U.S. announcement, everything announced on Sept. 27 is either available now or will be in a series of scheduled upgrades over the next 90 days. So a customer who buys the new Virtual Storage Platform today will have all the capabilities, including the full software management capabilities, promised in the announcement.
“The HDS DNA is all substance, no fluff,” he said. “So we tend not to do slideware. What you saw on the stage is here. We are delivering dynamic tiering, for instance, today.” He said that HDS expects to add dynamic tiering for the mainframe in the next version of the platform, in six months, in a way that can be added easily to the system customers buy today.
The kind of data that HDS customers are handling is changing. While traditional structured data continues to grow, that growth has long been outrun by the explosion in unstructured data. And today that unstructured data is increasingly multimedia, so that companies are facing both a huge volume of data that needs to be managed and increasingly large data objects. And, he says, while some of that data can go onto systems that are “good enough”, the central systems at the heart of large organizations have to be 100% reliable.
“When a big bank or government entity goes down, you will see the repercussions for months – maybe forever,” he said. But simultaneously, customers are strapped by limited budgets that are not growing quickly – in many cases have not recovered from the cuts of a year ago.
In response, Bassilio said, HDS has designed a system that meets the reliability and performance needs of its customers at an affordable price and high efficiency. For instance, the new systems coming from HDS today, he said, use 50%-60% less power (and therefore cooling) of equivalent systems from just a few years ago. This speaks to one of the major needs of HDS customers, who have been struggling to power and cool their data centers.
The real innovations, however, are in software. “Hardware is a reactive proposition” he said, in part because users cannot afford to change their hardware constantly. Therefore, software has to provide the virtualization to boost utilization and make data available to multiple applications. It has to provide ease of use. And it has to provide the automated data management, tiering, and virtual provisioning that users need. And above it, it needs to abstrate the development and user environment above the hardware layer.
“Why should you have to worry about the amount of space you have available?
He said. “We want to make that invisible.”