HCP and HDI, A Monster Release
by Michael Hay on Apr 30, 2012
Firstly, it has been quite a while since I’ve last posted. A lot has happened between the beginning of the year and today. In fact it has been so action packed, the past 100 days seem more like 365. While I cannot spill the beans on everything, my colleague Ken Wood and I are super excited to communicate to you about the new Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) and the Hitachi Data Ingestor (HDI) developments.
With HCP and HDI we are bringing well over 130 new features and capabilities to the cloud-enabled object storage market. While documenting a log-like post of every detail would be downright boring I believe referencing the top 5 HCP capabilities and top 2 HDI capabilities will expose the stellar work completed by our HCP and HDI R&D teams.
HCP’s top 5 new capabilities are:
- Energy efficient content storage via spin down disk on HUS (Note: this will be covered in depth by Ken Wood)
- A radical increase of the number of tenants and namespaces
- Improved authentication and authorization through Microsoft AD support and S3-like or S3 inspired object level ACLs
- Native metadata search via the enhancements to the existing Metadata Query Engine (MQE)
- HCP packaged in VMWare to support limited use cases like custom application development, evaluation, PoCs, etc.
HDI’s top 2 new capabilities are:
- File pinning at the edge to ensure fast, local access to designated files
- Improved VMWare appliances supporting HA and easier installation
HCP code named Godzilla – Scaling done right
As HCP has evolved, the need for extreme scale has become paramount. Extreme scale means different things to the different types of users. For example application authors are likely more concerned about how to best extract solid performance, object density, etc; whereas service providers are more interested in things like extreme tenancy, operational efficiencies and stellar manageability. For HCP we’ve focused on the needs of the application and service provider by expanding key attributes of the system, improving user performance/usability, and zeroing in on the details needed to improve online upgrades. I’m using the image at the beginning of this section to illustrate that when we build features and capabilities into HCP we look at all aspects. Specifically with HCP plumping up the number of supported tenants and namespaces to 1000 and 10,000, respectively, we needed to ensure the administrator can gracefully interact with an extreme number of tenants. Further, tenants themselves are now more power packed through the additions of more protocols (i.e. SMTP, NFS, CIFS and WebDAV), a new external authentication method (i.e. Microsoft Active Directory), and S3 inspired ACLs — a great illustration of a feature with strong manageability. Object level ACLs can be individually controlled by an application or user, but application or service providers can establish overrides at the namespace or tenant level which are then “pushed down” to all objects below. This kind of activity is critical for use cases where application and service providers may want to quickly remove or restrict access to an entire tenant when something untoward has happened such as a security breach. Again we’ve made this feature scalable both for other applications and systems using HCP and for the administrators.
You’ll see this same theme applied to nearly all of the features our monster Godzilla brings to the table with the most recent release. Whether it is a seamless online upgrade or a VMWare version available for an application developer or for special evaluation, I believe you’ll see we’ve done scaling right!
HDI code named Emerald — Access done right
While many in-development or modern applications can take advantage of the cloud or object lingua franca, REST over HTTP, many existing applications and certainly human beings cannot. Further, we know that many users are interested in relieving pressures on WANs and pushing out content to remote sites both of which are key facets of wide area collaboration. Today I’m proud to talk about two key new HDI capabilities that add to its growing arsenal of capabilities: file pinning and availability/reliability improvements to our VMWare appliance model. Firstly, file pinning allows an administrator to define which files will remain in HDI’s cache. From a user’s perspective pinning allows popular or hot content to sustain higher performance because in a WAN style deployment the entry point to the content is intentionally close to the user. Complimenting file pinning is an HA cluster version of our popular Virtual Machine Appliance (VMA) model of HDI. HDI’s HA VMA allows administrators to quickly and easily deploy and re-deploy a highly available HDI infrastructure in a remote site. When taken together, these two capabilities allow users to rely on the power of HDI, afford administrators simple administration meeting users needs, and allow companies to deploy infrastructures leading them down the path towards wide area collaboration.
Our keen attention to detail in our gem of a product, HDI, helps our users do access right so they can begin to meet objectives like reducing pressure on WAN pipes and move forward in generating new information over distance.
Why is this relevant and why I’m excited?
The last points on HDI are really why I’m excited: efficient usage of WAN resources to share and engender insightful information that matters. Intimate interaction with our global customers produced the spark that headed us down this specific path for HDI and HCP. Here is an anonymous quote from an EMEA customer which crystalized our goal:
“I want to be able to find and share information from both London and Hong Kong so that we can create collaborative projects to analyze markets on a global basis.” (EMEA Financial Services Customer)
Helping our customers and users get at and manage their information without limitations is really what jazzes me and all of the teams at Hitachi and HDS. I hope you can see that we are moving intentionally down this path, and I really appreciate all of the efforts by the teams so far to get us to the super competitive position we are in today.