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Converged Data Solutions from Hitachi: An interview with Gary Pilafas

by Hu Yoshida on Jun 14, 2011

Today we announced Hitachi converged data center solutions to enable our customers to realize faster time to business value. These converged solutions initially will focus on Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track, Microsoft Exchange, and Hitachi Unified Compute Platform. A key part of this announcement is the introduction of Hitachi Compute Blade, which has been a leading blade server in the Japan market. I had the chance to talk about the news with Gary Pilafas, who has been responsible for driving these solutions in Hitachi Data Systems.

Q: Thanks for chatting with me today, Gary. Can you tell me a bit about your role here at HDS?

A: Hi Hu, My friends often ask me what I do and the best way I can describe so it to tell them I create Hitachi all-in-one packages out of all of our Hitachi intellectual properties.

Unlike a traditional all-in-one fast food meal, which usually consists of burger, fries and soft drink served to you in a bag through a drive up window, I take servers, integrated networking and storage and put them together in a certified, tested tack with applications that our customers use, all wrapped up with management software for an offering that is easy to consume.

My title is vice president of Converged Platform Strategies; however, people understand “all-in-one meals” better. Our current menu board includes Hitachi Solution Built on Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track, Hitachi Converged Platform for Microsoft Exchange 2010, Hitachi Unified Compute Platform and we plan to roll out solutions optimized for other applications and use cases.

Q: Today we announced our converged data center strategy. Can you tell me how Hitachi Compute Blade fits in to the overall solution?

A: Hitachi has been manufacturing computers for almost 50 years including mainframe and open systems computers. Today, Hitachi offers the same cornerstones of reliability and performance differentiation in our servers that our customers are accustomed to in our storage. With the presence of servers we now have a strong play in the compute area, which allows an increase in Hitachi value that is one step closer to the customer’s application.

Q: I’m sure one question my readers will have is around the “newness” of the blade server. Can you provide some background here? Did we just get into the market?

A: The blade server that we are introducing with our converged solutions is not new. It has been in the Japan market for over 10 years and is one of the leading blade servers in Japan. Hitachi decided to bring this blade server to the global market. Based upon our success in the global storage market, the responsibility for global sales of this blade server was given to Hitachi Data Systems two years ago. Since then we have been developing the solutions, or all in one meals, that we are delivering today.

Q: What are some key benefits of Hitachi Compute Blade?

A: Hitachi compute blades have a significant amount of Hitachi’s mainframe intellectual property in our solution. Hitachi compute blade have the unique ability to use hardware-based logical partitions (LPAR) as well the ability for quads or pairs of blade grouping referred to as symmetrical multi processing (SMP).

Q: How are we different from other blade servers in the market?

A: Hitachi Compute Blade is an essential building block for our Converged Data Center solutions portfolio. We bring mainframe class reliability and performance to the x86 world. So we have enterprise class storage and compute in the same converged solutions. We leverage Hitachi’s patented LPARs and we’re the only one who can aggregate up to four blades into a single server image using SMP (Symmetric Multi-Processing). The passive mid-plane in the Hitachi Compute Blade allows for performance that dwarf any other servers from our competitors, given that Hitachi Compute Blades have the ability to offer two dedicated PCIe slots to each blade.

Q: What is the benefit of Hitachi converged solutions over what our competitors are offering?

A: Solutions like the VCE and FlexPod are pure partnership play and based on technology from three different companies. We have full ownership of both our compute blade and storage, which means much tighter integration in the stack and ability to drive the roadmap to meet our customers’ needs. We also provide service and support for the stack. So for customers, it’s one vendor to deal with. Hitachi also offers a clean and manageable architecture that is fast and not a “duct-tape and coat-hangar solution” that requires Infiniband changing protocols to Fibre Channel like other suppliers do. HDS offers true enterprise class compute blades and storage in these pre-packaged converged solutions.

In addition to enterprise class compute blades in pre-packaged solutions, our solutions are designed with customer choice in mind. Our compute blade supports LPAR, VMware, Hyper-V all in the same system to provide flexibility for the customer and ensures investment protection. We’re not here to make customers rip and replace, we want to make sure we’re helping to support your existing infrastructure.

Hitachi solutions also give our customers an advantage over our competition because they have one number to dial for sales/support and service. Given that Hitachi can offer a certified stack around our applications that our customers use gives our customers a TCO advantage.

Hu: Thanks, Gary.  This is an exciting announcement and we look forward to hearing more about how our customers are adopting our solution.

Gary: I enjoyed it Hu, and definitely plan to blog more about our converged solutions on Technomusings.

About Gary Pilafas
Gary joined Hitachi Data Systems in July 2008. Currently he leads the combined current technology and future strategies for Hitachi Data Systems with the Enterprise Server Division and Disk Array Systems Division. He has many years of developing large enterprise strategies and leading technology transformations which have lead to a 75%.savings in OPEX and infrastructure modernization. Prior to joining Hitachi Data Systems, Gary was the Chief Architect and managing director of enterprise architecture at United Airlines where he spent 8 years establishing enterprise architecture hardware and software standards, massive financial reductions in CAPEX and OPEX dollars while UAL restructured under bankruptcy.

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