The BUZZ about HUS
by Hu Yoshida on Apr 24, 2012
There has been a lot of buzz about a new Hitachi storage platform. Today we announced our Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) system for the midrange and enterprise markets, which confirms these rumors and redefines the industry’s notion of unified storage. The reason for the buzz has been the excitement that it has generated in our pre-release evaluations with partners and customers as HDS delivers a truly single unified management framework for the entire HDS portfolio.
As the name implies, this will be a unified storage platform, meaning that this will support multiple protocols like FC, iSCSI and Ethernet (NFS and CIFS) and manage multiple data types like block, file and object in a single framework. This platform incorporates the high performance FPGA-based file architecture that we acquired from BlueArc last year. This architecture is based on a single clustered namespace and an object-based file system that enables fast searches, fast replication, and automated tiering and movement of files.
In addition to the unified file and object data support, what has been creating the current buzz and excitement is the increased capacity, performance, connectivity and features of this product all at a reduced price/GB, as well as the fact that HUS (and the entire HDS hardware product portfolio) will be supported by Hitachi Command Suite software.
The first thing one notices is how the density has been improved to reduce datacenter floorspace consumption. The HUS 110 and 130 block modules are slimmed down to 2U trays each with a choice of 24 small form factors (SFF) 2.5 inch drives or 12 large form factor (LFF) 3.5 inch drives. The largest HUS model 150 block module is housed in a 3U drawer which does not have any internal disks. Instead of drives, the 150 block module can house different types of replaceable front-end port modules. Each model has an option to add a file module for NFS, CIFS and FTP file sharing access. The file modules can be installed in single node or clustered configurations. Customers can add expansion trays for additional capacity. These have been re-designed to provide better density.
The difference between the 3 models, 110, 130, and 150 is in the scalability of cache, front end ports, back end ports, clustered file modules, and number of drives that it can support. The HUS 150 with a maximum of 20 high density expansion trays can provide 960 drives across two frames or the width of two data center floor tiles. With 3TB large capacity SAS drives, this is 2.8PB of storage system with 32GB of cache, 16 FC front end 8 GB/sec ports and 32 back-end 6GB/sec SAS links. This is ‘Big Data” in the eyes of most customers.
HUS will be one of the first enterprise storage systems to utilize the new Multi Level Cell (MLC) 200 and 400GB SSDs, which will lower the cost per capacity from previous Single Level Cell (SLC) technology, making SSD affordable for a wider range of applications.
In my prior post, I noted that the historic price erosion of disk media will level off at a much slower rate than we have enjoyed over the past 50 years; and that the price increases that were caused by supply shortages in the beginning of this year will remain with us even after the supply chain has been restored in order to recover the costs of rebuilding that supply chain. While HUS uses the same SAS drive types, this HUS product will be able to provide significant price savings through improvements in the design of the packaging and newer technology components. In addition, more of the software will be included in the Base Operating System (BOS) of HUS. Contact your Hitachi sales partner or integrator to see how you can increase your capacity, performance and functionality at a lower cost.
In short, the improvement in performance comes from faster front and back end ports, faster ASICs and processors, and an improvement in memory management. The introduction of metadata enhancements will enable an increase in snapshots to 1024, and improve the performance of memory dependent features like CoW snapshots, full capacity replication and dynamic tiering. The common management tools in Hitachi Command Suite also support it. HUS is a perfect repository for our Hitachi NAS and HCP products, as well as external tiered storage for VSP.
If you are thinking of moving to storage virtualization with the VSP, there is a campaign to encourage users to virtualize external storage. It is called Switch It On. This campaign reduces the software costs associated with virtualizing external storage on VSP and includes a “Virtualization Starter Kit” with services and education for users to hook up and utilize external storage. This campaign in conjunction with the storage efficient HUS is an easy cost effective way to start your storage virtualization journey to realizing a sustainable storage environment in the face of escalating data growth and complexity. Check with your Hitachi storage provider for the latest VSP release codes that support HUS as external storage.
This is only the beginning and there is much more to come.
The missing part of the equation…?
All we need now is a replacement hardware accelerator for the Titan 3200′s which also fully supports pNFS and HDS will be onto a winner!