Redefining Unified Storage
by Hu Yoshida on Jul 6, 2012
Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) has garnered some excellent momentum since it was announced in April. Our customer Victorian water authority, Western Water, based in Victoria, Australia, has implemented a 256 TB capacity storage system to cope with its 50 percent year-on-year growth. It is using HUS to store data it is gathering from customer water meters as part of the Victorian government’s Sustainable Water Strategies, which includes water management. Western Water IT operations architect, Jeff Smith, said that they looked into a number of storage systems before implementing HUS in May 2012, because of its high density storage capability.
While HUS is competitive as a storage system, it is creating a new standard for storage systems. In particular the standard for unified storage.
Rick has written a number of times on the versatility of unified storage with the ability to do multiple tasks in one controller and software suite. Historically that has meant that a product does both block and file storage protocols, namely block and file storage and network protocols. Rick notes that “While traditional unified storage systems deliver features like storage replication, storage snapshots, and thin provisioning, the HUS series brings in new features that are normal in storage today, such as SSD support, automatic storage tiering, active-active controllers, LUN migration, and more.” These features, especially active-active controllers, are available in enterprise storage today and HUS, which adds “truly enterprise-class features to the unified storage offering, makes it a compelling decision to leverage this type of platform for current and future storage needs based on performance, features, and capacity.”
However, the fact that caught Rick’s attention was the ability of HUS to support not only file and block storage protocols, but also object-based storage. “Object-based storage includes technologies such as http/REST, SMTP, and WebDAV, and in the Hitachi line that is done with Hitachi Content Platform, so these cloud technologies and applications fit right in to object-based storage technologies. These are storage terms usually associated with cloud technologies (especially public clouds), and now they are readily available on a storage platform that you can manage on-premise. This is an area where IT organizations can address one of the biggest challenges out there for virtualization and cloud computing: how do we change the application without losing control of our data and applications? These are private cloud storage technologies that are ready to go with all of the enterprise features required for today’s environments.”
The Water authority in Victoria looked at hosting data in a private cloud but found it too expensive and could not get a 24/7, uptime guarantee from cloud vendors. However, once the National Broadband Network is rolled out, and the authority could get a guaranteed reliability of service, Smith said that the authority would re-examine hosting data in a private cloud. When that day comes they would be able to use the Object capability of HUS to connect to the cloud.
As Rick points out there is much more to HUS than traditional unified storage. I will follow up on this post with three more posts that will go into more detail about the unique capabilities of HUS.
My next post will examine the unique hardware architecture of HUS. A post will follow this on the object-based file system, which is unique to HUS. The last post will be on the unified management of HUS through our Hitachi Command Suite.