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HUS VM: Entry Enterprise and More

by Hu Yoshida on Sep 25, 2012

Today Hitachi Data Systems announced Hitachi Unified Storage VM (HUS VM), which we classify as an entry enterprise storage system. HUS VM is designed for the entry enterprise storage market, which we consider small and medium enterprise. This is a market where customers expect enterprise-class functionality at a lower price point than a minimum large enterprise storage configuration. Performance and availability are similar to those of enterprise products although at a reduced scale. These features include external storage virtualization, non-disruptive data migration, advanced data replication and dynamic tiering for automated storage management. Enterprise customers will also find HUS VM to be a cost-effective solution for business-critical applications that they may want to run on a dedicated array where the connectivity does not scale beyond 32 or 48 FC ports and processor demand does not scale beyond 16 cores.

In the past we have introduced smaller packaged versions of our enterprise products like USP VM to USP V.  USP VM was configured to be lower in price than the minimum configuration of USP V while still providing all the functionality of  USP V, but on a smaller scale. This still required the use of an internal switch and global cache in order to run the same microcode and provide the same functions of USP V.  So, in order to reduce costs, the number of backend disk directors was reduced to 1, which could be replaced by a frontend director if no internal disks were required. The maximum number of front-end directors was 2 or 3 if no internal disks were required–a diskless USP VM virtualizes external storage through frontend port connections. This was less than the minimum configuration available on USP V. The reduction in number of frontend and backend directors was necessary to reduce cost and fit a USP VM controller into a 19-inch rack, which was the design requirement for the small enterprise/midrange market.

HUS VM is targeted at this same market, but this time, we did not have to give up any frontend or back-end ports to make this product price competitive. HUS VM can be configured with up to 48 front end FC ports for storage virtualization or up to 32 front end FC ports when configured with SAS ports for internal storage. This was done by reducing 7 chips that provided functions like front-end and backend directors, switch matrix, processor access, cache memory access, and cache memory, into one chip. HUS VM uses a pair of the new 8-core Intel processors, which are operated as four logical 4-core processors for compatibility with VSP microcode. In this regard, HUS VM has double the processing power of the minimum VSP configuration, which has two 4-core processors. The net is that we have been able to reduce the cost without giving up any front- or back-end connectivity while increasing the processing power to drive demanding enterprise functions like remote replication. This makes HUS VM a true entry enterprise storage platform.

So why did we choose to name this product HUS VM instead of following precedence and naming this VSP VM? The reason is that this is a unified storage system like HUS but on an enterprise level. It has the same ability to store file, block and object data on a single platform, using the same HNAS file module clusters that are available on our modular HUS systems and managed with the same Hitachi Command Suite software tools. Another similarity to HUS is the same standard 19-inch rack form factor for disk drawers. In fact, HUS VM uses the same 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drawers as HUS  with a different firmware load. HUS VM can be described as unified storage with full enterprise capability in a midrange modular package.

Below are comparison specifications between HUS 150, HUS VM, and VSP:

 

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