HUS VM: An Efficient Enterprise Architecture for the Midrange
by Hu Yoshida on Oct 29, 2012
Twelve years ago when we introduced Hitachi Lightning™ 9900 V Series enterprise storage systems, the control unit was in a separate frame from our disk frames. The specifications for 9900 V were state of the art for storage systems in the year 2000. That was the last enterprise storage system from Hitachi Data Systems that required a separate control frame.
Over the past twelve years we introduced Hitachi Universal Storage Platform® (USP), USP V, and Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP), and improved the specifications and functionality of the control unit with each generation while reducing the footprint and power requirements. Last month we introduced Hitachi Unified Storage VM (HUS VM), an enterprise storage system for midrange customers. Once again the specifications have improved dramatically. The controller is now a 5U drawer that fits into a standard 19-inch rack and is microcode compatible with the larger VSP.
While this improvement in packaging is dramatic, it is even more remarkable when you compare it to competitive enterprise storage systems like EMC VMAX and IBM® DS8000®:
The data for power in the above table was derived from available configuration guides, which include embedded drives for DS8000 and VMAX 10K.
The specifications for VMAX and DS8000 enterprise controllers are similar to the specifications of Hitachi enterprise controllers twelve years ago and are nowhere near the specifications of HUS VM in 2012. The HUS VM controller fits into a standard 19-inch rack and does not require attached disks because it can virtualize other storage systems through its standard FC ports.
This comparison becomes even more dramatic when you take into account the requirement for vaulting drives. These are drives which are used to down load the controller cache to ensure that the data in the cache is not lost during a power failure.
HUS VM downloads the cache to internal flash modules within the controller packaging. Users cannot access these flash modules for security reasons. I am not sure what IBM uses to download the cache. It may be internal disks within their controller frame.
The practice guides for VMAX, specify 5 vaulting drives for every FC backend port. There are 8 FC ports for each of the two engines in a VMAX node, so that requires 5 x 8 x 2 = 80 vaulting drives for vaulting plus 8 more for spare. Because only a small portion of the capacity is needed to store the cache data, the additional capacity is available for application use. This should raise some security concerns. The drive enclosures for the VMAX 20K and the 40K are separate from the controller enclosures, so you need to double the footprint and power to install the basic enterprise controller function with its vaulting drives. VMAX 10 includes embedded drives and does not require a separate drive frame.
The tale of the tape is impressive, but even more impressive is the I/O power and functionality of HUS VM compared to the competition. HUS VM is a unified storage system with enterprise capabilities and the ability to extend these capabilities to external storage systems that are virtualized behind this compact, 5U high, standard 19-inch, controller drawer.