Hitachi’s CAS takes on EMC’s Centera

By Ann Silverthorn

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) last month announced a content addressed storage (CAS) solution designed to compete directly with EMC’s Centera CAS platform. The Hitachi Content Archive Platform stores data in its native format and allows queries on the content of archived data rather than metadata as Centera does.

Hitachi’s “active archive” CAS platform is slated for general availability in the fall time frame.

Hitachi’s CAS play is a combined software and hardware solution that supports policy-based integration from both distributed and centralized data repositories. These repositories include both unstructured and structured data, such as e-mail, file systems, databases, applications, and content or document management systems.

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“We’re trying to distinguish between the active archive and the static archive,” says Claus Mikkelsen, chief scientist at HDS. “Our definition of an active archive is one that users still need to query, access, and manage. Static archive products allow users to store, but enable a search of only the metadata. If you look in the petabytes of storage that can be in an archive these days, you really need a better search capability.”

The Hitachi Content Archive Platform stores archive data in its native form so it is searchable. “A company going into litigation can issue queries against the actual content, rather than just the metadata that’s been kept about the storage,” Mikkelsen explains.

Hitachi’s CAS platform consists of Hitachi Content Archiver software and the Content Archive Platform. Content Archiver is based on code, developed by Archivas, that provides policy-based control authentication, preservation, and protection. The initial Content Archive Platform configurations employ Hitachi’s TagmaStore Workgroup Modular Storage model WMS100 Serial ATA (SATA) disk array. Future implementations will support Hitachi’s Network Storage Controller (NSC) and Universal Storage Platform (USP), which will offer up to 32PB of capacity.

Instead of using proprietary APIs to integrate content-producing applications, as some CAS solutions do, Hitachi’s Content Archive Platform uses open-standards interfaces such as NFS, CIFS, WebDAV, and HTTP. The product also uses the SMI-S storage management standard.

The Content Archive Platform is designed to provide secure, archival-quality retention, preservation, and verifiable content destruction. The platform scales to more than 300TB and supports 350 files per archive. It can scale linearly with additional capacity. Each server features 4GB of cache. Aged data on primary storage can be moved to an archive tier of storage and then offloaded from higher-cost disk to less-expensive storage, such as SATA.

Hitachi customers can monitor, report on, and control their entire HDS tiered storage infrastructure, including the Content Archive Platform, from a single management interface.

The Content Archive Platform is priced at $225,000 for a configuration with 5TB of usable capacity.

Hitachi’s CAS announcement came shortly after start-up Caringo entered the market with a software-only approach (see “Caringo launches software-based CAS,” InfoStor, June 2006, p. 17).

This article was originally published on July 01, 2006