By Kevin Komiega
Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) announced last month that it had inked a multi-faceted deal with NAS vendor BlueArc to secure a foothold in the high-performance computing (HPC) storage market. Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies are entering into a five-year worldwide OEM agreement and will immediately launch the Hitachi High-performance NAS Platform, which is based on BlueArc’s Titan systems. BlueArc will also resell the entire line of HDS storage products.
The new platform offers file-based virtualization backed by powerful hardware, including 512TB of storage capacity, a file system size of 256TB, 1,024 snapshots per file system, and the ability to perform data classification and HSM at speeds of 600,000 I/Os per second.
President and CEO Dave Roberson announced that HDS has made a private equity investment in BlueArc, but did not disclose the dollar amount.
The High-performance NAS Platform supports the HDS portfolio of SAN and NAS systems, including its intelligent virtual storage controllers, the Universal Storage Platform and Network Storage Controller; and its midrange Adaptable Modular Storage models WMS100, AMS200, AMS500, and AMS1000.
The NAS Platform will be fully integrated with Hitachi’s HiCommand suite of storage management software and will also be integrated into Hitachi’s data-protection and replication suite, including TrueCopy.
HDS claims the High-performance NAS Platform’s capacity allows for fewer nodes and less maintenance. The platform’s single logical storage pool of up to 512TB can eliminate the need to break up large data sets, and its file virtualization capabilities enable automatic growth of file systems. The platform features a cluster namespace, which provides a single unified namespace for both CIFS and NFS, giving administrators a single mount point for users no matter where they physically reside.
Tony Asaro, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group research and consulting firm, says HDS has an opportunity to penetrate the HPC and enterprise NAS, markets through the partnership with BlueArc. “The enterprise NAS market is currently owned primarily by NetApp and EMC. There is no third player.”
HDS plans to go head-to-head with competing platforms such as EMC’s Celerra/NSX and NetApp’s FAS and V series products.
HDS’s Roberson says the goal is to target Hitachi’s existing storage customers with the new HPC NAS platform, a move that Asaro believes could be effective. “There are a number of companies that are doing oil and gas research, medical research, and R&D that are using HDS for their corporate storage. Walking across the hall to the research folks should be easy,” Asaro explains. “BlueArc has a very competitive product that is well-suited for the HPC market. The combination could be successful, but it will come down to focus and execution.”