Hitachi extends thin provisioning to heterogeneous arrays

By Kevin Komiega

—Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has expanded the capacity and features of its Universal Storage Platform (USP) V system with support for 750GB SATA drives and the extension of the system's thin-provisioning capabilities to external, heterogeneous storage arrays.

The USP V uses Hitachi's Dynamic Provisioning software to allocate virtual disk storage based on anticipated capacity requirements without dedicating physical disk resources in advance. The extension of Dynamic Provisioning to external storage arrays brings the utilization benefits of thin provisioning to heterogeneous disk arrays connected to the USP V.

Claus Mikkelsen, chief scientist at HDS, says applying Dynamic Provisioning across the data center helps users get more out of their legacy storage systems. "We can extend customers' existing storage assets with capabilities such as thin provisioning, thereby making virtualized storage greener, lowering power and cooling consumption, and increasing capacity utilization," he says. Mikkelsen adds that Dynamic Provisioning can potentially eliminate the need to re-provision LUNs as they grow.

Tony Asaro, a senior analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), says enabling thin provisioning on externally virtualized storage lets IT leverage intelligent functionality heterogeneously. "Thin provisioning provides more-efficient capacity utilization, which is a big problem in the data center," says Asaro. "In most cases, if a vendor provides advanced functionality such as thin provisioning, it creates value for that vendor's systems, but not the other arrays in the data center. Being able to extend this functionality brings value to all storage systems."

Asaro adds that thin provisioning is a key technology for improving capacity planning and utilization, as well as reducing power and cooling consumption: "External storage virtualization can improve utilization and optimization of heterogeneous storage assets."

This article was originally published on November 19, 2007