HDS expands management software

By Kevin Komiega

Hitachi Data Systems is shipping three new software tools that, when combined, extend an end user's management view from storage systems to business applications, virtualized servers and other IT resources in the data center.

The software suite includes the Hitachi Virtual Server Reporter, Storage Command Portal and IT Operations Analyzer.

IT Operations Analyzer provides a simplified view of the network topology, showing both logical and physical connections in multiple views.

Virtual Server Reporter provides users with a view of VMware servers and their respective storage usage, and is based on recently released software from HDS partner Aptare. The software gives administrators the ability to extend the capabilities of heterogeneous storage management reporting to individual virtual machines within a VMware environment. Users can potentially manage their storage and backups more effectively, allowing them to optimize utilization of storage assets and decrease costs through the integration of virtual server reporting.

The second piece of software, Storage Command Portal, consolidates storage reporting within the Hitachi Storage Command Suite of management software to tie Hitachi storage to business applications. Storage Command Portal generates customizable, application-centric views of a Hitachi storage environment with capacity and performance reporting to help manage service level objectives.

The third software tool – IT Operations Analyzer – manages and monitors storage, switches and servers, and automatically correlates the resulting information to create a topological view of the IT environment, according to Sean Moser, HDS' vice president of software product management.

"IT Operations Analyzer follows the data paths to seek out problems and potential problems in the data center. It looks for bottleneck and threshold problems and recognizes them as they are building, rather than after they occur," says Moser.

The software monitors servers and IP networks along with Fibre Channel SANs, LANs and storage systems. It features automated root cause analysis, network visualization and an agent-less architecture.

IT Operations Analyzer is priced at $5,000 for a 25-node software license.

Free virtualization

Separately, in an effort to entice users into attaching heterogeneous arrays to its Universal Storage Platform V (USP V), HDS launched a program that gives customers storage virtualization software to create a common pool of heterogeneous tiered storage, at no cost.

Under the "Switch it On" program, HDS is offering virtualization software that can be used to consolidate externally attached, third-party storage under common management, and includes transparent data movement, dynamic provisioning, intelligent tiering, and disaster recovery capabilities.

The company claims its storage virtualization and dynamic provisioning technology can improve overall storage utilization by up to 40%, recover up to 50% of unused storage capacity, and reduce overall power, space and cooling costs in the data center.

Those who take part in the program will receive software licenses to virtualize an unlimited capacity of third-party storage behind the USP V using free Basic Operating System V software. Users will also receive free Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning (thin provisioning) software (up to 10TB), tiered Storage Manager software for data migration, and In-System Replication software for data protection.

Hu Yoshida, HDS' CTO, says the program is targeted at USP V customers that have been hesitant to attach existing heterogeneous storage arrays to the USP V for a variety of reasons, including cost.

"Our program is designed to make it easier to attach third-party storage systems to our USP V platform and use all of the capabilities and functions of the USP V," says Yoshida.

He says customers are subject to run-of-the-mill fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD), from other vendors who say their storage will not work with the USP V, but economic pressures are forcing users to look for ways to consolidate their storage infrastructures and do more with less.

"Even though we've had these capabilities available for some time, users are reluctant to attach existing assets to the USP V. This program is about encouraging them to take that leap of faith," says Yoshida. "The program takes away the cost element and provides immediate payback [in reclaimed capacity].

This article was originally published on June 01, 2009