Here I am again on the start of another vendor blogging day. As the title of this post suggests, this will be a trip to see Hitachi, or HDS (Hitachi Data Systems) if you prefer. The Bloggers Day is taking place over two days and is located in San Jose, just south of San Francisco in California. I’ve previously posted a list of the attendees, both from the blogging community and the Hitachi itself.
The IT world has changed since I first encountered Hitachi 7700E, 9900 and the recent USP/USP V ranges of Enterprise storage arrays that typify Hitachi’s hardware portfolio. Enterprise and Modular storage now take equal billing and many of the features that were once Enterprise-only have migrated to the modular products, blurring the lines between the two platforms. In addition Hitachi have offerings for NAS and object store. They also sell servers (believe it or not).
Is this a scenario that has occurred because of customer demand? Is it more likely that reliability and the virtualisation of everything means that the original premise of the enterprise array is no longer valid? I believe that we are seeing a gradual move from the network-centric data centre, via the storage-centric data centre to what will become the hypervisor-centric data centre and eventually application-centric cloud. Storage devices are no longer the place where data functionality is focused and it will be less so as time goes on. The logical place for data mobility will be in the hypervisor (at least the hypervisor will be the controlling entity) and storage will become a feature as networks are today. If this is right, then the concept of and need to differentiate Enterprise and Modular arrays will cease to exist.
The “simplification” of storage (and I say it in quotes deliberately, as storage remains complex) means vendors are having to stretch out into other technology areas. EMC set the trend by demonstrating great foresight in buying VMware. Cisco & HP have joined the unified computing club. So now has Hitachi, selling their own servers and promising us their view of unified computing.
This shift away from storage is the interesting highlight of HDS Bloggers Day. What exactly is the Hitachi offering in Unified Computing? How have they integrated their server hardware and storage lines? Most important, how is this all being managed through a harmonised management suite of tools?
Here’s a final thought. Is the acronym Hitachi Data Systems still valid? Perhaps the rebranding to just Hitachi is all part of a big plan.
I’m looking forward to catching up with people today (well, much later today) and will post more later.