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Hitachi Enters Unified Computing Stack Market With New Blade Server

By Andy Patrizio (Send Email)
Posted Apr 19, 2010


Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is the latest hardware vendor to offer an integrated IT stack with the announcement of its own unified compute platform, which consists of blade servers, storage, networking and orchestration software. It doesn't quite have all the pieces like Sun and Cisco do, but the Japanese systems giant is offering its own all-in-one blade server solution with a potent ally: Microsoft.

One area where HDS's offering is different from that of Cisco's Unified Computing System and the combined Oracle and Sun is that the two use Linux and Solaris, respectively, while HDS has partnered with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to offer Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft's System Center suite and SQL Server 2008 products.

Hitachi will also provide orchestration software for automated, end-to-end management of all processes for server, storage, network and applications through a role-based management portal. All of the hardware and Microsoft software, including Hyper-V virtualization, will be managed by this orchestration software.

There will be additional virtualization technologies beyond Hyper-V as well, with the Hitachi Universal Storage Platform V, Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning and the Hitachi Storage Cluster for Microsoft Hyper-V providing as-yet-undisclosed leading storage and server virtualization solutions, Hitachi said. It also said it would offer support for Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware hypervisors.

The HDS solution is similar to the all-in-one solutions being offered by Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), HP and Oracle/Sun (NASDAQ: ORCL), with computing, storage and network connectivity all in one box and managed centrally. But don't clear a corner in your data center just yet: HDS doesn't expect to ship this until next year.

"Evaluations on the customer side tend to be pretty long," said Linda Xu, director of file, content and cloud product marketing at HDS. "That's why we like to do this pre-announcement. We want people to understand there's a lot of R&D already out there but we're also working with customers to take their feedback and get a lot of co-development input."

The hardware consists of Hitachi's server, storage and network gear: Hitachi blade servers, Hitachi Universal Storage Platform V, and Fibre Channel and Ethernet components. The first blade server certified to work in Hitachi's blade chassis is Hitachi's BladeSymphony, but other x86-based blades will work in it, too, Xu said.

"Our Orchestration software can work with other vendors as well. It's not our goal to push our servers. We're maintaining a neutral stance on that," Xu told InternetNews.com.

Hitachi Universal Storage Platform V (USPV) is the first high-end storage array qualified for Hitachi's unified computing system, but the company expects to qualify other storage vendors. The Orchestrator is tightly integrated with storage and handles functions like tiering and replication along with virtual machine images.

The company is also using a networking partner to handle that end of its offering, and will disclose the partner's name in the future, Xu said.

Meanwhile, during the coming months, Hitachi plans to work with customers and partners over the coming months to start testing, integrating and designing solutions, it said.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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