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HDS releases converged infrastructure platform

Hitachi Data Systems' pre-built solutions designed for combined storage, servers, networking switches and virtualization software

Storage vendor Hitachi Data Systems announced today that it is selling a pre-built infrastructure or a pre-tested reference architecture that combine servers, networks, storage and management components that can be deployed in days.

HDS's new Unified Compute Platform (UCP) follows the lead of other bundled configurations from EMC its Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) Alliance, NetApp, Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

"This market has been served by either solution providers including all components from the same vendor or by pre-configured and pre-tested packages comprised of best-of-breed components from different vendors," Ashish Nadkarni, research director for Storage Systems at IDC, said in a statement. "HDS is breaking this either/or mold by combining the best of each approach."

Along with using its own storage arrays, HDS has struck a partnership deal with Cisco Systems to use its Unified Computing System (UCS) blade servers and switches.

Because HDS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of system vendor Hitachi Ltd., is is also offering a choice of servers and hypervisors. For example, users can choose the Cisco UCS or Hitachi's CB2000, CB500 or CR200 servers. HDS is also offering a choice of Cisco or Brocade Fibre Channel or Ethernet switches.

HDS's UCP comes in two flavors: The Hitachi UCP Pro, which is a pre-built turnkey system that can be installed in two days; and the Hitachi UCP Select, which offers users a series of pre-validated reference architectures that are pretested by HDS but built and installed by the customer with Hitachi's help.

As expected, on the storage front, HDS is offering a choice of its high-end Virtual Storage Platform (VSP), or its midrange Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) arrays, which offer both file and block-level data storage options. The HUS 150 has a maximum capacity of 3 petabytes with up to 960 drives. The HUS 130 can hold up to 756TB.

Hitachi's UCP bundles can be configured for to nine specific application environments. For example, bundles can be configured in support a company needs a Microsoft Exchange 2010 environment with 90,000 email boxes or a Citrix Xen Desktop (virtual desktop infrastructure) or for business analytics using SAP HANA. Each bundle is tested and certified by the application provider.

HDS's UCP bundle can be configured for a number of hypervisors, including Citrix Xen Desktop, Microsoft HyperV, VMware.

EMC was the first company to begin offering bundled storage, server and networking solutions. Its vBlock architecture is a combination of products brought together through its VCE partnership with Cisco and VMware, a subsidiary of EMC. NetApp followed suit with its FlexPod offering, which like EMC signed an exclusive deal with Cisco for its VCE platform. Hewlett-Packard with its VirtualSystem and Dell with vStart bundles also chimed in.

Beyond traditional storage and systems vendors, a new breed of start-ups are creating pre-configured systems, such as SimpliVity's OmniCube, Scale Computing's HC3 and Nutanix's Complete Cluster.

Ravi Chalaka, HDS's vice president of solutions marketing, said HDS's new UCP offering will save users time and money, not in the material costs, but in time wasted in purchasing, configuring and testing a architecture.

"It can take as long as 18 to 24 months to bring one on line and that's a lot of energy and cost that IT organizations would like to avoid," he said.

Along with the hardware and hypervisors, the new converged architecture comes with UCP Director, a VMware vCenter integrated management console, which offers a single view of both physical and virtual environments.

UCP Director, a console tightly integrated with VMware's vCenter

UCP Director allows administrators to provision server, network or storage capacity using RESTful APIs and offering real-time monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities.

"Now storage admins can focus on other jobs, such as better storage planning or setting up disaster recovery protection," Chalaka said.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is [email protected].

See more by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld.com.

Read more about data storage in Computerworld's Data Storage Topic Center.

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