2014 was a year in which there was an increased focus on object storage. Our object storage platform, Hitachi Content Platform (HCP),is part of a tightly integrated  portfolio of HCP (object-based cloud storage), HCP Anywhere (enterprise file sync and share), and the Hitachi Data Ingestor (cloud file gateway). This portfolio saw a tremendous amount of growth as we made some major announcements around mobility and cloud connectivity with HCP. In this post I will summarize how the Object storage market was viewed at the beginning of the year with Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for Object Storage report, which was published in February of 2014, and how it looked at the end of the year with IDC’s MarketScape on Object-based Storage platforms and systems (OBS) (IDC Document #253055) which was published in December of 2014. I will also summarize what improvements we made in our object storage portfolio in 2014.

 

Gartner Evaluation of Object Storage as of February 2014

In February of 2014, Gartner published a report by Arun Chandrasekaran and Alan Dayley about Critical Capabilities for Object Storage. At that time they described the object storage market as being “nascent” and they said that the forces of cloud, information, mobile, and social – was propelling object storage relevance in environments that demand scalability, ease of access and security in particular. In this report they compared 10-object storage products against seven critical capabilities in use cases relevant to IT leaders: Capacity, Efficiency, Interoperability, Manageability, Performance, Resilience, and Security.

 

“Object storage refers to devices and systems that house data in structures called “objects,” and serve hosts via protocols, such as HTTP and SMTP, and via APIs, such as REST, SOAP, Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift and CDMI. Conceptually, objects are similar to files in that they are composed of content and metadata. In general, objects support richer metadata than file storage by allowing users or applications to assign attributes to objects that can be used for administrative purposes, data mining and information management. Instead of a filename and directory tree, objects have a unique object ID and reside in a flat namespace.


Object storage systems are easy to interact with a standard interface to access data, often a RESTful interface or REST API. This interface enables a set of simple commands that developers use in their code to let the application access the data.”

 

Below is a chart from that report which evaluates 10 Object storage products against this definition and the seven critical capabilities described above.

 

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Gartner Evaluation of HCP in February 2014

HCP is available as a preconfigured hardware appliance or as a virtual software appliance. HCP has competitive security features, including robust multitenancy (tenants and namespaces are logical groups) and built-in encryption. It offers native WORM support, data destruction and digital signatures to ensure secure information life cycle management. HCP supports the Amazon S3 API, and provides competent support for horizontal and vertical industry applications, particularly in healthcare, media and communications, and oil and gas.”


HCP received top rating for security and tied for second or third place in many of the other categories. While HCP exceled on its own merits in this report, Hitachi’s object storage solution is unique in that it is surrounded by an eco-system of tightly integrated solutions that allow organizations to support multiple workloads from a singular integrated architecture. When combined with Hitachi Content Platform Anywhere (HCPA), enterprise class file synch and share; and Hitachi Data Ingestor (HDI), an elastic and backup-free cloud on-ramp and filer, this trio of integrated offerings delivers simplified file sharing and, for remote and branch office employees, instant access and easy collaboration for mobile workforce and corporate users, all while supporting a growing number of cloud and traditional applications. It is this integration that makes Hitachi Data Systems’ object storage solutions so compelling for our 1,000+ discrete customers around the world with deployment of roughly 215+ PB of storage behind their HCPs. The security, simplicity and smarts of the HCP Portfolio means they did not have to rewrite existing applications, spend hundreds of hours and piles of money to make it work, or force users to learn new tools and processes, resulting in reduced operational costs and improved productivity. While other vendors have a product or an appliance, which leads to a very silo’d environment, Hitachi Data Systems approaches object storage with an integrated portfolio of cloud, mobility and file solutions.

 

Enhancements to HCP in 2014

After this report that was published in February of 2014, a new release of HCP introduced adaptive cloud tiering, a feature that allows organizations to intelligently and automatically move data to and from a choice of leading public clouds from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Verizon and Hitachi Cloud Service for Content Archiving based on changes in demand and policies set by the organization. This capability lets IT create a secure hybrid cloud with true cloud mobility, complete with a balanced approach to security and cost. It does so by controlling what data is kept in-house and what is stored in the public cloud. With the added elements of HCP Anywhere (HCPA) and HDI, all user-oriented file services can be delivered in the most, user-friendly way possible to balance the security and governance requirements of IT. In addition, new capabilities synchronize data across multiple, globally disbursed, active sites for improved productivity, faster access, and streamlined business continuity.

 

In 2014 the need to bring mobile devices and mobile data under the control of IT became a high priority and there are many products appearing in the market place to address this. There is mobile device management (MDM) for locking down devices, mobile application management (MAM) for controlling user access to applications, mobile information management (MIM) to allow only authorized applications to access data, and content management systems (CMS) to manage workflow in a collaborative manner. Enterprise mobile management (EMM) involves some combination of these tools.

 

Since HCPA adds mobility management features on top of an enterprise content management platform-HCP, HCPA brings elements of MDM and MIM into the picture. MDM is provided through HCPA’s ability to remotely lock devices and/or deregister devices, which wipes all HCPA data from the device without wiping out your personal data. HCPA also plays nicely with apps like Mobile Iron so that neither creates conflicts for the other. On the MIM side, HCPA doesn’t really control which apps can use data, but it does allow users to better manage which users or 3rd parties can access files and participate in shared folders. Again, compatibility with apps like Mobile Iron as well as future HCPA APIs will help ensure that HCPA data is only available to certain apps. Instead of treating mobile as a separate silo, HCP approaches mobile as another channel to our portfolio of endpoints for object storage.

 

IDC December 2014 Market Scape on object-Based Storage Platforms

In December of 2014 IDC published MarketScape on Object-based Storage platforms and systems (OBS) (IDC Document #253055) where they analyzed 18 OBS vendors and placed them in four categories: Leaders, Major players, Contenders, and Participants. IDC noted, that “within the span of a year, at least four suppliers had a major change in direction by announcing new products and major refreshes. The influence of open source in this market segment cannot be underestimated either, as three of the supplier products are open source based and almost all of them have some or other allegiance to OpenStack.”


IDC recognized the enhancements to HCP that were made during 2014.

 

IDC believes HDS’ 2014 content mobility announcement represents one of boldest launches of the company yet and gets to the heart of what many customers are looking to accomplish in the areas of hybrid cloud and workforce mobility while retaining visibility and control over their digital assets.”


HCP was positioned as a strong leader with increased market share in the IDC 2014 Market Scape on Object-Based Storage as reported in the Register. The size of the bubble indicates relative market share (see IDC’s clarification on this report).


What’s Is Required For Growth in 2015?

In their report, IDC provided essential guidance to object storage vendors with a list of core value propositions that are required for success:

  • The platform must support open standards and interfaces.
  • Success will depend on solutions and not “drop Shipping Products.”
  • OBS must meet or exceed scale-out file system performance.
  • It’s all about data resilience and data dispersion.
  • Big Data analytics means compute must run close to where data lives.
  • Intelligence must be available to handle objects of different types.

 

What’s in store for HCP in 2015?


Watch this space.