Matthew Hardman

Not your father's storage system!

Blog Post created by Matthew Hardman on Jun 26, 2016

Following up on my previous post about how working at Hitachi Data Systems, completely blew my mind as a company. I am increasingly getting excited about the innovation our engineering teams  drive around what I used to consider a storage box.

 

Enter the Virtual Storage Platform

 

So I’ll admit it, I had initially thought that virtualization had to do with the software vendors, you know the VMware, Microsoft... etc., I thought to myself; What could a storage vendor actually do in this space?

 

Well a lot it turns out actually. In fact, the innovation that we have enabled through our Virtual Storage Platform is so popular with customers that based on research conducted by TechValidate,

 

84% of IT organizations are likely to recommend Virtual Storage Platform GX00 Series. - Source: https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/C94-FDC-5D5

 

I took it upon myself to ask the question, what is it that makes it so awesome? It's just storage, isn't it? Apparently not...

I am no storage administrator, but I am getting a better insight on what is important to these amazing people. Yes, cost is still a big thing, but of course you need to balance that with things such as speed to access data, the availability of data, the list just goes on and on. As I learn more about the challenges, I get excited about the ways we are addressing them, and making life easier for our customers. In fact, these are some of the things customers have said...


"Reduced power consumption by a factor 4 and density by a factor 8, when compared to last year’s technology. While at the same time massively lowering latency and increasing bandwidth." — IT Architect, Global 500 Banking Company. | Source: TechValidate. TVID: B95-BA4-C6A


"We have consolidated over 20 storage systems on just 3 VSP G1000 storage systems. The administration is easier. The performance is very good, and the high availability storage feature (GAD) is very interesting for our software (banking business)." — Storage Administrator, Medium Enterprise Banking Company | Source: TechValidate. TVID: 657-71C-37D


So what are some of these capabilities?

 

Now I don't want to completely exhaust your attention with an ongoing list of things, let me take the time to talk about three areas that our Virtual Storage Platform addresses, and the rest, well we can share more as required. :-)


Global Active Device or "GAD" as we call it

 

There are a multitude of reasons why you might experience a disruption in your IT delivery, so it’s critical to you take the time to design your systems in a way that reduces the impact to your business. The GAD is designed to do just that, it enables you to ensure you have read/write copies of the same data in two places at the same time. So let’s say you lose power to your storage array, meaning you can’t access your data, well never fear, the storage array at the other site will automatically continue the work. This happens because the host, will redirect requests to the data, to the secondary storage array. This is what we call an “ACTIVE – ACTIVE” design.

 

This is solution is so much more powerful than a disaster recovery solution in that there is no down time, as soon as one site goes down the other picks up the load because it was already running, critical for business applications that need to be up 100% of the time.

Another amazing feature that GAD delivers is how it provides Multipath access to data. Let me explain why that is awesome. Imagine you had some two sites, both with a storage array under GAD, and you were running some virtual machines at the first site, that was accessing the data locally. Now let’s say we were to move the virtual machines from the first site, to the second site. Because of GAD, these moved virtual machines would then be able to read its data from the second site without any configuration change. This means you can move workloads to where you have the resources to execute, without the fear of where the data is.


Dynamic Tiered Storage, making data cost effective

 

One of the considerations I talked about earlier was the fact that "speed of access to data" was a primary concern for most administrators, you don't want to be the bottle neck. But when you are managing costs as well, you can't afford to have unlimited Grade 1, Triple A, Premium storage for everything. Because of that most storage systems will be a mix of types such as SSD/Flash, then on to spinning disks of varying speeds, and then finally to external storage.

 

The VSP G-Series delivers Dynamic Tiered Storage which will monitor the data you are storing in your storage, and will move it between the different types of storage in your system. This means it is constantly optimizing your costs by ensuring that your data is placed on the right tiers based on its access behavior, and ensuring you don't have to over invest in tiers which cost the most.


Storage Virtualization, making use of what you got

 

There is no doubt you have already invested a lot of money in storage already, and you want to completely maximize your investment of the old and the new. Well with Hitachi Storage Virtualization, will let you bring together not just Hitachi Storage, but across a broad number of third-party storage systems.

To enable this, we use the magic of software to map the third-party storage in to the Hitachi Storage Virtualization software, once connected, the software can scan all the volumes on the external storage, and identifies volumes that can be virtualized. These volumes will then be made available to the overall system, which can then be accessed to the applications.

The benefit of doing this means that instead of having silo-ed systems managing your different storage options, you can bring them together, using single tools to help manage the storage and get the most efficient usage of what you may already have.


In Conclusion

 

There is a lot more going on in what the VSP G series is offering customers, and the more I see it in action, the more excited I am getting about being a part of getting this innovation out to customers!

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