The Hitachi Information Cloud includes an Information Cloud, a Content Cloud, and an Infrastructure Cloud, and they use the Hitachi Content Platform and technology from its BlueArc NAS and Parascale acquisitions. Additions to the Infrastructure Cloud include file tiring, primary file serving, SharePoint Archiving, and a Cloud Management Portal. It consists of a private, public, and hybrid cloud located at the customer premises and a cloud-based offering that is managed remotely by HDS and provided on a pay per use basis.
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File tiering allows inactive file content on the Hitachi Content Platform to be moved off of primary network attached storage into a cloud-based data store, while users maintain access to content. Files stored in the cloud are accessed from the primary NAS by means of a placeholder or stub that indicates where the file is stored. This method of storing files saves money on storage hardware and reduces operations expenses since data is not consumed on premises, but stored in the cloud on a service provider basis.
Primary file serving allows a local cache of data for frequently accesses content and a backup of data to the cloud, where it can be accessed by users in any locations. It supports multiple tenants or departments and multiple namespaces and is provide as a NFS or CIFs gateway. Active Directory and LDAP directories are supported. Again, primary file serving saves on capital and operational expenditures. By automatically backing up data at the edge of the network (in remote or branch offices), it reduces the complexity of management and also allows chargeback to departments or users of storage based on utilization.
In SharePoint Archiving, inactive data is moved out of primary storage into the cloud-based archive, while users maintain online access to data. Like file tiering, file is access from the primary SharePoint instance by means of a placeholder or stub file that indicates where the data is stored.
Finally, the Cloud Management Portal allows for a single point of management and provides self-service in which a customer can manage their storage, tenant and namespace allocation for better management of the file shares assigned to a department or branch offices, the configuration of cloud gateways and reporting. In addition, the Cloud Management Portal provides for chargeback, and is customizable for service providers and telcos that are providing cloud storage services.
Hitachi is competing in an increasingly crowded field, and more vendors are offering cloud storage along with other cloud services to enterprises large and small. IBM, for example, has its Smart Business Storage Cloud while CommVault is offering cloud storage for disaster recovery. For many IT departments, the key question is security of data in the cloud, and the vendors community is working on creating standards to improve cloud security.
Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.