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HDS Launches Preemptive Strike

Looking to upstage its primary rival, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has announced enhancements to its high-end Lightning 9900 V series storage arrays on the eve of EMC Corp.'s (NYSE: EMC) unveiling of the Symmetrix 6 next week.

HDS says new options for the 9900 V will double its capacity -- to a maximum of 128 Tbytes of usable storage -- as well as double its overall connectivity, to 64 Fibre Channel ports (see HDS Charges Up Lightning).

Customers of the Lightning 9980 V have grown to an average of 20 Tbytes in capacity per system, says HDS CTO Hu Yoshida. "As a result, enterprise customers have consolidated high-capacity storage within a relatively small footprint," he says. The new options for the Lightning 9900 V family, which are available now, come less than a year after Hitachi introduced it (see HDS Switches On 'BlackLight').

The timing of HDS's announcement doesn't appear to be arbitrary. It comes less than a week before the Feb. 3 launch of the Symmetrix 6 in New York, perhaps EMC's most significant product rollout of the year. (HDS officials insist, however, that the proximity of its news to the Symm 6 launch is just a coincidence. Riiiiiiiiight.)

In terms of speeds and feeds, the upgraded Lightning may or may not keep HDS in front of EMC. According to some reports, the two-bay Symm 6 may be able to provide a maximum capacity of only 42 Tbytes, although other sources say the system's overall capacity will top out at more than 100 Tbytes (see EMC Sets Symm 6 Debut and EMC Readies Symmetrix Upgrade).

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