HDS PrepsTagmaStore, Ponders Sun

Hitachi's TagmaStore will integrate BlueArc NAS; Sun's 6920 platform might follow

January 9, 2007

3 Min Read
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Hitachi Data System's 2007 storage expansion will go beyond its NAS OEM deal with BlueArc, but just how far is anyone's guess. (See HDS, BlueArc in Big NAS Deal.)

HDS will upgrade its TagmaStore high-end SAN this year, and whispers persist that it will pluck at least one piece of Sun's storage product line. (See Sun, Hitachi Talk Storage.)

Nothing apart from the BlueArc deal has been announced, but an internal document obtained by Byte and Switch provides details of the new TagmaStore system based on HDS's Univseral Storage Platform (USP).

There are no major architecture changes in the new TagmaStore, but it will support 4-Gibt/s Fibre Channel -- likely beating EMC Symmetrix enterprise systems to the punch. The new systems will support a total internal capacity of 576 Tbytes and let customers connect up to 256 Pbytes externally. HDS will also let customers externally attach storage via FICON ports for easier migration and management for mainframe customers.

Other features include thin provisioning and improved local as well as remote replication, supporting more volumes and replication pairs than previous versions. The replication software will also support more consistency groups -- four per system residing in each data center.The HDS document makes no mention of an upgrade to its midrange USP system, and industry sources say there are growing rumbles that HDS will purchase the StorageTek 6920 business unit from Sun. However, neither company would confirm the rumors and sources who hear them wonder why HDS would want the Sun system.

Sun bills the 6920 as a virtualization system, and HDS has its own midrange SAN systems with virtualization. (See Hitachi Plans Midrange Rollout and HDS Strips Disk.) Sun has had little success selling the 6920, which is based on technology it acquired from Pirus in 2002 for around $165 million. (See Pirus Gets Sun Tan and Sun Beams on Pirus.)

A query to HDS brought the boilerplate response of "We don't comment on any rumors and speculation." Sun was a bit more expansive, but no more illuminating.

"Our strategy continues to be to invest internally in core competencies with a focus on Solaris, while leveraging our partners to help ensure we maintain a diverse and broad portfolio," Sun said in a statement. "Sun is continuously investigating ways to reduce costs and manage our product portfolio. We are also in regular discussions with our partners about how to better serve our customers. At this time, we are not prepared to disclose any details around changes in our product roadmap. As a company policy, we do not respond to market rumors."

Two industry insiders who say they've heard the talk is more than just rumor are trying to make sense of the deal. "I've heard it's a done deal, but why?" says one insider. "Hitachi has virtualization in the USP and a virtual appliance in the NSCS55."Another added, "I wouldn't be surprised because I've been hearing about it for a long time. Sun has been struggling to sell it off. The question is what Hitachi would do with it."

In an interview with Byte and Switch in November, Sun storage chief David Yen said Sun would not sell off the 6920 but would explore partnerships -- hinting at an OEM or licensing deal. (See Sun Storage Chief: We're Not for Sale.)

Dave Raffo, News Editor, Byte and Switch

  • BlueArc Corp.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Sun Microsystems Inc.

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