HDS Rebuts SAN Switch Rumors

CTO says a switch isn't planned 'at this time.' Instead, HDS will focus on virtualization in 2002

December 21, 2001

2 Min Read
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The chief technology officer of Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) issued a statement today denying rumors that the company is quietly developing a SAN switch (see HDS to Build SAN Switch?).

"Hitachi has no plans at this time to enter the SAN switch market We will continue to produce new industry-leading disk arrays and associated software and services to continue to expand our market share in 2002,” said Hu Yoshida.

The rest of his statement focused on HDS’s plans for the storage virtualization market: “Hitachi believes that virtualization is a promising technology and... should reside in the network."

Yoshida says Hitachi plans to work with its key partners to bring virtualization solutions to market. More details on the company's plans will be made publicly available next year.

”He appears to be foreshadowing a major push into virtualization,” says Mark Kelleher, analyst with First Albany Corp.So how does HDS get there?

An acquisition might be in the cards here. After all, HDS's parent company, Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA), in November invested in DataCore Software Corp., the last pure virtualization company left since StorageApps was purchased by Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP) (see Hitachi to Resell DataCore? and HP Acquires StorageApps).

But Yoshida makes a point of noting that HDS plans to work with, not buy, key partners to bring this technology to market. This brings to mind Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS), whose software HDS OEMs and resells.

However, Veritas also appears to be scratching its head where virtualization is concerned, with its own product still firmly under lock and key and no availability date in sight.

HDS still has a bit of time to play with, as none of the other major storage vendors are leading the charge: Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) has been promising its VersaStor product for two years. HP has yet to announce any customers since the StorageApps acquisition -- and the company has other things on its mind right now. EMC Corp.'s (NYSE: EMC) views on virtualization are about as clear as mud (see James B. Rothnie, CTO, EMC Corp. and Virtual Reality?).Industry sources have mixed reactions to the news. Some aren't entirely convinced by Yoshida's rebuttal of the switch rumor. "They [Hitachi Ltd.] are a massive technology company, so nothing is completely out of bounds,” says Steve Duplessie at Enterprise Storage Group Inc.

Duplessie sees the company on a learning curve. “They have no internal virtualization play and no real virtualization strategy as of yet, so they are still trying to figure out the game."

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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