Hitachi Rerolls CAS

Redesigns for scaleability and integrator appeal

May 30, 2007

3 Min Read
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HDS has revamped its content-addressable storage (CAS) platform, adding scaleability, de-duplication, and enhanced security in a swipe at EMC's Centera and a bid to attract integrators and resellers. (See HDS Releases Revamped CAS.)

The new Hitachi Content Archive Platform Version 2.0 (HCAP 2.0) is the first re-release of the technology HDS acquired with the purchase of Archivas back in February. (See Hitachi Pockets Archivas.) It is now offered as both a standalone unit with integrated storage or as a diskless appliance that works with a range of external HDS arrays, including the vendor's WMS100; AMS200, AMS500, and AMS1000; NSC-55; and recently announced Universal Storage Platform V (USP V) systems. (See Hitachi Bulks Up.)

To support third-party storage, users must attach an HCAP unit to one of the vendor's new USP Vs.

This approach of decoupling CAS server and actual storage is key to addressing the need for unstructured CAS. And by supporting the new HDS platforms, HDS hopes to up the ante against competitors like EMC.

"We disaggregate servers and storage as part of archived solutions... This is our foray into the world of unstructured content," says Asim Zaheer, HDS senior director of business development, content archiving.HDS is claiming to support up to 20 Pbytes in an 80-node archive system. If proveable, that represents a step up from what other vendors, including EMC, lay claim to. (EMC, for instance, prefers to say it supports 64 Tbytes per Centera cabinet and that an unspecified number of cabinets can be linked.)

HDS also claims it can support as many objects in an archive with third-party storage as with HDS arrays. But customers will pay $250,000 and up for the USP V to act as intermediary. Otherwise, pricing for HCAP in general varies with the kind of HDS storage used, and a typical 5-Tbyte system starts at about $70,000.

While it's not possible to verify any vendors' CAS claims outside the lab, at least one analyst says HDS has significantly improved its CAS approach. "It's a great solution for HDS customers -- and others -- because of its ability to scale in terms of capacity and objects per node," says analyst Laura DuBois of IDC.

HDS has also attempted to address other problems that affect CAS users. On the security front, access to the new HCAP isn't possible without all objects being active, since nodes deploy a patent-pending "secret sharing" method. This ensures data can't be recovered from stolen disks, HDS says.

De-duplication comes with hashing algorithms to ensure users don't delete a file when archiving it. HDS also has made automated replication using an object-based approach a direct feature of HCAP, instead of requiring an additional host to achieve policy-based replication."We replicate the metadata and retention policies with the file," says Zaheer.

HDS has lots of CAS competition. Besides EMC and other big players, theres's IBM, which recently unveiled CAS solutions with Bycast. (See IBM Scales Up for Healthcare.)

HDS clearly aims to improve its partnerships with this announcement. While the vendor claims about 50, it could use more. Medical records is one lode to mine, and today HDS announced a deal with Carestream Health, a Rochester, N.Y.-based supplier of medical and dental imaging systems. Carestream has specific imaging software that will be combined with HCAL to form integrated solutions for hospitals and other health facilities.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • IDC

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