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Hitachi Bulks Up

After months of speculation, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) finally unveiled the successor to its TagmaStore system today, taking the wraps off its high-end Universal Storage Platform (USP) V. (See Hitachi Unveils USP Hardware, Hitachi Intros Thin Provisioning, and HDS: Users Pick TagmaStore.)

As previously reported, USP V's total external capacity leaps to more than 200 Pbytes, reaching a maximum of 247 Pbytes. (See HDS Preps Broadway Debut and HDS PrepsTagmaStore, Ponders Sun.) On a conference call this morning, HDS CTO Hu Yoshida explained that USP V uses a combination of thin provisioning and virtualization to reach this capacity. "We create a large, logical, storage pool, and out of this pool we create the provisioning of the storage as it is needed," he said.

The maximum external capacity previously offered on the TagmaStore USP family, which was launched in 2004, was 32 Pbytes, although HDS was keen to push this figure up by developing a new set of hardware and software. "Around that time, people were asking for thin provisioning, so our engineers went back to the drawing board and came up with the USP V," said Yoshida.

A number of vendors are currently throwing their weight behind thin provisioning, a technique whereby physical disk capacity is used only as it is needed. (See EqualLogic: Thin Is In, 3PAR Debuts 'Thin Provisioning', and A Data Reduction Dossier.)

Today's introduction is a shot across the bows of rivals IBM and EMC, which are yet to deploy the technology on their own high-end products, according to analyst Tony Asaro of the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). "Thin provisioning is probably one of the most valuable storage services that are out there," he said.

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