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Hitachi Data Systems To Launch Unified Compute Platform

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) today announced its plans to offer a unified compute platform made up of HDS servers and storage, as well as HDS-developed orchestration software to simplify the provisioning of resources for business units. HDS joins Cisco Systems, IBM, Dell and HP in offering prepackaged bundles of server, storage and networking elements. Unified computing aims to consolidate the hardware components in a data center to reduce operational costs and speed deployment of services. HDS's UC platform won't be available until 2011.

Hitachi will deliver a package of hardware and software in its UC platform, which the company has dubbed a Scale Unit. Each Scale Unit will include the Hitachi Universal Storage platform and Hitachi blade servers, as well as third-party Fibre Channel and Ethernet components for storage and network switching. IBM, HP and Dell also rely on partners for components of their UC packages. HDS declined to announce its switching partners. It also declined to offer any of the hardware or network specifications that will be available in its first Scale Unit systems. For a detailed look at the UC market, see Network Computing's November 2009 digital issue.

Key to HDS's play in the UC market is its orchestration software layer. Developed by HDS, the orchestration layer lets IT create a resource portal in which business units can configure resources for new applications using pre-defined templates. Those resources include compute, storage and network specifications, as well as internal SLAs and business continuity/disaster recovery requirements. "Business units can come in and provision what they need and build it," says Miki Sandorfi, chief strategist, File & Content Services at HDS. "They press a button and IT provisions it, or the business user can provision all that material themselves, using role-based access." Sandorfi says that if the application is short-lived, such as for a one-time project, the business unit can then release that capacity back to the Scale Unit.

The company is also announcing an OEM agreement in which Microsoft software will be bundled with Scale Units. The first units will support Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor running Windows Server 2008 R2. In addition, Microsoft's System Center Operations Manager and System Center Virtual Machine Manager software will come integrated with the UC system to provide additional management functionality not available in HDS's orchestration layer. The company says it is also building support for VMware and will expand its hypervisor support after the first Scale Units are generally available.

The company says organizations will be able to link multiple Scale Units together in a single data center to meet capacity demands. Scale Units located in different data centers can also be connected together to meet BC/DR requirements. For more coverage of the announcement, click here. Cisco also recently enhanced is UC offerings, including new servers and new interconnect technologies.