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New Hitachi Archive Blends Private Cloud With Managed Operations

Hitachi Data Systems Corp. is announcing Hitachi Cloud Services, a suite of storage services for enterprise customers. The first out of the gate is Hitachi Cloud Service for Private File Tiering, a storage-as-a-service (Saas) offering that tiers archived data onto equipment and software that is owned, run and maintained by Hitachi, but which resides on the enterprise's premises. This lets organizations keep their archived data behind their own firewall without having to make capital expenditure investments in new equipment and personnel. It allows them to focus management and backup resources on data that is used more frequently or is more valuable.

The announcement is an extension of HDS's cloud strategy that it announced last October, says Linda Xu, director for product marketing for file, content and cloud. At that time, the company announced its Hitachi Content Platform, which is also a part of the tiering announcement. She says up to 80 percent of user data is inactive, but continues to be backed up, which takes up space as well as time. Hitachi works with enterprises to help define policy for archiving the data and then follows the policy to automatically move the old data into a private cloud that is managed remotely by the Hitachi network operations center, leaving a stub behind if users need to access a file.

"The data protection/optimization service use cases should have a broad appeal for enterprise workloads and for those servicing the SMB and consumer markets with a more end-to-end solution," says Michael Versace, a principal research contributor for The Wikibon Project. Its remote management seems to have a large number of features, such as predefined thresholds, utilization billing, and analytics and pricing for the service isn't complex, he adds. "This announcement is a good example of HDS adjusting to user requirements for consumption-based pricing and cloud economics, while fully addressing user security and availability concerns," says Terri McClure, a senior analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group.

Hitachi does not back up the data, according to the theory that archived data has already been backed up by the user multiple times by the time it is archived, so additional backups aren't needed, according to a company representative. The storage will be available in one of three packages -- 50 TB, 200 TB, or 500 TB - and is run on new Hitachi Modular Storage equipment that uses RAID 6. The company says the service will be available this year for an undisclosed price, but that users will pay only for the storage they use. At introduction, it will work only with storage from NetApp.

Hitachi also announced that it has been in a partnership since October with Digi-Data Corp. to provide a menu of end-to-end cloud storage services, including integration with billing, to telephone companies, service providers and systems integrators, who can then sell the services to their own users. Hitachi was not specific about costs.