Hitachi Data Systems announced at a press event on Tuesday the European launch of a storage device that allows companies to replicate data across different hardware.
The enterprise storage company, whose equipment is resold by HP and Sun Microsystems, says the TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform (USP) will also allow companies to manage all their storage systems through one interface.
Bob Plumridge, HDS' European software director, said that the ability to do data replication is a vital addition to USP.
"Before you could only replicate from a Hitachi box to another Hitachi box, or from IBM to IBM, or EMC to EMC," said Plumridge.
"This is fine if you are building a new infrastructure, but most customers, having grown by mergers and acquisitions, have ended up with storage systems from every vendor. With USP you replicate across two different boxes."
Plumridge said that replication across heterogeneous systems is particularly important so that companies can do disaster recovery across different sites, something which has risen in importance due to recent terrorist attacks, such as September 11th.
Another change in USP is what HDS terms virtualisation -- being able to manage subsystems under one interface.
"At the moment subsystems are managed as separate items. With USP you can manage all these subsystems behind one interface. This means you only have one set of management tools irrespective of who provided the hardware," said Plumridge.
Plumridge said that this makes it easier for customers to exploit their current storage assets.
Developing heterogeneous replication and virtualisation has been made possible by the SNIA storage standard.
"It is all contingent on SNIA," said Plumridge.
Plumridge said that it is not worried about compatibility issues as, since the introduction of SNIA, the vast majority of hardware manufacturers have been going over the hardware they have produced over the last three to five years and making it backward compatible.
HDS claims that USP will be bigger and faster than storage solutions that are currently available on the marketplace. HDS claims that USP 1100, the ultra high performance version of USP, is four times faster than EMC Symmetrix DMX300. Customers choosing to go with the model below this, USP 600, will find that performance is twice the speed of its current solution, Lightning 9980V, according to HDS.
Plumridge said that USP will be bigger and faster than their current offering but this will only address the needs of the 10 percent of its customers who are at the limit of the capability of Lightning 9980V. He believes the majority of the customers will be most interested in the replication and virtualisation capabilities.
A HDS spokesman claimed that the company believes that it is 18 to 24 months ahead of other enterprise storage companies. But Plumridge himself believes competitors will definitely release similar products as soon as they can.
"I would be amazed if our rivals are not working on similar software."