HDS: Archaic storage needs a facelift

Technology goes as far back as 20 years; fundamental changes are needed to manage new storage demands, says CTO of Hitachi Data Systems.

ODAWARA, JAPAN--Storage architectures need an overhaul if they are to meet the increasing data growth businesses have to manage, according to a top executive at Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).

Having to support old architecture is proving to be "a major problem" for most storage vendors, Hu Yoshida, vice president and CTO at HDS, said Wednesday at a media event in Odawara, home to the Disk Array Systems and SAN Systems Solution divisions of Hitachi's Storage Solutions Group.

"We're at a point where a lot of the IT architecture have to change completely, otherwise we can't grow to that next level of [managing] exabytes, zettabytes, yottabytes [of data] that we're talking about," said Yoshida.

Taking a jibe at rival EMC, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based executive said EMC's DMX architecture was developed in 1987, and while improvements have been made the basic architecture has not changed.

Yoshida also suggested that because the company is lacking its own capabilities such as virtualization at the control unit, EMC has not been able to fully leverage its Symmetrix Remote Data Facility and TimeFinder replication software for DMX. Control unit-based virtualization is a key feature of Hitachi's services-oriented storage vision.

"[EMC is] in a bind. They have to completely [re-engineer] their cache as we did over the last, almost 15 years. They have to redesign it; we have done that already," he said.

Unstructured data growth
According to Yoshida, much of the data growth can be attributed to the exponential increase in unstructured data.

To manage the storage escalation, he added, enterprises need to:

  • consolidate to fewer locations or boxes;
  • increase utilization through thin provisioning;
  • eliminate repetitiveness using technologies such as compression and de-duplication; and
  • reduce working data sets, such that data over 60 days old is archived and do not have to be constantly backed up.

It will be a matter of time before the average enterprise reaches a new storage milestone. Yoshida noted that HDS expects to have a customer with an exabyte, or 1 billion gigabytes, of data within the next three to five years.

Today, storage requirements of high-volume users are close to 100 petabytes. One petabyte is roughly 1 million gigabytes.

Consumers are also entering a new era of storage, according to a separate study released Wednesday by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and KRC Research. The survey, which polled over 1,000 consumers in China aged between 18 and 64, found that the average person has 4,722 yuan (US$692) worth of digital content stored on electronic devices. In addition, nearly 50 percent of respondents wanted double, or more, storage capacity going forward.

The survey findings, said Hitachi, are proof that the "tera era" has dawned, where terabytes replace gigabytes as the standard for storage capacity.

Vivian Yeo of ZDNet Asia reported from Odawara, Japan.