HDS wants to be regarded a serious cloud player

Still widely regarded a storage vendor, Hitachi Data Systems is now eager to transform itself as a cloud technology provider and ink deals with telcos in the region to white-label its products.

Still commonly regarded as a storage vendor, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is now looking to transform itself as a cloud technology provider, offering its products to help other market players enhance their cloud offerings.

But is its cloud gameplay a little late, considering most market players would already have cloud offerings to boot?

Ravi Rajendran, HDS' vice president and general manager for Asean, doesn't think so, particularly since adoption and penetration levels among Asian markets are still low.

"We're not going out there to become a cloud service provider. We're going out to work with partners that have already established themselves as cloud players, and we want to offer cloud solutions that companies don't have yet," he said, pointing to VDI-as-a-service as an example.

Rajendran acknowledged that most in the industry still viewed HDS as a storage player, not a cloud technology provider.

"We need to work hard to change this and a concerted effort to transform the company began last year," he said, adding that there had been a shift in focus to better leverage and synergize with HDS' parent company, Hitachi.

This is a stark contrast to how both entities had previously operated independently.

HDS was set up in 1989 to expand the company's technology globally, outside its domestic Japanese market. Over the years, the subsidiary built its own research and development around software and automation, focusing on enterprise tools instead of just storage.

Since last year, though, the company has embarked on a corporate-wide transformation to leverage more on its parent Hitachi, which customers regard highly in terms of availability, and embrace a cloud strategy, said Rajendran.

HDS' product and technology portfolio currently is built around five primary focus areas: infrastructure; converged solutions; mobility and content; big data and analytics; and cloud including private, public, and hybrid. Extended from its core storage technology, HDS' offerings are integrated to work with various key software vendors including VMWare , Oracle , Microsoft , and Citrix .

Its public cloud offerings comprise data archiving, storage, and e-mail, among others, and it is aiming to ink partnership deals with telcos and other service providers that white-label and resell the HDS Cloud Connect offerings to their own customers.

Since the decision to transform the company, HDS has established cloud partnerships in some Asia-Pacific markets including ACW Services in Hong Kong, iValue and Redington in India, and Avnet in Australia. According to Rajendran, the vendor is expected to unveil new local partnerships in Singapore and Indonesia in the next six months.

Asked to provide some customer names, he said details for these will be shared when they are made available. He added that HDS' cloud services team in Asia-Pacific comprises service development, operation, customer support, and technical consulting, as well as skills certified in ITIL v3 and network management, among others.

He declined to reveal the size of the team in the region, citing company policy.

HDS traditionally enjoys strong presence in the government, telco, banking, and healthcare sectors, or any segment in which information matters to the company, Rajendran said. Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Computational Research Centre (A*Star) in Singapore, for instance, has been a HDS customer, tapping the vendor's infrastructure and information-peering offerings. The government research agency recently rolled out a pay-per-use storage model based on HDS technology, slashing its cost by more than 20 percent and enabling A*Star to better control and monitor its storage utilization requirements, he said.