Hitachi Data Systems gets into rentable clouds

The storage company has outlined its strategy for renting more of its kit to customers while also managing it as part of a private cloud strategy
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

Hitachi Data Systems has announced a cloud strategy based around renting software and hardware to customers wanting to build private clouds.

The three-tiered pay-per-use scheme, announced by Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) on Tuesday, sees the company bring together three flavours of cloudy software under one grand scheme for customers with HDS hardware who want to create their own private clouds. The move adds a systems integrator element to HDS's hardware vendor strategy, bringing it closer to companies like IBM and HP. 

"Ultimately what customers want is to be able to pay for all of their technology, whether it's hardware or software or mixed, and leave the vendor or the services provider with all the technology challenges around delivering that," HDS's European chief technology officer, Bob Plumridge, told ZDNet UK. "What we're trying to do with this three-tiered thing is helping [customers] move to a public or private deployment."

To upgrade to a Hitachi-powered cloud, customers must use an HDS virtual storage platform (VSP) or adaptable modular storage (AMS) as their primary storage hardware, although Hitachi is agnostic when it comes to servers and NASes, Plumridge said.


The three components of the cloud strategy are the Infrastructure Cloud, Content Cloud and Information Cloud. Each 'cloud' denotes a range of software products that deal with specific data management problems: the Infrastructure Cloud aims to converge servers, storage and networking via software such as the Hitachi Cloud Service for Private File Tiering; the Content Cloud integrates NAS technology from BlueArc to make it easier to analyse virtualised data; and the Information Cloud will combine ParaScale data analytics software and BlueArc NAS technology with the VSP to improve data analytics capability.

Initially the strategy will consist of a set of pay-per-use software components specialising in file tiering, private file tiering and Microsoft SharePoint Archiving under the Hitachi Cloud Services product name. The services are available in three capacities — 50TB, 200TB and 500TB — and prices vary from $0.20 (£0.12) to $0.40 per gigabyte used. The software can be accessed from a web-based cloud management portal. 

HDS's grand plan is that more and more companies will choose to rent, not buy, hardware from it, and rent managed software services as well. "We're not trying to force them into full-blown public or private cloud deployments," said HDS's Plumridge.

Plumridge sees Hitachi's main competitor as HP, which also provides the option of renting software and hardware on its CloudSystem appliance.

However, Plumridge believes that Hitachi's position is strengthened by the recent uncertainty surrounding HP: the company's "confused hardware strategy" and "internal problems at a fairly senior level" have "made them look a bit directionless", he said.

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