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HDS to streamline virtualized datacenter management

update To differentiate itself from its rivals, the storage vendor adds "orchestration management" portal to its unified compute platform that allows customers to customize its compliance requirements remotely, exec reveals.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

update SINGAPORE--Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is betting on its "orchestration management" portal to distinguish itself from its competitors and win over enterprise customers looking to bring virtualized resources together and manage their IT infrastructure more efficiently.

According to Sunil Chavan, director of the software group and cloud at HDS Asia-Pacific, the portal is a unique part of the company's unified compute platform (UCP).

Speaking at a media roundtable here Wednesday, Chavan added that the UCP will consist of blade servers, storage and network hardware, and software to manage these equipments. Additionally, HDS also announced an agreement with Microsoft to bundle its products such as Windows Server 2008 R2, System Center and SQL Server 2008 as well as its Hyper-V virtualization technology, he said.

While rivals EMC, Cisco Systems and VMware have banded to deliver a similar product--V-Block, available in the market since last November--Chavan said their offering does not have a management portal to remotely manage all existing virtualized data centers via a centralized platform.

An earlier ZDNet Asia report stated that the tripartite partnership sells a cloud-ready product that combines EMC's storage equipment, Cisco's virtualized servers and networking equipment and VMware's virtualization technology.

Chavan said the HDS orchestration management portal will be able to support all standard compliance rules for companies that have offices around the world. If necessary, a company can also customize compliance rules that are country- or region-specific in conjunction with the organization-wide policies it has enacted, he added.

However, Lim Fang How, director of virtual computing environment at EMC Southeast Asia, told ZDNet Asia in a separate interview that many of the enterprises the company spoke with have requested that the provisioning of security and compliance be kept separate from the V-Block suite of products. This is because these enterprise customers usually have their own security and compliance policies in place and would like to retain their current business processes, Lim explained.

That said, EMC, through its security arm RSA, will provide customers with its Archer Technologies-based suite of governance, risk and compliance software upon request, he said.

Platform rollout in phases
Chavan pointed out that in phase one of UCP's roll out, the company will be offering the product coupled with Hyper-V technology. Phase two, which is expected to be deployed soon after the initial launch, will include VMware and Citrix hypervisors from which users can choose, he added.

He stressed that both the hardware and software that constitute the UCP are "recommended" products, and companies need not use every component available. If there are existing infrastructure and applications that are integral to the company's operations, HDS will integrate these into the UCP, he said.

He added that the product will be ready to ship only in January 2011, noting that HDS is ready with components such as storage and the accompanying software, but its partners such as Microsoft and VMware are not.

Among the customers that have shown interest in HDS' cloud offering are telcos and small and midsize businesses such as mid-range hotels and small job recruitment firms, Chavan said.

However, he said HDS is still in discussions with many of these companies to help them understand the business strategy behind cloud computing and the returns they would get if they do adopt the delivery model.

"Cloud requires commitment. It's no good if we sell cloud products to clients and leave it as that," said Chavan. "We want to commit at least three to five years to walk our customers through their cloud deployment and make sure it's successful."

He added that one cloud deployment failure will overshadow the success of 10 deployments. With this in mind, it is important that a positive perception of cloud be maintained, otherwise the cloud business model will ultimately fail, he urged.

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