Hitachi NEXT 2019: Faster, Bigger, Smarter, and Embracing the Cloud

GoogleNEXT2019Hitachi NEXT this year had a new feel about it. Sure, there was some great tech, which we will get to in a minute, but speaking with the attendees and the executives, there was an element of excitement in the air. Hitachi Vantara has already had great tech, but this year, with new innovations for the data center, the cloud, and data ops, there is much more to Hitachi Vantara than in years past.

First, let’s discuss the announcements:

  • The new VSP 5000: Arguably the biggest story of the week, Hitachi Vantara announced the new VSP 5000. At first glance, it is a behemoth, with 21 million IOPs and scalability up to 69 PB. Based on those numbers, my initial take was that the VSP 5000 was just the next gauntlet being thrown in the never-ending saga of high-end enterprise storage array performance. It is that, to a degree, but there is a lot more here.

First, the VSP 5000 has all the proactive, predictive intelligence to ensure that the system is always optimized, while delivering proactive/predictive support to improve reliability. Possibly more interesting, however, is that the VSP 5000 is a scale out, modular storage platform designed leveraging a superfast PCI-E based network to connect the nodes. This “system” can mix and match different technologies, such as HDD, SSD, and NVMe-based flash. It can start small, scale non-disruptively, and integrate new technologies, such as storage class memory (SCM), when those technologies become available.

So, this isn’t really an array at all, it’s an ever-evolving, ever persistent data storage platform. When I asked the product team why they didn’t just call this the last storage system anyone would have to buy, the answer was that maybe in 10 years or so there might be a faster interconnect than PCI-E to leverage so they might have to upgrade the fabric technology one day. This statement is a testament to the strength of the engineering culture in Hitachi Vantara, but also reinforces my point that the VSP 5000 is far more than just a high-end array. It’s a storage platform that looks to be designed to perform and endure for a decade or more.

  • Hybrid Cloud and Multi-cloud Services: In a welcome move, Hitachi Vantara is embracing the role of public cloud services, which has become a no-brainer for the IT vendor community. If you neglect the role of the public cloud today, you are, and should be, viewed as out of date with the needs of modern IT. With the resources and insights acquired with the REAN Cloud acquisition, Hitachi Vantara now has service offerings designed to help its customers integrate public cloud services efficiently, effectively, and securely.
  • Hitachi Flex Consumption: Hitachi Vantara is offering a new consumption-based payment model providing more choice in how IT organizations pay for IT resources. This has quickly become a table-stakes offering for IT vendors. Good to see Hitachi Vantara offering this as well.
  • Hitachi Ops Center: Hitachi Vantara is centralizing management with integrated automation and predictive insights. All these capabilities are crucial and absolutely on the right trajectory. The response I heard from customers was positive, with a recognition that Hitachi Vantara still has more to do here. Hitachi Ops Center is a step in the right direction.
  • Lumada Data Service: The Lumada portfolio integrates multiple technologies, including HCP object store, to offer solutions such as a smart data lake that can self-optimize and automatically place data in the right location. Along with edge intelligence designed to manage data and analytics at the edge, such as for IoT use cases. There is too much to unpack here in a short blog. But I love that Hitachi Vantara has not only recognized the link between data ops and the edge but has embraced it. We have every indication that the edge is going to be a vital part of the future of digital businesses, while likely presenting some of the most difficult challenges. The edge is the wild west of data, and Hitachi Vantara wisely understands that any realistic data strategy must be optimized for edge.    

At a strategic level, Hitachi Vantara is addressing the entire data landscape from the core, to the cloud, to the edge. All of these are moves in the right direction, but the question that Hitachi Vantara will have to answer is whether it can pull all these pieces together in a single unifying story for its customer. As much as I believe that the edge, and Lumada, can serve as a long-term strategic focus, the data center and the cloud are the here and now. Hitachi Vantara needs to do more to communicate its strength in these areas. Hitachi NEXT was a good start; Hitachi Vantara needs to continue the momentum.

Topics: Storage