HDS out to spiff up its image

HDS out to spiff up its image

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is out to spruce up its image with a bells-and-whistles launch of its latest networked storage offering, in an attempt to gain some serious ground on rival vendors EMC, IBM and Compaq.

According to its director of product marketing Don McNicoll, HDS has to shift the market's mindset that there is an alternative in the storage area network (SAN) space to the mainstay vendors.

"We're finally understanding HDS is a poorly marketed organisation," said McNicoll, who is out from Silicon Valley to evangelise HDS' 9900 Series Lightning SAN. "People are realising we are an alternative option to the other storage vendors, and it's my job to get this message across."

HDS had a soft release of the 9900 Series Lightning in July with a limited release and only one documented implementation by Queensland bank Suncorp Metway. But after waiting out the GST transition and the Olympics, Hitachi wanted a "big bang" launch in the Australian market.

"We really see this as an EMC killer," says Gary Scarborough, HDS marketing director, Asia Pacific. Scarborough is out for blood with the new 9900 Series SAN and is looking to reel in IBM and EMC by up to 10 per cent in Australia alone.

The basic configuration of the 9900 Series is expected to be around 300-500GB, claims McNicoll, with a theoretical raw capacity of 37TB.

McNicoll, with 25 years in the storage game, believes the B2B market is going to drive storage product development in the next 12 to 18 months to the point where applications will be automated to procure goods between certain price brackets. The implications for the storage market are that the rate of information requests on a network's storage subsystem will be enormous.

McNicoll claims that w hile the performance of the 9900 is admittedly pretty much the same for a single system request on HDS's 7700 product, it is the number of requests the 9900 system can process per second which makes it a higher-end product.

"It performs [in requests per second] about 200-400 per cent better than the 7700," said McNicoll.

In the US, McNicoll believes the company is selling more 9900 units than it can make. Yet in Australia, the company has about half a dozen orders or installations. The company will continue its national road show this week.

Hitachi rebranding

Meanwhile, HDS parent company Hitachi has raised the bar it set at the end of the last fiscal year, announcing a rebranding campaign dubbed "Inspire the Next". As part of the initiative, the electronics manufacturer is aiming to exceed initial revenue earnings for the current fiscal year ending March 2001.

In September, Hitachi revised its forecast for the first half of fiscal 2001, showing an increase in sales of up to $72 billion and an operating income of $2.6 billion - an increase of more than 50 per cent. In Australia, reports for the first six months have also been above expectations, with an increase of 180 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Hitachi attributes its strong results to its IT divisions and consumer electronics business, but cited the completion of a major power station contract in the last six months, by Hitachi's Power Business unit, as "contributing greatly".

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