Hitachi overhauls virtualization portfolio

Hitachi overhauls virtualization portfolio

Slew of enhancements aimed at boosting hardware performance, maximizing installed storage capacity and reducing energy consumption

Hitachi Data Systems gave its storage virtualisation software a whole new look with Monday's introduction of a slew of enhancements designed to boost hardware performance, maximize installed storage capacity and help reduce storage consumption by shaving power, cooling and energy costs.

The company described the new Hitachi Universal Storage Platform (USP) V, which takes advantage of a new 4 Gbit/sec Fibre Channel switch backplane architecture, as the centerpiece of its storage virtualisation overhaul.

The USP offering includes a new virtualisation services layer, which directly integrates thin provisioning onto the platform, Hitachi said. USP V, which supports up to 247 petabytes of virtualised storage capacity, is aimed at the high-end enterprise storage market, the company said. Earlier versions of the product were called TagmaStore USP.

USP V includes Hitachi's Dynamic Provisioning software, which the company said enables users to allocate virtual disk storage based on anticipated needs without having to dedicate or put aside physical disk storage upfront. This software should help end users avoid having to turn to third-party vendors to fulfill thin-provisioning needs, vice-president and chief technology officer at Hitachi Data Systems, Hu Yoshida, said.

The Dynamic Provisioning software will also improve storage utilization to retrieve allocated but unused storage capacity being misappropriated on areas such as snapshots of full volume copies being replicated, Yoshida contended.

"We're seeing five to 10 to 20 copies of the same volume of capacities being replicated. In most cases, storage utilization [within large IT storage environments] is only about 20 per cent to 30 per cent," said Yoshida. "Buying more storage isn't the answer; it's only going to compound the problem. You have to be able to get control of this."

Hitachi also announced a beefed-up version of USP's Hitachi Universal Volume Manager software, which Yoshida said boosts performance by 670 per cent compared with its predecessor. The virtualisation tool provides the functionality of Hitachi's virtual storage controllers to any type of externally attached storage device.

USP V also allows end users to create "large logical storage pools," each of which is equipped with dozens or hundreds of disk drives operating on I/O simultaneously. The feature should allow I/O requests on taxed storage systems to be handled much more efficiently and quickly, Yoshida noted.

Microsoft Exchange environments in particular may greatly benefit from the performance enhancements of Hitachi's USP V technology, according to testing research conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group.

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