Went to Tokyo at HDS’s expense this week and had a great time talking with Hitachi and HDS about their current and future product portfolio.
Arrived Monday evening and went out for an informal dinner. In the photo foreground one can see John Webster (Evaluator Group), Andrew Reichman (Forrester Research), Richard Jew (HDS), and the back of Sean Moser (HDS). In the background, Claus Egge, (Claus Egge), Laura DuBois and Nick Sundby (both from IDC). We had a great Japanese dinner, close to the hotel.
Monday started off with a ride on Japan’s Bullet Train, the Shinkansen. Some debate as to whether it went 300 or 500 Km/hour but it seemed fast enough and got us from our hotel near Tokyo’s Shinagawa station to Odawara in under an hour. The train was quiet, comfortable and quick.
In the picture at the station one can see Christophe Bertrand (HDS) and Tony Lock (Freeform Dynamics) as well as Laura and Nick (IDC) in the background. Another picture of the Shinkansen from the return trip.
Spent the day at Odawara Hitachi’s Customer Demo center listening to Hitachi RSD (hardware division) and HDS talk about the upcoming storage product plans.
Hitachi, the parent company of HDS, is into a lot of technology areas. We talked briefly about some of these which included hard disk drives, server technology, and telecommunications equipment. In addition to these info tech arenas, they provide MRIs, construction equipment, energy generation and other equipment. The bullet trains we were using to get back and forth to the hotel were also manufactured by Hitachi. It turns out information technology and hard disk drive technology represents just under 30% of Hitachi’s global revenue.
They had an interesting historical study of storage technology there. Took some photos. They also had on display just about every current Hitachi-HDS storage product currently sold as well as some of their prior storage systems.
They held discussions on upcoming products and other capabilities most of which was under NDA. I and the other analysts had a chance to critique some of their plans with more feedback to come.
The second day was also spent in Odowara but at another facility, with the software division (responsible for HiCommand and other Hitachi software) discussing the next generation of HiCommand and other software functionality. After lunch we got a chance to tour the factory premises.
Hitachi manufacturers all the PCBs (printed circuit boards) for all HDS storage products in Japan. I believe they said they were manufacturing 7500 PCBs a day across the PCB lines they operate here. We walked through one PCB line as well as the final assembly and test area for VSP and AMS products. I was pretty impressed with what I saw. We weren’t able to take many pictures here but I was allowed a few.
I have seen a lot of assembly areas and test areas and this seemed to be far and away more sophisticated than most. I have also seen my fair share of ESS (environmental stress screening chambers) but these looked more like waiting rooms than ESS chambers. Everyone looked busy but not to harried. I suppose had it been end of year rather than middle of quarter it might have looked different.
The last day was spent at Hitachi Central Research Lab (HCRL) in Tokyo. We had to take two Tokyo metro trains to get there. I thought we would have the metro train pushers to “compress” us into the train cars but apparently it just wasn’t that busy, so we were spared that “experience”.
Nonetheless, the ride on the metro lines was fun, loud and crowded. In the pictures on the platform one can See Michael Hay (Hitachi), Jason Knadler (HDS), Richard, Andrew, Tony and a few other analysts. In the car, one can readily see Andrew, Nick and Sean. Also the back of Micky Sandorfi’s (HDS) head. Had lot’s of “close bonding” on that trip.
Hitachi’s Central Research Lab (HCRL) was founded during WWII and has been doing fundamental and business sponsored research there ever since. It seems like just about everyone we met there had a PhD after their name. We were shown some of Hitachi’s advanced research in optical interconnects, next generation MRI, explosive’s detection, and other technologies.
One of the highlights of the day’s events though was the tour of the grounds. HCRL is in a campus-like setting with forested areas, hot springs and ponds to no doubt help the scientists invent the next big thing. We were allowed to take pictures
here and I have included a few of them. In the plum blossom picture, Mr. IRIE Naohika who led the tour can be easily seen as well as the back of Rajnish Arora (IDC). I think one can see the back of Claus’s and Nick’s heads here as well as Ms. NAKAMURA Yuko. In the other picture one can see Mr. MAEDA Yuki (HDS) who led most of the trip in Japan and was showing us the way to the lab, as well as bits of Sean, Micky, Rajnish and Tony.
All in all I had a great trip. We learned a lot about Hitachi-HDS technology and upcoming products. Got to see Tokyo and had a wonderful time. Overall I thought the meetings were productive for both analysts and Hitach-HDS.
The only negative I would have to say was the mad dash through the Shinagawa station with Sean and Yuki to get me to the “Narita Express” train on time, but other than that it was lot’s of fun.