HDS announced a new product family of mid-range Hitachi® VSP storage systems at their recent HDS Connect2015 conference.
New Hitachi mid-range VSP storage systems
The new mid-range VSP models are built on Intel X86 platforms without any ASICs in the storage controller and other proprietary hardware that has provided the G1000 a sustainable performance edge over other storage systems. The intent is to provide the same VSP functionality across a family of storage systems based on both off the shelf Intel hardware as well as Hitachi proprietary hardware.
The new systems include a Hitachi VSP G200, G400 and G600 storage systems, shipping now and a G800 system, available later this year. Ultimately, the new VSP storage systems should readily replace the current Hitachi Unified Storage, mid-range product line. The HUS VM may take longer to replace due to its proprietary hardware functionality IO performance.
New mid-range VSP software functionality
When the new VSP G1000 came out Hitachi had updated their storage OS, the Storage Virtualization OS (SVOS). All SVOS functionality will be available across the new systems.
For example, all the VSP storage systems support storage virtualization, dynamic tiering (auto-tiering), dynamic provisioning (thin-provisioning), remote replication and other high end, enterprise class functionality. The only SVOS functionalities that are currently missing is 1) global-active device feature, which provides bi-directional, synchronous replication between two systems, both of which have read-write access to the same LUN data; and 2) active flash tiering (this functionality will show up in an SVOS update planned for August). The new mid-range VSP systems also don’t support IBM mainframe/FICON attach, which is offered only on the G1000.
HDS also announced new Hitachi Infrastructure Director software, which is a simplified, lightweight management application that is GUI and API based. The software guides users through configuration and provisioning by recommending settings based on best practices that can be readily accepted with a few clicks or modified if needed. The new simpler solution should appeal to mid-range customers and with its enhanced API support, should also provide more automation possibilities.
New VSP models hardware specifications
The new storage systems use Hitachi purpose-built controller hardware, based on Intel X86 componentry but with no proprietary Hitachi ASICs. Where necessary, SVOS was modified to emulate some G1000 ASIC/hardware functionality not available from Intel.
Storage system specifications:
- Hitachi G200 is a 3U, dual controller system, with up to 64GB of DRAM cache, 16-8GFC or 8-16GFC ports and 8-10GbE iSCSI ports and supports a maximum of 264 disk, SSD or Flash Module drives with a max raw internal capacity of 1.5PB. HDS has tested 250,000 random IOPS and 7GB/s thoughput.
- Hitachi G400 is a 5U, dual controller system with up to 128GB of DRAM cache 32-8GFC or 16-16GFC ports and 16-10GbE iSCSI ports and supports a maximum of 480 disk, SSD or Flash Module drives, with a max raw internal capacity of ~3PB. HDS has tested 580,000 IOPS and 11GB/s throughput.
- Hitachi G600 is a 5U, dual controller system with up to 256GB of DRAM cache 32-8GFC or 16-16GFC ports and 16-10GbE iSCSI ports and supports a maximum of 720 disk, SSD or Flash Module drives, with a max raw internal capacity of ~4PB. HDS has tested 770,000 IOPS and 11GB/s throughput.
- Hitachi G800 (available later this year) is a 5U, dual controller system with up to 512GB of DRAM cache, 48-8GFC or 24-16GFC ports and 24-10GbE iSCSI and supports a maximum of 1440 disk, SSD or Flash Module drives, with a max raw internal capacity of ~8PB. HDS is estimating 1.4M IOPS and 24GB/s throughput.
All these systems support external drive expansion shelves, which allow them to support more capacity than available internally. Hitachi NAS (HNAS) has not been changed, so the new VSP models’ file and object storage options utilize current HNAS solutions available across the entire VSP product line.
The mid-range storage market has been heating up lately what with IBM’s V5000 series coming on strong and EMC and NetApp product line refreshes. Now Hitachi is coming to market with enterprise class functionality in a low-end to high level, mid-range storage line. It should be an interesting summer.
One concern with high-end Hitachi storage has always been their reliance on proprietary hardware. This has led to extremely well performing storage but long lead times between hardware refreshes. Although HDS didn’t change proprietary hardware at the top end (G1000), the new systems do show a way forward for SVOS not dependent on special purpose hardware. Unclear whether Hitachi will take the next step to convert their top end storage to eliminate proprietary hardware.
In the mean time, another vendor recently demoed a brand new flash storage solution, completely based on proprietary hardware that achieves extreme levels of IO performance. It seems there’s still a place for proprietary hardware, where performance really matters.
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Silverton Consulting, Inc., is a U.S.-based Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting firm offering products and services to the data storage community.