Hitachi introduces new A-Series AFA storage family

In Hitachi A-Series storage, Hitachi A220, Hitachi A250, Hitachi A270 by AdministratorLeave a Comment

This week Hitachi Data Systems® (HDS®) announced a new Hitachi Flash Storage (HFS) product line using industry standard components, to complement their other storage systems, the VSP-F and –G series.  HFS storage is now GA. ,

New HFS A-Series storage hardware

There are three new all-flash storage systems the HFS A220, A250 and the A270 all based on SSD storage and Intel controllers, in a dense, power efficient configuration. The new systems have a new software OS, specifically designed to support high performing, all flash storage.

The A220, A250 and A270 storage system consists of dual ALUA based, active-active controllers in a 2U enclosure, with 10, 30 or 60, 1.6TB MLC SSDs for 16TB, 48TB and 96TB raw capacity, or in RAID 5 configurations with data reduction on, 64TB, 192TB and 384TB effective, respectively. HFS SSDs are side mounted (30 to a side) in the rack enclosure and can be hot replaced. Maximum power consumption is rated at 570W, 750W and 880W for the three systems. All A-series systems support 16 8Gbps FC ports or 8 10Gbps iSCSI or 8-40Gbps iSCSI host ports.

Both the A220 and A250 have 128GB of cache and the A270 sports 256GB of cache. Upgrading from the A220 to A250 adds 20 SSDs, from A220 to A270 adds 50 SSDs, and  from A250 to A270 adds 30 SSDs. Any upgrades to the A270 also add more cache.  There are only the three product SKUs and the three upgrade SKUs in the HFS product line.

Surprisingly, the new HFS systems are designed for scale-out. Although, details are sketchy at this time, it’s possible we could see a 4-controller HFS system or even higher number of controllers in a scale-out version of HFS in the near future.

The only performance numbers released at this stage is for 100% random 4KB reads and for that workload the A270 sustains 1M IOPS, the A250 hits 900K IOPs and the A220 hits 700K IOPS, all in a 2U package. This compares very favorably with their competition like ~4.0 X EMC’s XtremIO (single Xbrick, 6U) and  ~1.3X Pure systems (11U).  However, I must say that in the HFS case, this is with data reduction technologies turned off, this is not the case for the competition which cannot disable data reduction in their systems.

Management support for the new A-Series is supplied by a new GUI administration service. HFS also offers RAID 5, 6 and 10.  Moreover, with A-Series storage, customers can enable/disable software data deduplication and/or data compression at the RAID group level, to reduce storage requirements. A-Series also supplies synchronous and asynchronous replication to other A-Series storage, with future offerings providing support for replication to other Hitachi storage. Moreover, HFS offers thin provisioning, snapshots and QoS settings at a volume level for max IOPs or throughput (MB/sec).

Hitachi expects Windows and VMware VAAI certification within the Q1CY16. Roadmap items for a future release Q2CY16  include: a new REST API; KMIP keyed data encryption; 16 Gbps FC; support for OpenStack Cinder; VMware VASA plugin; and a new Native CLI. Following that, functionality scheduled for future quarters this year include: a number of replication offerings, UCP for Oracle, new 56Gbps InfiniBand, integration with other Hitachi management software and storage solutions and larger SSDs. This appears pretty aggressive from my standpoint, but doable with proper resources.


Most of Hitachi’s enterprise storage competition have acquired companies over the last five years or so to supply dedicated all flash storage. Hitachi is one of the few, that have not and in contrast, have developed and deployed their own storage systems in this space.

Last fall, Hitachi introduced their VSP-F series all flash storage, which had unified block-file, full SVOS level functionality, 100% data availability and utilized compressed FMD targeted at Hitachi’s current install base. The new HFS systems are intended to be more of a channel driven sales, to new customers/accounts, and is meant to compete directly with other vendor/startup AFA storage  in the market today with extensive data reduction to reduce the price/increase the density of flash storage. A couple of startups/IPOs and relatively new acquisition have had relative success in this new market space.

The fact that Hitachi has added a whole new product line seems like more work, just when they ended the HUS storage line with VSP-G & -F systems. But I guess they felt there was a need to aggressively compete with the new data reduced, AFA solutions.

I would say, with recent acquisitions, new product introductions, and new storage technologies coming online, the all flash storage market is heating up.

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Silverton Consulting, Inc. is a Storage, Strategy & System consulting services company, based in the USA offering products and services to the data storage community.

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