Friday, 06 August 2010 17:31

HDS applies cloud utility model to in-house storage


One of the benefits of cloud computing is that it scales up and down according to need. Hitachi Data Systems says that can even work with private clouds.

According to Miki Sandorfi, chief cloud strategist at Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), an important attraction of cloud computing is the idea of delivering IT on a just-in-time, pay-per-use basis. This allows the alignment of IT resources with business needs.

As a storage company, HDS naturally sees enterprise data storage as a core aspect of virtualisation and of cloud more generally. But perhaps unlike some of its competitors, the company thinks storage should be deployed or a pay-per-use basis where appropriate.

"Cloud is a process of revolution," said Sandorfi, pointing out that HDS storage products intended to support a private cloud can work with existing equipment from HDS and other vendors, rather than requiring the rip-and-replace strategy that he said is favoured by other vendors.

The company has technical and financial strategies that allow customers to scale up and down as necessary. Its 'managed services utility' model means that assets are deployed at the time of need, and only charged according to what's actually used.

Rather than the customer going through a detailed resource planning and acquisition process, HDS takes on the job of providing the storage. If it makes sense for HDS to temporarily over-provision, the customer still only pays for what's actually used.

What happens in the event that storage requirements fall? And what about hybrid clouds? Please read on.

The company's products allow for the consolidation of data that's spread thinly over multiple storage devices, simplifying the task of removing physical assets if changing requirements lead to under-utilisation.

There's been a lot of talk recently about hybrid clouds, an arrangement that mixes internal and external resources (eg, with the latter used when demand exceeds the internal capacity). Sandorfi notes two main problems with such arrangements: such 'bursting' can present some organisations with problems from a regulatory perspective, and there may be issues surrounding accountability for meeting service level agreements.

HDS's approach gives the flexibility and pay-per-use advantages of a public cloud with the assurance that comes with in-house resources, Sandorfi suggested. It can also be used in situations where bursting really does make sense.

Furthermore, the company's technology keeps multiple copies of all the data with integrity checking, so no further backup may be necessary for second and third-tier storage. Where necessary, there is provision for geographically-dispersed copies, still managed by HDS and charged according to use.

Sandorfi claims that HDS's managed services utility customers are seeing a 25-35% reduction in total cost of ownership.

In Australia, HDS is working with NSW-based ac3 and Telstra for the delivery of cloud services.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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