Archive for the ‘Storage’ Category

Storage Federation

July 27th, 2010 3 comments



EMC’s latest addition to the concept of storage federation is the VPLEX announcement that happened at EMC World 2010. VPLEX comes in two forms today, VPLEX Local and VPLEX Metro. Important features of VPLEX include cache coherency, distributed data and active-active clusters at metro distances. In the works are VPLEX Geo and VPLEX Global enabling inter-continental distances.

VPLEX contains no drives today, it is based on a version of Linux Open Source and runs on the same hardware as a VMAX engine. But said that, what prevents EMC from including VPLEX as part of every VMAX and Clariion sold today or may be just run it as a Virtual Appliance within the VMAX (Enginuity) or Clariion (Flare).

While HDS has a slightly different approach yielding almost the same result using Storage Virtualization, HDS approaches storage federation in its USPV platform. The USPV scales upto synchronous distances, I believe 100 kms max distance today.

USPV natively uses a combination of Universal Volume Manager (UVM), High Availability Manager (HAM), Dynamic Replicator, Hitachi TrueCopy Remote Replication and Hitachi Replication Manager to do synchronous distance (100 kms) replication with distributed data in an active-active clustered environment.

VPLEX local and VPLEX metro has been recent announcements, while the USPV has been offering similar features since the past few years now.



Service providers will be largest customers while the VPLEX is still being developed in the Geo and Global modes.

I would think, government customers like DISA, DoD and other cloud providers in the federal space may find VPLEX and USPV very interesting as well.

Migrations using both the VPLEX Local and USPV are a piece of cake, because of its underlying features.

And many more…



Will the future of all storage subsystems have federation in it as a core component? It is most likely with virtualization technologies being designed and pushed today, that we will natively see some of these features into backend storage that can typically hold data in containers and these containers move based on requirements. Look at a VM as a container of information or application.

With a Front-end storage controller, call it a VPLEX or a USPV which doesn’t care what sort of disks are sitting behind it, natively add all storage features to it like snaps, clones, RAID, replication, high availability, virtualization and it doesn’t matter if you use the cheapest storage disk behind it.

Typically with a single storage subsystem, you are looking at scaling your storage to 600 drives or 2400 drives or 4096 drives or 8192 drives or 16384 drives max or does it even matter at this point.

Storage federation will allow a system to scale upto 100’s of PB of storage, for example a EMC VPLEX scales upto 8192 Volumes today, while a USPV scales upto 247PB’s of storage, in essence that is 1 TB x 592,000 disk drives in a single system (federated).

When you connect two of these VPLEX’s or two of the USPV’s at synchronous distances, you now start taking advantage of active-active clusters (datacenters) with distributed data. (Again I will be the first to say, I am not sure how much of cache coherency is built within the USPV today).

But that brings us to some important questions…



Is storage federation that important?

Is storage federation the future of all storage?

Do you care about active-active datacenters?

What is the use-case for federation outside of service providers?

Will this technology shape the future of how we do computing today by leveraging and pooling storage assets together for a higher availability and efficiency?

How large, a single namespace would you like to have? I believe HP IBRIX brings a similar concept of scaling storage to 16PB’s total in a single name space..

Does federation add latency, which limits its usage to only certain applications?

Is VPLEX the future of all EMC storage controller technology, and will that eliminate the Flare or Enginuity code?

If you add a few disk drives to the VPLEX locally, can it serve high demand IOPS applications?

How large will cache get on these storage controllers to minimize the impact of latency and cache coherency on devices at synchronous distances? Is PAM or Flash Cache that answer?

At that point, does it matter if you can do coupling on your systems to extend it like we initially thought the VMAX would have 16 or 32 engines or may be you can couple Clariion SP’s or AMS or USPV’s?


More Questions

Will the future VPLEX look like a USPV with local disk drives attached?

Though the big vision of VPLEX is Global replication creating active – active datacenters, does the next generation VBlocks meant for Service Provider market include a VPLEX natively within it?

Is EMC Virtual Storage just catching upto HDS technology? Or is VPLEX vision a big and unique one that will change the direction of EMC Storage in the future…

Is Storage federation game changing and is EMC ahead of HDS or HDS ahead of EMC…


Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), the super secret technology company

July 26th, 2010 4 comments


When was the last time you got into a conversation with an HDS employee on Twitter or an HDS PR person engaged with you or you saw a blog post from anyone outside the HDS executive team or an HDS employee blogging outside the HDS domain name.

When was the last time you saw a HDS executive at a large storage / virtualization show or VMUG? Does HDS host any storage shows (technology forums). When was the last time you engaged in a conversation with an HDS employee about HDS vs competition products.


Hitachi uValue Convention 2010, Celebrating 100th year Anniversary of Hitachi



HDS marketing approach has been super secret so far. HDS is quite a bit influenced by its parent company Hitachi Ltd, Japan, where typically marketing seems to be quite conservative. Hitachi Ltd is a 100 Billion dollar company, doing business in most of the world. The Japanese are very modest and focus on engineering and not on product marketing.

Hitachi hardly talks about its own success, when asked a Hitachi executive on how HDS influences IT within Hitachi and how it helps drive more efficiency into Hitachi, the executive was very modest about it.



But said that, things are now changing. From what we saw and learnt about HDS a month ago at the HDS Geek Day 0.9 in Santa Clara and this week at Hitachi in Japan at the research labs and the uValue convention, now its pretty apparent that HDS is changing how it does marketing and focuses on product and datacenter strategy.

There is a list put together by HDSCorp on twitter with all twitter users from HDS

A few HDS executives also blog at the HDS Blogs site



We saw some really new focus areas in terms of marketing within HDS. This is the changing side of the company.

A few things HDS should do, allow blogging outside the HDS domain, follow and create some unique marketing efforts to drive the messaging internally within HDS, internally to Hitachi and externally to customers and social media folks. Get more HDS folks on Twitter and other social media channels.

One thing we know, the new executive team within HDS is very aggressive and wants to make a difference. This was very visible at the HDS Geek Day 0.9 and this week in Japan where HDS is really pushing Hitachi engineering with new product innovation and product strategy.

Hitachi has a ton of datacenter products, as Nigel Poulton points out in one of his Blog post about Hitachi Networking, some of these products are so successful in the Japanese market, but never even make it to the rest of the world.

The big vision story is missing. Its not about one datacenter product like storage, its about how every component in the puzzle can help customers drive more efficiency within datacenters.

Its wait and watch, but what we saw over the past month, I can say, HDS is rolling their sleeves ….. and getting ready…..


Disclaimer: The 4 day trip to Hitachi Japan to attend the uValue Convention was sponsored by HDS. They paid for all Travel, Boarding and lodging expenses for these days. The attendees / bloggers are not required to Blog about this event. This is my attempt to share what we learned there.

Hitachi uValue Convention

July 19th, 2010 No comments

I have been able to travel to many parts of the world over the past few years either through work or personally, but this will be my first trip to Japan. I am very excited to go to Japan, but more excitement is the reason to go there.

We will be attending the uValue Convention, Celebrating 100th Year Anniversary of Hitachi (parent company of HDS – Hitachi Data Systems). Hitachi’s Global network contains more than 1000 different companies, 400K employees, 100 Billion dollars plus in revenues.

A company that is diversified into making many infrastructure products including train, televisions, heavy equipment, etc. As we landed on the Tokyo airport, the Hitachi brand started to become so much more visible from seeing elevators to escalators to conveyor belts and so forth. They also make storage.

About 4 weeks ago we were invited to attend the HDS bloggers day in Santa Clara, CA. It was an awesome event and gave us a peek into Hitachi Storage products. Tried some live blogging there from those sessions and enjoyed it. You can find more about the trip to HDS Geek Day, here.

This week is not about HDS but about Hitachi. The storage products they make and the thinking, strategy, direction and players behind it.

This is a bloggers and analyst event, though the bloggers and analyst are not preview to the same data and will be attending different sessions and technology briefings.


As for the high level agenda, here are a few things we are planning to do.


Trip to Odawara to meet Hitachi and Hitachi Data Systems executives and take a deepdive into Hitachi Storage Products. There seems to be a day full of technology chat about various Hitachi storage products.


Meeting with HDS executives and discussions on various Hitachi Storage platforms.

Attend uValue Convention celebrating the 100th year anniversary of Hitachi Ltd Japan.


Some sightseeing and then fly back home



The following are the attendees (bloggers) to the event; non of these guys need any introductions, you all know them. I am really glad to be part of this team.


Will try to stay connected on Twitter (hashtag #uValue) and update the Blog as frequently as I get a chance to do so. There will be some embargo and NDA information that will not make it to the blog and twitter.

Many critics that talk about the fact that HDS is purely a marketing arm of Hitachi Japan with no leverage on Hitachi Storage products. Hope to see all this is false and HDS has much deeper roots into Hitachi Japan in terms of product direction and strategy.


Stay tuned, more updates coming soon..!!!

Should I already be learning some Japanese, Konnichi wa (Hello!!)


Disclaimer: The 4 day trip to Hitachi Japan to attend the uValue Convention is sponsored by HDS. They paid for all Travel, Boarding and lodging expenses for these days. The attendees / bloggers are not required to Blog about this event. This is my attempt to share what we learned there.

HDS (Hitachi Data Systems) Bloggers Day: Session 4 (Live Blogging)

June 16th, 2010 No comments

This is an attempt to live blog at the Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Bloggers Day: Session 4

Day 2:

Pete Gerr, Director, Strategic and Solutions Marketing

8:30: Kickoff…

8:31: HDS going through parking lot questions…some will be answered today, some later on one on one discussions.

Michael Hay, Senior Director, Product Strategy

8:40: John Deere is owned by Hitachi..

8:40 tons of tweets out there…..Nigel wins the award for the MVP and Devang wins the best dressed…..

8:41: Hitachi Research can be found at

8:42: Even though HDS is moving into this arena, we are using HDS proxy servers to connect to the internet from here, the HDS Geek website is blocked internally. Here is the site that HDS might want to consider to open

8:45: High level Hitachi (not HDS) Vision, Strategy.

8:45: another visual search engine

8:50: RAID discussion kicked off by Nigel Poulton and its getting quite interesting…

Claus Mikkelsen, Chief Strategist

Mark Adams, Senior Product Marketing Manager

9:12: Storage Tiering discussion

9:15: AMS discussion

9:16: HDS midtier storage (AMS) has explosive growth over the last 2 years….

9:20 AMS was released in 2008 and has been doing great…

9:30 ……

9:55: LUN Ownership and Failover question from yesterday

9:56: THere is LUN ownership on either Controller 0 and controller 1. Active – Active cluster, I/O and architectural diagram.

10:00 Break……but a big discussion on the AMS architecture (current) and potentials in the future….

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10:20: Embargo session

11:00 Round table discussion….for another hour.

Disclaimer: Though we are not required, it is up to the attendees to blog and tweet about this event if they wish to. Our travel, boarding and lodging expenses for two days will be paid by Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).