Posts Tagged ‘HDS’

HDS Bloggers Day – Day 1 – Session 03/23/2011

March 23rd, 2011 3 comments

After a great #Storagebeers last night, its now time to catchup on the technology side of things from HDS this morning.

* About 9 Bloggers are in the room with a ton of HDS executives here. Including Enrico, Chris E, Fabio, Greg K, Nigel P, myself, Stephen F, Ilja C, Jason B.

* Several HDS executives include Dir of Software Development, Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Scientist, VP of Corporate & Product Marketing, CTO, Dir Business Development.

* After great introductions both from the bloggers and the the HDS executives about their backgrounds and things that they would like to hear from HDS and HDS executives on what they will be covering over the next couple of days.

* Carli Mckinney kicked off the HDS Bloggers Day

* Asim Zaheer  – VP Corporate and Product Marketing

* Asim talking about HDS impact from the Japan earthquake. Everyone in Hitachi Storage Division is safe after the earthquake, which is great news. There might be some impact on Hitachi employees overall.

* Asim also guarantees there will not be a larger impact on HDS supply chain with the current earthquake in Japan.

* Q3 kick a** quarter, first 1B Dollar quarter

* 15% growth year over year

* File and Content grew more than 20%, Storage Brand Growth 20%

* Michael Vath – GM for EMEA has now taken the Global VP Innovation

* Neil S will be taking over the GM for HDS EMEA April 1, Asim points out to be pretty great changes in HDS.

* Tomorrow the focus will also including Convergence, Unified Platform, Hitachi Servers (Symphony i believe its called).

* Some great announcements coming on the IP acquired last year by HDS of Parascale for scale out NAS.

* HDS is much open now then it was 2 years ago. Financial Numbers, Bloggers, Analyst, Visiting Hitachi Japan, uValue Convention, Annual Bloggers Day

* Pete Gerr – Director Strategic and Solutions Marketing

* Pete comes from EMC, NetApp and now is at HDS with about 15 years of storage background

* Pete will be talking about some context related to HDS and some of the evolution that is going in at HDS and in the industry.

* Evolution of business (HDS) in wake of things changing in around the industry.

* Pretty good arguments on Pete’s part to bring more innovation and change cultures within HDS.

* Virtualization is still the game changer

* Pete talking about the widely talked about concept of technology diffusion: 2.5 % innovators, 13.5% early adapters, 34% early majority adapters, 34% late majority adapters, 16% laggards. Well i personally think where does Facebook and Twitter sit in this reference. Pete’s reference is more related to Virtualization.

* Michael Heffernan and Miki Sandorfi answers the positing between AMS and the VNX (unified platform) from myself, Nigel and Greg.

* 4 large customers move to HDS and Hitachi Technology. Teliti International, Atos Origin, US Based CRM and BSS software Co, US based Municipal Energy Co.

* Michael Heffernan – Solutions Product Manager, Server Virtualization

* A deepdive into VAAI and Virtualization

* VMware is to Virtualized Servers as Hitachi is to Virtualized Storage

* Mainframe on x86 technology – this is where the datacenters are going

* My Personal Note: Read in between lines of what Heffernan says…..

* VMware is not just Operating System, Hitachi VSP is not just another Storage Platform, VAAI changed how compute to storage is integrated

* VAAI is all about SCSI Commands

* VMware might have picked HDS for a reason for VAAI

* VMware, VAAI, x86, Datacenters all becoming Mainframe

* VMware evolved out of Mainframe

* Discussions on evolution of Hitachi Storage Platforms from 1995 to 2011

* Hitachi – VMware Integration Points, great slide. Please stay tuned for pictures of these slides soon later today.

* Slide here by Fabio

* vStorage API for SRM, vStorage API for Data Protection, vCenter Plugin Hitachi Storage Viewer, Hitachi Command Suite ESX enabled Performance Management, vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI), VMware Native Multipathing Plugin

* 15 min Break — Just caught up with David Merrill, The Chief Economist at HDS. Great chatting with him

* Hu Yoshida just made it to the event…delayed flights

* Block Zeroing, Full Copy, Hardware Assited Locking, Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning discussions

* 2 new SCSI commands coming VSphere 5 (futures): 1 for Provisioning and 1 for Warning / Information, though no more details given

* More deepdive discussions on Block Zeroing, Full Copy, Hardware Assisted Locking and

* VMware has opened floodgates, It all rolls downhill….

* Hitachi’s Secret Formula: AA Symmetric / Internal Switch Matrix + VAAI + Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning + Hitachi Dynamic Tiering. This is becoming a must for all Storage Implementation going forward.

* Storage Virtualization and how VSP or USPV is used for virtualization of non virtualized supported arrays like DMX3, DMX4, etc

* Some discussions on VMAX and VSP and some architecture differences.

* Question from myself to Michael and Hu: Do customers implement VMAX behind a VSP. The answer was they were not sure.

* With an array not support VAAI, you can virtualize it behind a VSP and natively use VAAI that is offered in the VSP.

* Lunch Break

* Was tied in a discussion and missed about 30 mins of Miki’s session, but here starts the discussion again.

* Miki Sandorfi, Chief Strategist, File, Content and Cloud

* Missed

* John, VAAI Demo

* Running through the VAAI Demo

* Clariion virtualized behind a VSP for the VAAI Demo. You do not need VAAI enabled array (virtualized array) for this. Only the front end array (VSP) needs to be VAAI enabled

* VAAI enabled VSP and no VAAI array, the workload numbers seems to be atleast 1/5 of the typical non VAAI array.

* VAAI can be turned on and off dynamically

* VAAI is enabled at the microcode level within both AMS and VSP

* VAAI enabled VSP and no VAAI array, with Block Zeroing

* Lynn Collier – Director Enterprise Solutions, EMEA

* A presentation of Cloud Integration with VSP

* Acceptability of Cloud and how easy is it to transition for existing customers and customers that are startups

* Common Platform and Management of all Data

* Common Virtualization Platform: Insfrastructure Cloud (Data, Storage, Network Virtualization), Content Cloud (Content Virtualization), Information Cloud (Data Virtualization)

* Dave Wilson – Senior DIrector, Business Development, HLS

* The least technical claim by Dave and has no slides, just white board

* Around 30 people in the Healthcare vertical with HDS

* 18 Years of Healthcare background and no Storage experience (Dave) Personal Note: but that is great if you ask me

* Various departments in a hospital – healthcare are silo’ed and do not necessary invest in IT and do not share information vs various groups – example Radiology, Pharmacy, Hospital Information System, Lab system (do not share info)

* Various different formats of data formats in Radiology, Lab, HIS, etc

* Hitachi comes in a virtualizes storage as first step and then implements HCR (Hitachi Clinical Respository) through metadata indexing and capturing

* And henceforth allows data sharing between groups or silo’ed information

* Personal Note: Quite a interesting presentation…Dave seems to be bringing it down to our level and explaining as we are not healthcare experts

* HCR does not use a Greenplum or Netazza like technology when asked by myself

* HCR is based on joint development with a partner of HDS

* HCR Demo by John Yarborough

* Imaging System data (lab results, xrays, etc) and metadata and editing it

* HCP Demo – Hitachi Content Platform, creating Tenants. Showing Super Admin view, Tenant views, defining metadata policies, search, security, Namespaces and Montoring

* Sean Moser, VP Software Products

* Brad Foster, Bob O’Heir, Craig Chan are the experienced Managers behind the scene

* DataCenter Product Stack: Virtualized Storage, File and Content, Fabric, Virtualized Compute, Virtual Machine, Application, HiALO / Services, Software (Device manager, Tuning manager, Tiered storage, Replication manager), Asset Management Suite, Business Intelligence, IaaS/Dynamic Infrastructure Orchestration (UCP)

* Hitachi ranked 5th among Storage Software vendors, 47% increase year on year

* Hardware / Software splits are 50% each

* Some of file and content platform growing at triple digit numbers at HDS

* Hitachi Command Director deepdive discussion and demo

* Hitachi Command Director is not available with HP version of Hitachi subsystems

* HCD Demo by John Yarborough

* Pretty dynamic interface

* Columns drag and drop options on views

* Management of storage

* Management of Netowrking

* Management of host (host data collector process) – automated or manual as required

* Allocation of volumes

* Dynamic Pools

* Dynamic Tiering

* ldevs, edevs

* Creating volumes

* Managing Replication

* Migrating Volumes

* Logical Groups

* File Servers

* Alerting

* Administration

* LUN MultiPathing

* Mainframe support

* Internet and External Storage

* Parity Groups

* Creating Pools

* Storage Economics Reporting

* Tuning Manager

* Orphaned LUN reporting

* Consumption Reporting

* Several key releases planned releases in 2011 for tuning manager

* Performance manager part of tuning manager, giving the entire environment server/networking/storage performance reporting

* Search for free space

* Create Alerts

* Create Templates for Alerts

* StorageView or HostView for Alerts

* Snapshot creation with Replication Manager

* Detailed performance response numbers

* IOPS details

* Capacity Reporting

* Storage Economics Reporting

* Drilldown into reporting

* Least used LUNs

* Personal Note: Hope there were more Heterogenous capabilities atleast with some widely seen storage subsystems

* Anything behind the VSP will be reported within the Hitachi Tuning Manager and Hitachi Command Director.

* HDS message, Virtualize your NetApp

* Wrap Up

* The @carlig wrapup

* 6:00 PM pickup at the building to go to Dinner…




VSP, Storage Virtualization and other discussions

October 1st, 2010 No comments


Here are a few interviews at the Hitachi Information Forum in Santa Clara, CA during the VSP announcement. During this visit we were given access to HDS Execs and also had a chance to talk to them on Camera and off Camera. Here are a few interviews we were able to capture.


Along with me, my co-host Rick Vanover in these videos

Devang Panchigar {@storagenerve} []

Rick Vanover {@rickvanover} []

Hu Yoshida [}

Roberto Basillo {@rb_hds}

Hitachi Information Forum – Blogger Roundtable from storagenerve on Vimeo.


We also had a chance to talk to Claus Mikkelsen during this event

Along with me, my co-hosts Rick Vanover and Chris Evans in these videos

Devang Panchigar {@storagenerve} []

Rick Vanover {@rickvanover} []

Chris Evans {@chrismevans} []

Claus Mikkelsen {@yoClaus} []

Roundtable discussion on HDS VSP announcement from storagenerve on Vimeo.


During the trip we also had a chance to connect with Dave Vellante from WIkibon on the CUBE and some interesting discussions on the VSP announcement, our trip to Japan and some of the marketing message around the VSP.

You can catchup other CUBE TV videos here

The host

Dave Vellante {@dvellante} []


Devang Panchigar  {@storagenerve} []

Rick Vanover {@rickvanover} []

Watch live video from #theCube from on


It was obviously a fun trip and also good to connect to some industry known faces.

VAAI and Automated Storage Tiering with Storage Virtualization

September 30th, 2010 No comments


Storage Virtualization

Storage Virtualization is sort of a game changer. The more I think about Storage Virtualization and the advantages it brings in storage environments with adding flexibility with migrations, efficiency, automation, management and importantly adds features that your existing storage arrays that might natively not be supported.

Storage Virtualization will take any storage device that is physically connected to it and remap the physical disks to xLUNs. These xLUNs can now take advantage of all the native features of the Storage Virtualization Array (Engine). Features could include creating Storage Groups, Various Raid Types, Site-to-Site Replication, Pooling of disks, Thin Provisioning, Synchronous Copy, Asynchronous Copy, Local Copy, Stripping, Snapshots, VAAI and Automated Storage Tiering. Again doesn’t matter if your existing Storage natively does not support these features.

Two features that every customer wishes they had right now….VAAI and Policy based Automated Tiering (including Sub-LUN Tiering)


Storage Virtualization


Who Supports Storage Virtualization

There are several manufacturers that support Storage Virtualization today. Some of the leading storage virtualization arrays/engines include IBM SVC, EMC VPLEX, HP SVSP, HP P9500, Hitachi USPV/ VSP.



Same can be said about VAAI (vStorage API for Array Integration), an amazing interface that VMware provides for its technology partners to offload rather intense storage related functions natively within storage devices, compared to the old approach where VMware Host did these tasks. This means Storage Processors need to be able to pick up these massive xcopy, lock operations and block zeroing.

Many storage vendors have already provided VAAI support while many have it on their roadmap and have planned release over the next few months. EMC Clariion was supported Day 1, 3Par similarly supports it with 2.3.1 MU2 InForm OS, while HDS supported VAAI on the AMS platform Day 1.


Automated Storage Tiering

Automated Storage Tiering is another great feature to have natively within storage arrays, but not every vendor supports it today.

Not all the data you have, need to be on the fastest tier, but as your application writes data, it can write to the fastest tier and then demote if the data is not being used. Similarly if there is any data that is frequently used, based on the policy can be moved up to a higher tier. So in short if you keep a good balance of SSD’s and SATA drives, you should be able to keep all your applications happy, all your users happy, all your DBA’s happy and importantly meet your SLA’s.

So initially the idea was to offer this at a LUN level. Create policy, if the LUN is busy based on the time of the day or the month of the year, move it to a faster tier. But then followed the concept of Sub-LUN Tiering. Well not the entire LUN needs to be moved, only a certain set of blocks, chunks, pages are hot and they need to be promoted to a faster tier. Helps tremendously reduce your operations on arrays and keeps cache free.

Compellent is considered a market leader in Automated Storage Tiering and were the first ones to take it to the market. Followed by HDS, EMC and 3Par. Not all storage vendors offer LUN tiering and Sub-LUN tiering with its storage platforms today.


Where am I going?

Well, for a second, lets think…..

The storage environment that you might have today, does not support all the needed features your applications and your business may require. Example VAAI and Automated Storage Tiering including Sub-LUN Tiering.

Why not push the physical Storage assets behind these Virtualization arrays / engines and start taking advantages of the native features offered within them including VAAI and Automated Storage Tiering including Sub-LUN Tiering.

If you are anxiously waiting for features from your existing storage vendors, which may be on their roadmap or may have been promised but never delivered, you do have a choice to closely look at Storage Virtualization and take advantages of these features without a major overhaul in your storage environment.


Hitachi VSP (Virtual Storage Platform) & Command Suite 7– Technology, Comparisons, Architecture

September 29th, 2010 No comments

A Deepdive on VSP Technology, Command Suite 7 overview, Technology within the VSP, Comparison of VSP vs USPV, some architecture discussions and marketing message. Along with this discussion, also see architecture block diagrams and Videos from the event.

The Announcement

Hitachi and its US Subsidiary Hitachi Data Systems announced its next generation Storage platform on the 27th of Sept, 2010. It’s proven technology of storage virtualization that surfaced back in 2007/2008 is being offered in its latest platform code name “VICTORIA” now called VSP – Virtual Storage Platform.

Though I do not want to speculate too much on the naming, VSP – Virtual Storage Platform is a relevant name to the technology, But is the name VSP somehow influenced from the name VMAX (Virtual Matrix)??

The same day HP also announced its P9500 storage platform, which it rebrands from Hitachi with an HP logo and HP management software. The looks of the HP version of VSP, (P9500) is very attractive compared to the Hitachi looks.

Wonder the HP – 3Par acquisition will put some pressure on the OEM relationship between HP and Hitachi Ltd, Japan, since essentially the game would be to compete in the same market space now. Though to my understanding 3Par doesn’t offer Mainframe support with its storage as Hitachi does today with FICON.

Though do not get deceived by the name or the looks, the technology that VSP brings to datacenters (let me correct, virtual datacenters), is one that is revolutionary and will help customers build more resilient and efficient environments.

Hitachi VSP at Hitachi Information Forum in Santa Clara, CA

The color of the VSP cabinet is Green, indicating it’s a step forward towards a highly energy efficient system. As the datacenters are now being completely virtualized with computing environments and no geographical boundaries, the requirement for storage virtualization becomes key in being able to keep these environments resilient, scalable, reduced footprint and manageable.

Victoria was the code name for VSP, during our last visit to HDS at the Geek Day 0.9 in Santa Clara; we were given some hints about this project. But during our visit to Odawara (Tokyo), Japan, Hitachi along with its US subsidiary (HDS) gave us a preview of VSP, the underlying technology and architecture of VSP, a one for all platform Block, File, Object storage. Though we did not blog about the technology discussion that took place in Japan, they were highly focused around engineering & architecture aspects of the VSP technology.

VSP brings architectural enhancements, added flexibility, reduced footprint, higher response times, reduced management, concepts of storage economics, etc natively within the platform.

It is expected VSP will also be the core storage platform on HDS’s UCP (Universal Compute Platform) along with Hitachi Symphony Servers, a networking partner (****) and Microsoft Operations Manager as its orchestration software.

Nigel Poulton also has a Technical Deepdive Post on VSP, and it is very technical in nature.


The Marketing Message

The core messaging behind the VSP platform includes 3D Scaling, which are Scale Out, Scale Deep and Scale Up. In the past we have seen blog posts from Hu Yoshida and Michael Hay about 3D Cartesian scaling and affects of it on Storage Platforms.

Some additional pitches from HDS on VSP include being able to provide Virtualized, Automated, Cloud-Ready and Sustainable platform. Though I necessarily do not understand what Cloud-Ready means. The messaging around Cloud was particularly missing during the Hitachi Information Forum.

Scale Up refers to the tightly coupled storage environment that is easy to expand and manage.

Scale Out refers to the priority queues, dynamic allocation of resources and system that helps customers expand as business needs and workloads change.

Scale Deep refers to the Storage Virtualization piece that allows a single VSP system to grow using external storage through centralized management to more than 255 PB of data.


The Technology

Storage Virtualization is a great technology and the benefits of it are being seen around the industry today. Manufacturers that did not have this technology a few years ago are all jumping in now. These days talking to customers about the managed services businesses and understanding the value storage virtualization brings to the table with technologies like Hitachi USPV, IBM SVC, HP SVSP, EMC VPLEX and now Hitachi VSP is pretty phenomenal.

On the VSP Hitachi also introduced the SAS II drives 2.5 inch form factor, reducing the footprint substantially. With a 2048 drive system, customers are typically looking at 6 standard cabinets vs an EMC VMAX that may utilize 10 cabinets for the same number of drives. The largest drive supported today on the VSP is 1 TB drive.

Along with the added number of drives to the VSP technology, the Storage Virtualization technology enables 255 PB’s of Storage behind a VSP or essentially 1TB x 255000 drives in a single federated storage system.

After the leap by EMC into the Intel Architecture with it enterprise Storage system VMAX earlier last year, Hitachi is the next storage manufacturer to take advantage of the great engineering work that is currently being done by Intel for Enterprise computing. Along with the Intel Xeon CPU’s on the Virtual Storage Processors, Hitachi also uses Hitachi ASIC’s on its controllers for specialized functions within the VSP.

The number of ports has also been now doubled with VSP for host connectivity, substantially less power consumption which numbers seem to be in the range of 40% to 50% energy efficient systems for power savings.

VSP also enables XTS-AES256 bit Encryption of data as its being written to its disk. This technology more than likely could be a third party plug-in that enables this feature. It will need to be purchased and enabled through software keys within the VSP.


One size fits all (Scale Up, Scale Down)

As you are aware, the USPV came in two flavors, the USPV and the USPVM. If the customer had invested into a USPVM and as the business demand (applications requirements, IOPS, workloads) increase, the only option the customer might have is purchase another system. There are similar offerings from EMC in this space with its VMAX and VMAX-SE frames. The VSP goes back to the basics of purchase a system and expand it based on your needs without the necessity to purchase a new system.


The Architecture

With the new generation of storage virtualization technology just brought to the market by Hitachi, there are differences between its predecessor, the USPV.

While the VMAX today offers 128 cores, the VSP starts at 32 Cores, but using Storage Virtualization, you can add thousands of Cores behind it.

Okay, just an example….

One of the large financial houses that were on the panel at Hitachi Information Forum virtualizes DMX-4’s behind USPV’s today. If a VSP supports 255000 drives, you can practically have 106 fully populated (2400 drive configured) VMAX systems behind one VSP.

Since manufacturers leverage technology and its inter-workings in different ways, a side-by-side comparison of VMAX and VSP may not be a fair comparison.


Though I want to point out  differences between VSP technology and USPV technology relating to architecture and configurations.

Hitachi VSP vs USPV

VSP Technology USPV Technology
Name VSP: Virtual Storage Platform USPV: Universal Storage Platform – Virtualization
Cabinet Min: 1 Cabinet

Max: 6 Cabinets (2 Systems)

5 Cabinets
Drives (2.5 inch SAS) Min: 0 Drives (External Storage)

Max: 2.5 inch x 2048 SAS II Drives

3.5 inch x 1152 FC drives
Drives (3.5 inch SAS) Min: 0 Drives (External Storage)

Max: 3.5 inch x 1280 SAS II Drives

3.5 inch x 1152 FC drives
Federation Min: Single System

Max: Two Systems tightly coupled using the Hitachi Star Fabric over PCIe

External Storage (Federation – Virtualization) Max: 255 PB Max: 247 PB
External Storage (Federation Drives) 1TB x 255000 drives 1TB x 247000 drives
Storage 2 PB’s Internal 1 PB Internal
Processors INTEL Quad Core Processors plus ASICs on FED / BED ASICs
Single Controller (System) Min: 1 Cabinet

Max: 3 Cabinets

5 Cabinets
Virtual Storage Director Blades 4 Cores per Blade

Min: 2 Blades (8 Cores)

Max: 8 Blades (32 Cores)

FED (Front End Directors) Each FED has 8 ports

Min: 2 FED (16 ports)

Max: 24 FED (192 Cores)

112 Ports
FED Port Speed 8 Gbps 4 Gbps
FED Port types Min: 16 – FC Ports (8GB)

Max: 192 – FC Ports (8GB),

192 FICON Ports

224 – FC (4GB ports),

112 – FC (8GB ports),

112 – FICON

FCoE It may be supported in a short duration but no support with Release 1 Not Supported
iSCSI Not Supported Not Supported
Infiniband Not Supported Not Supported
BED (Back End Directors) Each BED has 4 SAS links

Min: 0 (incase of external Storage)

Max: 64 BED (64 SAS links – Two federated VSP’s)

64 FC loops – Half duplex AL loops
BED Speed 6 Gbps SAS 4 Gbps FC-AL
Cache 32GB or 64GB Adapters

Min: 2 (64GB cache)

Max: 16 (1024 GB Cache)

512 GB Cache
Cache Protection Flash plus Battery Big Batteries
Power Consumption 30KW (one phase) – 1024 drives 33.2 KW (three phase)
Automated Dynamic Tiering LUN Level and Sub LUN level LUN Level
Secure MultiTenancy Yes No
VAAI – vStorageAPI support Yes (expected late 2010) No
Native within UCP (expected) Yes No
Support for 2.5 inch drives and/or 3.5 inch drives 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch drives 3.5 inch drives only
SATA drive support Yes Yes
SAS and SATA drive support – intermix Yes SAS not supported
FC and SATA drive support – intermix FC not supported Yes
Cache Mirroring Write Cache Mirroring Write Cache Mirroring
Command Suite 7 Supports Supports
SSD Supported Supported
Predecessor USPV USP
Released Sep 2010 2006/2007
Operating System BOS / BOS V BOS / BOS V
LUN based Tiering Yes Yes
Sub LUN based Tiering Yes No
Page Size 42MB 42MB
Large Batteries No Yes
Drive Formats ??? bytes (expecting 520) with 8 bytes ECC ??? bytes (expecting 520) with 8 bytes ECC
Microcode Runs on Virtual Storage Processors Runs on FED, BED
Rack System 19 Inch Racks, 42U 19 inch Racks
Airflow Hot – Cold Aisle Hot – Cold Aisle
RAID Mirroring, RAID 5, RAID 6 Mirroring, RAID 5, RAID 6
Cooling Fans Noise Reduction Non
Cooling Fans Speed 3 level speeds for cooling 1 level speed for cooling
Control Memory On Virtual Storage Directors On FED/BED
Color of the Cabinet Green Bluish / purple
Purchased as VSP only with Controllers or with X number of drives scalable to 2048 drives USPVM only sold with Controllers. USPV sold with controllers and drives. USPVM cannot be upgraded to USPV


Cabinet Numbering and Structure

Below are how two VSP systems are coupled together using the Hitachi Star Switch (PCIe Connect), which enables the expansion of two VSP into a single system scalable to 2048 drives with 1024 GB of cache.

Cab 12 Cab 11 Cab 1 Cab 0 Cab 1 Cab 2
Drives only Drives only Controller 1 + Drives Controller 2 + Drives Drives only Drives only

Each system (VSP Controller Unit) includes

4 x Virtual Storage Director,

8 x Data Cache Adapter,

8 x Front End Directors

4 x Back End Directors

4 x Grid Switch

2 x Drive Chasis in Controller Cabinet

3 x Drive Chasis in each – Drives only Cabinet

Totally 8 Drive Chasis

Each Drive chasis supports 128 drives (SAS)


FRONT of the UNIT includes

4 DataCache Adpaters

4 Virtual Storage Directors

4 Data Cache Adapters

Drive bays have FANs in the front of the unit



BACK of the UNIT includes

4 Front End Directors

2 Back End Directors

4 Data Grid Switches

2 Back End Directors

4 Front End Directors


Virtual Storage Director (The Brains behind the VSP)

There are 4 Virtual Storage Directors in each system

Each Virtual Storage Director has 4 Cores

You can have 16 Cores per system

These processors manage the internal workings of the VSP along with the LUNs, eLUNs, Addressing, data mapping, virtual partition manager, layered software interface, references, SAS drives if internal, operational control data memory.

You can expand this to 32 Cores using the PCIe Hitachi Data Switch Grid and 3 additional cabinets along with a controllers.


Control Memory

Serves at L2 Cache

On Virtual Storage Directors

Responsible for managing and maintaining Metadata, mappings, etc


Data Cache (Global Cache)

Primarily used as Cache for read/write

Caches data during read operations from BED, similarly caches data from FED for write operations

Only write data is mirrored in cache (not all data is mirrored like the VMAX)

1024GB of total cache for 2 VSP’s tightly coupled

Read Operations only require one copy of cached data

Cache backed up to onboard Flash drive, reducing the amounts of needed batteries



Though the Virtual Storage Directors use the Intel Quad Core processors, BED’s and FED’s use special purpose ASICs for I/O operations, which enables a much better, and flexible data movement and associated performance

Back End Directors

Front End Directors


Grid Switch

Unlike VMAX which uses Rapid IO for coupling its engines, Hitachi uses its custom designed Hitachi Star Fabric for tightly coupling its Internal Network to manage data which includes the Drives, Virtual Storage Directors, Data Cache, BED & FED. This switch also connects two VSP’s together to form a 6 cabinet, 2048 drive system, which is connected through PCIe at a CPU level.


Dynamic Automated Tiering (Sub LUN Tiering)

Once a disk is assigned to the VSP whether it is native within the VSP or external virtualized (eLUN), VSP will utilize it for Dynamic Automated Tiering. With the announcement of VSP, HDS is also including policy based Sub LUN Tiering to this platform, allowing automated data movements in page size of 42MBs.

Dynamic Automated Tiering is shipping day one with VSP platform. Look at Sub LUN Tiering as a technology that will move the data real time based on policies setup in the environment. As a certain page gets a higher heat index, the underlying technology will automatically upgrade the tier only for that page.
If over time, a certain page falls on the heat index chart, the data is moved to a lower tier. This technology helps bring more efficiency into environments and does not require having all your data stored on one tier and helps you save on the use of expensive SSD’s for all your data.

Again this offering as it stands today is very unique in the industry and other vendors are moving or have a road map focused towards this technology.


VMware, SMT, Cloud

Day 1, VSP will not support VAAI, the vStorageAPI for VMware offloading VMware related tasks locally within Storage controllers bringing much added flexibility to virtualized environments.

But within the next 45/60 days as first code release rolls out, VAAI support is on the roadmap to be included as supported on VSP.

Also the VSP claims to have SMT (Secure MultiTenacy) built into the architecture that allows the system to operate in virtual partitions including cache & host ports. Though still not sure how the VSP manages to offer audits, resource management etc within an SMT environment. In an SMT environment, encryption becomes a very viable offering where tenants could have its own individual key as the VSP natively supports 32 different keys.


Some Observations

Very noticeable product differentiation from previous generation Hitachi USPV. Improvements visible in terms of I/O, tight coupling of systems, SAS drives, drive speeds, port speeds, data routing. Expansion of external storage to 255PB total, internal drives to 2048 with reduction in floor space and hot and cold aisle friendly cabinet design shows the move towards the next generation thought process.

No Total cache mirroring

No VAAI support day 1

Cloud ready message needs to be more refined

The product seems to miss the flashiness

Having the front bezel green in color is a great message.

Color coded cables in the cabinet based on different loops possibly, cable colors are black, grey, white and are very visible.



HDS Command Suite 7 for VSP, AMS and USPV

Along with the announcement of the VSP, HDS also announced its next generation SRM tool Command Suite 7 that enables management of the VSP along with its predecessor USPV & USP, along lines its mid tier storage platform AMS.

The message driving the Command Suite like the VSP platform is the 3D Cartesian scaling, which is Manage Up, Manage Out and Manage Deep.

The Command Suite 7 is being compared to solutions from other vendors in this space. Along with managing the Hitachi systems at an element manager level, Command Suite 7 also offers heterogeneous storage support for other vendors.

It seems the Command Suite 7 or its elements might end up within the UCP announcement likely to happen early 2011, which will offer an integrated stack of solution from HDS.

Command Suite 7 is a move towards being able to manage & discover all storage, either virtualized behind a VSP, non virtualized but in the environment, VMware host, Virtual Machines, Switches, hypervisor and wants to impact as an infrastructure monitoring tool.


Marketing Messaging

Manage Up: References the ability to manage the Hitachi environments that will enable automated dynamic tiering. Command Suite 7 also boasts the management of 255 PB of storage and 5Million objects through a single installed instance

Manage Out: Single Solution for management whether is File, Block or Object storage. Along with the ability to manage VM hosts, VM’s, applications, it also enables the management of heterogeneous storage. It is not expected to replace your existing native element managers within your storage environment by Command Suite. It is also expected that within Hitachi storage, Command Suite 7 will be able to manage the objects without agents being deployed in the environment.

Manage Deep: Through the use of reporting, single pane of glass view, capacity monitoring, performance monitoring, Command suite 7 enables a granular management of your storage environment adding automation reducing operations to accomplish required tasks.


Automated Dynamic Tiering

Hitachi introduced Sub LUN level tiering with its VSP and Command Suite 7 offering. The automated tiering will work either at File / Object or Block levels. Through a policy-based engine any of the above can be migrated to either a lower or a higher Tier based on SLA’s, performance, time of the day, application requirements or cost.

With the Sub LUN Tiering, Hitachi allows the movement of its data in 42MB page size, which is a standard within its storage environments and enables it to be promoted or demoted based on policy.

The sub-lun level tiering enables only the hot blocks of data or file to be moved rather than an entire LUN. Also by default all new incoming data gets written to the highest performance tier first and gradually gets demoted to a lower tier as the activity on it is reduced, again all this can happens at a LUN level or a sub-LUN level.


All Inclusive

The Command Suite 7 ships as a BOS (Basic Operating System) or BOS V (Basic Operating System V), which includes the following Software modules as part of the offering.

Hitachi Device Manager (BOS)

Hitachi Universal Volume Manager (BOS V)

Hitachi Dynamic Link Manager Advanced (BOS / BOS V)

Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning (BOS / BOS V)

Hitachi Dynamic Tiering (BOS / BOS V)

Hitachi Command Director (BOS / BOS V)

Hitachi Storage Capacity Reporter (BOS / BOS V)

Hitachi Tiered Storage Manager (BOS / BOS V)

Hitachi Tuning Manager (BOS / BOS V)

Hitachi Virtual Server Reporter (BOS / BOS V)

** Have no idea how Command Suite is licensed today, but I would think the pricing for both the BOS and BOS V are different and possibly would have a Base price plus a per TB of licensing cost.


Security, SMT, Cloud

Along with the discussion above around VSP in SMT and Cloud environment, Command Suite 7 offers additional benefits towards applications being hosted in a cloud environment.

Through the use of industry standard implementations of Active Directory, Radius etc, the storage managers, administrators, backup admins, etc get authenticated in the environment.

Through the use of Virtual partitioning, resources can be allocated in partitions and only managed through those with the correct permissions, giving the management of the environment the much-needed granularity. There is also support for Host port segregation, reporting and management includes support for provisioning, migration and replication.

For SLA and Reporting, Command Suite 7 has support around Automated Policy based TIering. There is also support for Hypervisor discovery and reporting along with Charge backs that should be included in the near future.

Okay that was long!!!

Some More….a discussion with RIck Vanover, Chris Evans and Claus Mikkelsen (Chief Scientist, HDS) about the VSP Technology and release.


Roundtable discussion on HDS VSP announcement from storagenerve on Vimeo.


Quick Discussion with Rick Vanover and the introduction with a Japanese Band


Introduction of Hitachi Information Forum, SantaClara, CA from storagenerve on Vimeo.


More discussions on storage virtualization coming up in the next blog posts..


Disclaimer: I do not work for HDS. Access to this information was given by HDS over the past few months helping understand the architecture of the VSP platform. I have attended HDS Geek Day 0.9, Hitachi Japan Trip and Hitachi Information Forum in Santa Clara and learned about the technology at these events. All airfares, lodging and boarding was paid by HDS. I have not received any monetary compensation during these visits nor any gadgets.

This is just an attempt to put some light on Hitachi VSP technology and what Storage Virtualization may enable in virtualized environments.