Hitachi Data Systems, best known for shipping high-end data center storage systems to large enterprises such as Boeing Aircraft, Disney-ABC, and others, is looking to expand its reach.
The Santa Clara, Calif., storage maker on Oct. 15 launched its new Windows-based Simple Modular Storage product line, its first system aimed squarely at the mass market of small and midsize businesses and remote office users.
HDS is following a trend set by competitors such as Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Network Appliance and EMC, all of which also established their storage products at the enterprise level and have since simplified a number of them for smaller businesses that have no IT specialists on staff.
The central thread that storage companies share with their simplified systems is this: They all use plug-and-play hardware with a wizard-type GUI—most often Web-based—that a reasonably intelligent business person can use to create partitions and LUNS (logical unit numbers), and assign policies and permissions to each storage space. Even backup and data recovery can be set up with the wizard.
Another commonality: Prices for these products are also significantly lower. HDSs new SMS line starts at about $5,000 for a 1TB basic version without data recovery.
"The idea HDS has is that this is a storage solution for SMBs who just dont need and want to invest in a SAN [storage area network] at this time," Kevin Sampson, HDS Director of Product Marketing, Storage Infrastructure, told eWEEK. "The wizard walks you through the process of setting up, and you can easily be up and running within one hour. If you know how to use Windows, you can set this up yourself."
Features of the SMS system include the wizard-based GUI auto-configuration software, the ability to plug into any home or office using the same standard 110 volt outlet as most consumer electronics products, scalability from less than 1TB to nearly 9TB of capacity, and non-stop data availability via a plug-and-play disk slot.
Sampson said that in the rare event of a disk failure, Hitachi ships customers a free drive following automatic online notification from the Simple Modular Storage management console.
Hitachi ups the ante for unified enterprise storage. Click here to read more.
"When the new drive arrives, you simply plug it into the plug-and-play disk slot, with no need to remove or return any existing drives and no disruption to your data storage needs. This feature ensures that there is absolutely no chance of accidentally removing the wrong disk drive, providing secure data protection for your important digital assets," Sampson said.
The SMS also creates instantaneous snapshots or full copies of all data and offers disaster recovery with optional remote replication, all from a simple icon-based "management cockpit," Sampson said.
"If your local area network is ever down, you can continue to work using the Hitachi SMS system, as all changes since the last replication interval are automatically saved to disk. When your LAN is back up, it synchronizes your Simple Modular Storage system using Hitachis proven SimpleDR asynchronous remote copy software."
The Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system will be available worldwide through a network of over 1,500 VARs, channel partners, systems integrators and the Hitachi direct sales force, Sampson said. Pricing starts at $5,000.
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