Hitachi Aims to Steal EMCs Thunder

Hitachi's new Thunder 9500 array series targets EMC's Clariion CX600 and IBM's FAStT 700.

Hitachi Ltd. today announced a new array series and new storage resource management software. The announcement comes one day after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved the vendors hard-drive division merger with IBM.

The new series, called Thunder 9500, is a midrange upgrade to the existing Thunder 9200 systems and will ship in January 2003. The new flagship model is the 9570V, holding up to 32TB, with a 4GB cache and four 2G-bps Fibre Channel ports.

Hitachi officials were not available to comment.

The 9570V is intended to compete against EMC Corp. s Clariion CX600 and Armonk, N.Y.-based IBMs FAStT 700. Hitachi, of Tokyo, also announced upgrades to several of its smaller capacity systems.

On the software side, Hitachi announced its HiCommand Tuning Manager, also due for availability in January 2003. With it, users can create custom utilization alerts and reports, to forecast application data needs. It works with the 9500 and older 9200 storage, and with the high-end Lightning 9900 storage. Hitachi this summer acquired Comstock Systems Corp., of San Jose, Calif. to help build Tuning Manager.

The softwares main advantage is its ability to manage Hitachis full line of storage.

"Theyve got a good thing there," said Dianne McAdam, analyst with Data Mobility Group LLC in Nashua, N.H. Much of EMCs software cant do that, she noted.

Pricing of the new products, and information about how long the 9200 series will continue to be available, is not yet clear.

Meanwhile, Hitachi and IBM this week announced government approval of their hard-drive division merger, first announced in April. The FTC approved the $2.05 billion deal, which will create a new company, based in San Jose. IBM will transfer 18,000 employees and Hitachi will devote 6,000, with Hitachi controlling 70 percent of the company for the first three years, and 100 percent after that, officials have said.