HDS, BlueArc Hook Up in New OEM Partnership

Former competitors satisfy technological and sales/marketing needs with a deal that already has produced a new high-end storage platform.

Storage area network provider Hitachi Data Systems couldnt acquire competitor BlueArc, so instead the two companies revealed a five-year OEM partnership Dec. 11 that already has resulted in a new product: the Hitachi High-Performance NAS Platform.

The two neighboring companies have been working for months behind the scenes on the new NAS system and the corporate relationship, which gives Santa Clara, Calif.-based HDS a new high-end enterprise product line to sell and BlueArc the worldwide marketing and sales arm it needs to continue its steady growth.

Under the agreement, which includes an undisclosed minority stake investment in BlueArc by HDS, both companies will resell the others products as needed. HDS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd. of Japan, sells products in 170 countries and has more than 1,000 resellers worldwide.

San Jose, Calif.-based BlueArc, which makes the Titan NAS system, is the worlds second-largest high-end enterprise NAS maker, ranking behind EMC, of Hopkinton, Mass.

/zimages/6/28571.gifeWEEK Labs reviews BlueArcs Titan 2000. Click here to read the review.

Back in October, HDS began laying off sales engineers and managers in an effort to reorganize the company around "solution and vertical specialization areas," such as entertainment, health care and content management.

At the time, an HDS spokesperson claimed this was not a reduction in force since the company was also creating new jobs in new categories. The company declined to say how many salespeople were laid off.

"This is another step in what I refer to as the new Hitachi Data Systems," said Senior Analyst Tony Asaro of Enterprise Strategy Group.

"Less than two years ago, I used to say they were a great SAN storage company. But now it is clear that they are focused on being a great storage networking company with a more comprehensive portfolio of products that range from SAN, storage management software, digital archiving, VTL and NAS. It is really important for customers to have other leading vendors provide NAS solutions so that they have more options open to them."

There is increasing demand from a growing number of industry-leading, business application users for the delivery of information to decision makers in real or near-real time, said John Webster, principal IT adviser of Illuminata.

"Through its partnership with BlueArc, Hitachi is further expanding its leadership in storage virtualization and further establishing a growth position in both traditional and emerging high-performance computing opportunities," Webster said.

The Hitachi High-Performance NAS Platform, powered by BlueArcs proprietary technology, has been in the works since the two companies began talking about getting together earlier this year.

The Hitachi High-Performance NAS Platform features BlueArcs highly advanced file-based virtualization framework. The new NAS platform delivers 600K IOPS, high total capacity (512TB), large file system size (256TB) and a high number of snapshots per file system (1,024).

It also has "unique" features, such as the ability to perform data classification and hierarchical storage management and offer Transparent Data Migration; the new platform effectively eclipses EMCs Celerra/NSX and NetApps FAS and V series products with all of the above performance numbers, the spokesperson said.

"Certain applications within high-performance computing, entertainment and life sciences have unique characteristics requiring uniquely optimized solutions," said John McArthur, group vice president and general manager of Information Infrastructure and Enabling Technologies at IDC.

"BlueArc has been addressing those requirements with the Titan product line. The partnership with BlueArc expands HDS portfolio of storage solutions and gives the company improved access to these higher-growth market opportunities."

The Hitachi High-Performance NAS Platform is available now. Pricing information is available upon request.

/zimages/6/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...