HDS Enlarging SAN Via Partnerships

Hitachi Data Systems is using partnerships to build an IP infrastructure that will enable users to overcome the SAN's physical limits.

Hitachi Data Systems is using partnerships to build an IP infrastructure that will enable users to overcome the SANs physical limits.

Later this month, HDS, a division of Hitachi Ltd., in Tokyo, will announce its certification of Minneapolis-based Computer Network Technology Corp.s UltraNet Edge Storage Router as well as a deal to resell IN-VSN 9811 channel-to-WAN extension switches from Inrange Technologies Corp., in Lumberton, N.J., said David Merrill, SAN architect and director of HDS Freedom data networks product line.

Those deals build on HDS announcements earlier this year of qualifying Munich, Germany-based Adva AG Optical Networkings FSP 2000 and FSP 3000 Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing switches and of a deal to resell Internet Fibre Channel Protocol switches from Nishan Systems Inc., of San Jose, Calif., Merrill said.

HDS TrueCopy IP-based data replication software now interoperates with the partners products. Combined, the products start to solve the problem of storage area networks being measured in a matter of miles.

"We have a lot of customers ... who just cannot live with 10-km barriers," said Merrill, in Dallas. "We are cobbling together a mature IP infrastructure."

Mark Taylor, operating systems engineer for Wells Fargo & Co., in Des Moines, Iowa, said a dispersed SAN as envisioned by HDS would be key for business continuance planning and backup, both of which gained importance after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Taylor runs a dispersed SAN, having migrated 9 terabytes of data from EMC Corp.s Symmetrix devices to HDS systems. But that SAN is only three blocks long and runs over a slow DS-3 connection.

Randy Kearns, an analyst at Evaluator Group Inc., said HDS efforts largely involve catching up to EMC.

However, "theres a lot of different ways to do that, and the more choices you have, the better," Kearns said of extending a SANs reach. IP-based solutions are "probably good enough," but customers should "ask about the software to control it, the cost of that software, how is it managed. Those are the things I worry about," said Kearns, in Greenwood Village, Colo.

HDS still has many things to do, Merrill said. Eliminating IP gateway bottlenecks, improving security and expanding HDS U.S. network access are important buttresses that are yet to be constructed, but there is no specific deadline for those projects, he said.