Hitachi Uses Partners to Reach Out to SMBs

Storage provider and partners CommVault and QLogic offer the midtier market what they say is enterprise-type functionality in smaller, more affordable packages.

Hitachi Data Systems on Dec. 18 became the latest data storage software and hardware maker to launch a suite of new products and services specifically for the SMB market, including software that provisions, administers and protects data within Microsoft Windows and SQL Server environments.

Among the new products are the Data Protection Suite provided by partner CommVault, which includes backup, recovery and quick recovery software, and iDataAgents (for data monitoring); TagmaStore Adaptable Modular Storage servers models AMS200, AMS500, and AMS1000; and services that include implementation for the Data Protection Suite, a Backup Stabilization Service and a Backup Optimization Service.

Hitachi, based in Santa Clara, Calif., also introduced new branded Data Systems Solutions for Simple SAN (based on partner QLogics hardware and software), as well as data protection, disaster recovery and storage consolidation options that work with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows Vista.

The key components, according to a company spokesperson, include disk-based storage designed to replace tape-based backup and broad connectivity support for best use of existing resources, with native Fibre Channel SAN (storage area network), iSCSI or NAS (network-attached storage) workloads on high-performance Fibre Channel or SATA (Serial ATA) drives.

"Hitachi is an interesting company in that they are the OEM of choice for high-end packages for companies like Hewlett-Packard and Sun [Microsystems]," principal analyst Charles King of Pund-IT told eWEEK. "They have had a lot of success at the high-end [enterprise] level, but dont have a lot of experience at the low end. So it makes sense that theyd go after that market with their own OEM partners.

"It seems as though every company believes that the next great market opportunity is the midtier due to the sheer volume of the market, but its very tough place to make a living there, because the sales margins are so much lower. Its tough coming from a nice, high-margin enterprise storage business into the midtier market," King said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifHitachi looks to enter the North American blade market. Click here to read more.

The Simple SAN products include a "plug-and-play" SAN Kit for SMBs (small and midsize businesses), with a 2G-bps SAN fabric and the "plug-and-play" SAN Kit for SMEs (small and midsize enterprises) with a 4G-bps SAN fabric. Both kits include a QLogic SANbox Fibre Channel switch, QLogic SANblade host bus adapters, QLogic SANsurfer Express software, and cabling and accessories.

Both SAN kits can be configured on Hitachi TagmaStore servers, Workgroup Modular Storage and Adaptable Modular Storage models, the spokesperson said.

Hitachi Data Systems new suite of solutions provides great benefits to the partners as well as the customers they are serving, said Janet Waxman, vice president of Hardware Channels Research at IDC Research.

"All data is critical and customers are not willing to let go, or in some cases not allowed to let go of any of it. Therefore, the partner opportunity to bring simplification to data management for customers in the midmarket is a tremendous growth opportunity for these partners," Waxman said. "This allows the partner to leverage Hitachis offering as a tool from which the partner can add services for a completely integrated solution."

The Hitachi Data Systems midmarket solutions for storage consolidation, data protection and disaster recovery in Microsoft environments are available now.

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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...