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Hitachi Data Systems teams with Microsoft for unified computing platform

Simon Sharwood

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has entered the “stack” market with a “unified compute platform" that will see the company distribute Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 R2, System Center suite and SQL Server 2008.

“This is a turnkey system and the packaging will include the server, storage network and system software,” according to Adrian De Luca, HDS’ Director, Pre-Sales & Solutions for Australia and New Zealand.

The servers will be Hitachi’s own BladeSymphony products, a line the company has offered for six years but has not previously sold outside Japan. The servers will be shipped with the Microsoft products, plus new management software of Hitachi's own devising.

De Luca says the system software is the product’s “secret sauce,” thanks to its automation functions.

“Our ‘Orchestrator’ will manage all of the components from end-to-end,” he told SearchStorage ANZ. “If you look at VCE there is no end-to-end automation piece,” he added. “My understanding is that VMware plans an orchestrator, but ours is agnostic and will manage Microsoft and VMware.”

The unified compute platform will also offer readymade configurations for popular applications, with SAP, Oracle and SQL templates already available.

“There is a lot of ‘non-proprietariness’ about this solution,” De Luca said. “We’ll be able to virtualize arrays from IBM or HP array and still use the Orchestrator. And if someone wants to use UCS as compute platform they can do that, but use the other pieces of our solution.”

Different partnerships

Accompanying the new products is a new go-to-market model, through what De Luca called “strategic integrators and managed services providers.” HDS Australia and New Zealand has already introduced its partners – including Frontline Systems, AlphaWest, XSI and Synergy Plus – to the products and the model of joint selling with shared risk and reward, partly through a pay-as-you-go model for partners.

“We want to be the cloud infrastructure provider, not the service provider,” De Luca said. “We want to add value to their [partners’] businesses because we can’t sell this to a system integrator and let them take the risk.”

The new product will also mean changes within HDS, as the company has not sold mainframe computers or servers since the late 1990s. The local outfit is therefore undergoing what De Luca described as “a number of enablement activities” in order to get ready to sell the new product.

Asked if this launch is a direct response to alliances like the EMC/Cisco/VMware/Intel VCE alliance, or NetApp’s pacts with Cisco and VMware, De Luca said “This goes a long way towards addressing it [that HDS is the only ones without a stack],” before adding “This sort of sell will mean we talk to different people and create a different perception of HDS.”

Note: SearchStorage intended to seek perspective from an industry analyst to offer readers commentary on the release, but HDS Australia/New Zealand has not briefed local analysts ahead of the launch.
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