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Hitachi has case of midrange storage madness

HP and Sun insist it's a high-end moment

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Hitachi, HP and Sun Microsystems this week all came to market with the same storage product but couldn't quite agree on exactly what they were selling.

Ringleader Hitachi put out a new system dubbed the NSC55 - a descriptive name to be sure. The system is a smaller version of the fancy TagmaStore system, so much smaller that Hitachi describes the new kit as midrange. That's where the trouble begins.

HP and Sun both resell Hitachi's high-end storage products and have placed their versions of the NSC55 under their high-end brands. HP, for example, wants you to buy the XP10000, while Sun wants you to bite on the StorEdge 9985.

HP and Sun have their own midrange storage lines to protect and hesitate to disrupt barriers between their kit and that of a partner. But while HP and Sun declined to concede that the NSC55/XP10000/StorEdge 9985 verge on the midrange, an analyst from IDC made the admission for them.

"Today, mid-sized companies often face the same storage challenges as large organizations and require highly available, scalable and manageable storage systems that deliver cost-effective solutions without sacrificing functionality," said Natalya Yezhkova, senior research analyst at IDC. "With the HP StorageWorks XP10000, HP brings a level of performance, availability and functionality previously available only on the higher-end XP12000, thus targeting a broader range of customers from mid-sized to large enterprises."

The new box can hold anywhere from five disks right on up to 240 disks. That's 69TB of internal storage that can be complemented by external systems up to 16PB. The "midrange" Hitachi box also supports many of the high-end goodies of the TagmaStore such as a crossbar switch, controller-based virtualization, logical partitioning and universal replication. The system should certainly put pressure on EMC and Network Appliance.

"Delivering nearly four times the internal bandwidth (12.1 GigaBytes per second), 16 times the cache (64GB), six times the Fibre Channel port count (48), four times the FICON ports (16) and over twice the LUNs (16,384) of other systems, the NSC55 effectively redefines midrange storage, setting a new industry standard," Hitachi said with all due modesty.

Along with this box, Hitachi revealed three of what it's calling "channel optimized" midrange systems. The Adaptable Modular Storage (AMD) 200 box can store 41TB and has 4GB of cache, the AMS 500 can store 89TB and has 8GB of cache and the Workgroup Modular Storage (WMS) 100 is a lower-end SATA system that will start shipping in the near future. The wow factor with these systems? The contemporary basics - iSCSI, NAS, 4Gbps Fibre Channel, logical partitioning and RAID 6.

For those keeping track, Hitachi has moved 1,000 TagmaStore boxes to date and continues to see "demand towering at record levels." What record? It didn't say. ®

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