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HDS wants to be the Toyota of storage

Claims that IBM double-counts SVC sales

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Comment Hitachi has claimed that it is number one in storage virtualisation and has voiced its intent to be the leading shogun in the storage world.

That was the view expressed by Michael Vath, HDS' SVP and EMEA general manager, at the announcement in Milan on December 2 of the strengthened Acer-Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) partnership. He drew a parallel with Toyota, another Japanese company. Twenty years ago, it said it wanted to be the top global car company, and it has now fulfilled that aim.

This steady and consistent growth to a dominating target, he implies, is the Japanese way and, like Toyota, Hitachi will have this goal consistently in mind.

He also asserted that Hitachi is the only vertically integrated storage company, citing the Hitachi GST disk drive manufacturing subsidiary, and Hitachi's line of USP, AMS, WMS, and SMS storage arrays. These are sold in the USA, Europe and other geographies by its HDS subsidiary.

Vath says HDS has entered the storage market at the enterprise level with its virtualising USP-V array. It then progressed down-market to the small and medium enterprise (SMB) markets with its AMS, WMS and SMS products.

Acer, on the other hand, entered the storage market via the small office/home office (SOHO) sector and is moving into the SMB market in partnership with HDS.

He said, "Half our business is indirect globally, and higher than that in EMEA and Asia-Pacific." It makes for a good fit with Acer he claimed, and the renewed partnership represents a major opportunity for HDS because of Acer's huge channel.

Returning to the topic of making Hitachi numero uno, Vath says HDS is a $3.4bn company now, and the leader in enterprise storage virtualisation because it has sold more than 13,000 virtualising USP systems.

Surely, El Reg suggests, IBM has sold a larger number of virtualising SAN Volume Controller (SVC) products? Well, yes, but Vath notes that IBM ships dual SVC configurations with every order, "so you can cut that number in half."

IBM takes exception to this charge of double counting. An IBM spokesperson said: "No, we claim 5,000 clusters [and] 15,000 nodes. All 5,000 clusters are virtualising. HDS claim 10 per cent of their 10,000 [now 13,000+] USPs are doing virtualisation - so [it's] 5,000 vs 1,000," or 1,300 now with HDS' revised USK number of 13,000. So IBM sees itself as having sold more virtualising storage controllers than HDS.

The $3.4bn in annual revenues puts HDS in the same ball park as HP's Storageworks and NetApp but some way south of EMC.

For now Hitachi reckons it is the ruling emperor in storage virtualisation, and intends to use Acer's channel samurai to help extend that claimed lead to the storage market in general. ®

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