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Hitachi UCP adds new converged, hyper-converged options

Hitachi Data Systems expanded its Unified Compute Platform with a new hyper-converged system and an updated converged model to address midmarket, departmental and ROBO environments.

Hitachi Data Systems Corp. expanded its Unified Compute Platform with updated converged and new hyper-converged models designed to address block storage needs in midmarket, departmental and remote office/branch office environments.

The second version of Hitachi's UCP 2000 converged infrastructure adds support for Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization software, in addition to the previously available VMware. Open source Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) is due in August. Customers also gain new pretested and prevalidated options for storage: Hitachi's all-flash F400 and F600 systems, as well as Virtual Storage Platform G400 and G600 hybrid arrays. The only storage option available when the UCP 2000 originally shipped in 2015 was the VSP G200.

The new Hitachi UCP HC V240 hyper-converged infrastructure appliance combines compute, storage and network resources. The product aims to ease the creation of VMware ESXi hosts and the configuration of VMware vCenter Server. The system can build a Virtual SAN (VSAN) data store from all the storage drives on each ESXi host in a cluster.

"The reason we came out with this HC branding for our hyper-converged line is we expect more hardware offerings and, very possibly, [support for] other environments, including Microsoft and some of the KVM packaging," said Bob Madaio, vice president of infrastructure solutions marketing at HDS.

The 2U, four-node UCP 2000 and UCP HC V240 support standard, rack-based Intel x86 servers. Hitachi is currently working with a single server manufacturer that company officials declined to identify.

Prior UCP models primarily used higher-end, Hitachi-designed and manufactured blade servers. The only exceptions were larger converged systems that used Cisco's Unified Computing System, but the Cisco-based options were not the chief marketing focus, Madaio said.

"A large portion of the data center market is focused on rack-based servers, so we were missing an opportunity in the market," said Chris Gugger, director of infrastructure solutions marketing at HDS. "We looked at ways in which we could economically build the system and leverage the rack servers."

Gugger said HDS introduced the UCP 2000 in response to customer requests from primarily the Asia-Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa regions for a product with a smaller footprint and lower cost. The UCP offers a lower-cost option for the VMware VSAN architecture, he said.

The UCP 2000 supports VMware's vSphere and vCenter, Microsoft's Hyper-V and System Center, and KVM. HDS is working on full support for OpenStack, according to Gugger. "This will be the platform that we will be targeting OpenStack with going forward," he said.

UCP 2000 scales from one to four servers, or 16 nodes. Customers also have options for the core CPU, RAM amount and storage. HDS plans to increase the scalability over the summer, according to Gugger.

The new converged infrastructure product targets general-purpose applications, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments, web applications, cloud, small databases, and test and development environments.

The UCP HC V240 is built for general-purpose workloads, VDI, ROBO, and test and dev scenarios.

The UCP HC V240 is built for general-purpose workloads, VDI, remote office/branch office (ROBO), and test and dev scenarios. The hyper-converged appliance is sized to run about 100 average-sized, general-purpose data center virtual machines, regardless of application type, according to an HDS data sheet.

UCP HC V240 currently scales from one to 16 servers, or 64 nodes. The product is a hybrid system using internal hard disk drives and solid-state drives.

Hitachi tested and validated the UCP 2000 and UCP HC V240 systems with Brocade Fibre Channel top-of-rack switches. Gugger said customers can also use Cisco switches.

Pricing for the UCP HC V240 starts at approximately $60,000 for a 2U, four-node ROBO configuration, with six cores, 64 GB of RAM, three hard disk drives and one 400 GB solid-state drive, according to Gugger. That does not include the Brocade switch and VMware licenses.

Gugger estimated the starting price for a single-rack UCP 2000 with the HDS VSP G200 storage array at about $210,000 to $215,000. The Brocade switch is included in the price, but the customer is responsible for hypervisor licensing, he said.

Hitachi also sells UCP 4000E, UCP 4000 and UCP 6000 converged infrastructure models equipped with HDS blade servers and all-flash or hybrid storage arrays. HDS validated those options with both Brocade and Cisco switches. The UCP 4000E and UCP 4000 support VMware and Microsoft virtualization. HDS offers capabilities such as storage virtualization, replication, and remote backup and recovery across the UCP converged product line.

In addition to the new UCP HC V240, HDS sells another hyper-converged offering. The Hitachi Hyper Scale-Out Platform uses a different architecture and targets big data analytics use cases. Madaio said the product uses standard x86 servers and has been tested to 100 nodes. He added that HDS also had a prior UCP offering based on VMware's EVO:RAIL program.

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