Today, I would like to share my thoughts on the Hitachi Vantara HCI solutions. We will dig a bit into all their products on CI and HCI.
Background on Hitachi Vantara
Hitachi Vantara delivers information storage and virtualization solutions to manage and protect big data in the data center. Among their products, they also have private, hybrid and public cloud offerings with critical partnerships. We will focus on their CI and HCI solutions.
Hitachi Vantara is headquartered in Santa Clara, California in the US. Brian Householder is the CEO of Hitachi Vantara (Oct 2019). Hitachi Vantara bought 5 companies, with the most recent being “REAN Cloud LLC” on Oct 2018. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) was founded in the US in 1989 and is no longer used in the market. Following the acquisition of several technology companies, most notably Pentaho big data and analytics, the company reformed itself as Hitachi Vantara in 2017. And as of Sept 2017 they are busy merging the Hitachi Vantara and Hitachi Consulting businesses under the Hitachi Vantara brand, with effect from January 2020. At this stage at the end of 2019, They still are two different domains and BU’s.
5x product sets under converged-hyper-converged-infrastructure
These 5x products make up the main of the Vantara private, hybrid and private cloud. They drive this by focusing on 3x categories namely:
- Data Driven – Manage and analyze data across applications, VMs and hybrid clouds for greater business value.
- Cloud Focused – Maximize private and hybrid cloud benefits to improve cost-efficiency, compliance and manageability.
- Automation – Automate manual tasks to quickly deliver services and free IT staff for new business initiatives.
Product 1 – Cisco and Hitachi Adaptive Solutions for Converged Infrastructure (HASCI)
Adaptive Solutions for Converged Infrastructure combines Cisco UCS Blades (B200, B480) almost any of the Hitachi Storage solutions (VSP F and G series) and Cisco UCS, Nexus and MDS switches as their hardware layer.This solution has a lot of similarities to the former VCE vBlock and VxBlock from Dell Technologies which is now VxRail and VxRack solutions that works different and more integrated with their own products at Dell. Click To Tweet
Below is a picture of a hardware scenario for this solution:
They mostly do the management through VMware vCenter with some plugins and additional optional software from Hitachi Vantara. This software include; Analytics, data protection, DR, backups and other cool software to include.
Product 2 – Hitachi Unified Compute Platform CI Series (UCPCI)
With this solution, they say you can “build a data-centered IT infrastructure that can host any application, at any scale, and at any location”. UCP CI works with Hitachi Unified Compute Platform Advisor (UCP Advisor) software, a cornerstone of Hitachi’s suite of operations software. which provides intelligent, unified automation of the management of your server, storage, and networking components. UCP CI is a highly configurable integrated infrastructure, in which server, network and storage can scale independently, to optimize performance and eliminate over-provisioning costs. They can use this option on 3rd party storage solutions.
If we look at the Hardware on this option, then we see that it is like option one above but there are some distinct differences and I want to emphasize three of them;
- Compute – They don’t use Cisco here but their own servers. Up to 128 Hitachi Advanced Server DS120 or DS220 high-density rack optimized servers. (Up to 16 DS120 servers in a single rack configuration)
- Network and SAN transport – Cisco Ethernet networking switches or Arista Ethernet networking switches or Broadcom Fibre Channel SAN switches so here you have more options and are not limited to Cisco only.
- VMware vSAN – This gives them the capability to scale out and have software defined storage that will complement product 2,3 and 4. vSAN is a cornerstone of multiple vendors out there.
Product 3 – Hitachi Unified Compute Platform HC Series (UCPHC)
This solution is the SDS solution with vSAN from VMware on the Hitachi performance compute nodes. These nodes can do all-flash, All-NVMe flash and hybrid. This is a performance based private cloud solution. These systems differ from option two whereby this is all-NVMe, and it scales better, it performs better and is more automated.
Product 4 – Hitachi Unified Compute Platform RS Series (UCPRS)
This is Hitachi Vantara’s full SDDC (software defined data center) solution. This is for enterprises and cloud providers. This is powered by “VMware Cloud Foundation“. They support Nutanix as well on their hardware but only VMware on their website or directly. If you want this solution with Nutanix, speak to your reseller. Customers can move their data between private and public cloud with this solution and enable your hybrid cloud with RS.
The differentiation here with option 3 is that, on this solution you can move between clouds. This is also a hybrid solution and more automated in this sense than option 3 and the embedded ironclad NSX micro-segmentation security is also included in this solution.
Product 5 – Unified Compute Platform Advisor (UCPA)
This is their management and orchestration software.. You can manage UCP CI, UCP HC, and UCP RS in a single pane with this solution. Platform Advisor eliminates many tasks for faster deployments.
Other features of Platform advisor:
- Manage compute, network and storage from one view.
- Reduce manual processes with policy-based workflows.
- Support multiple VMware vCenters with one UCP Advisor.
- Improve IT stability in life-cycle management.
- Automate deployment with rule-based validations.
- Enable call-home integration with Hitachi Remote Ops.
- Automate firmware updates for compute and network.
- Extend automation services with RESTful APIs.
- Establish policy-based bare metal provisioning.
If I look at these solutions, then they will sell product one less than product two. The reason is that product one uses only Cisco for servers, networking and SAN communication and are limited with software whereby option two sell Hitachi servers instead of Cisco and you have more networking and SAN options. You will probably see option one disappear as the VxBlock from Dell Technologies. Cisco has their own Hyperflex HCI, anyway. Another advantage of option two is the vSAN from VMware where you can use SDS and scale out or use SAN storage – this makes option two so far the more of an HCI rather than the CI they call it. I understand the name because you can hook any of the Hitachi SANs to it. Hitachi has good software solutions and other products that can easily tie into any of the HCI solutions specified. I still want to see more vendors break away from using vSAN or Nutanix NDFS storage defined software. Only Dell EMC broke away with VxFlex so far or bought ScaleIO in other words. Anyway, if Hitachi Vantara sell a solution, they will probably drive option 4 with option 5 with most companies, as this includes most and the best of their portfolio. They are a reliable company that came a long way already.
By Cobus Smit – 23 Oct 2019