Last week I attended the second edition of HDS’ influencer summit, the journey was longer than the event itself but it was definitely worth it.
Many HDS execs shared the stage to talk to us about financials, sales, strategy, products, partnerships, roadmaps and we have also had the opportunity to attend a series of roundtables and product demos.
I won’t go into details about the financials of this rich privately held company, I’m sure you can easily find all the info on the web but I could briefly recap with: “it’s wealthy and it is continuing to show a pretty constant growth Yr/Yr”.
My only concern could be about the fact that this is an amazing technology company still struggling with a sluggish marketing approach.

Objects and big data

Well, yes, they bombed us all day long with big data and object storage messages. But I couldn’t agree more indeed, these two are definitely the most important topics today if your point of view shifts from data to information management.
HCP (Hitachi Content Platform) is at the base of what I can see as a solid strategic approach to store big amounts of unstructured data (even more scalable now). Search capabilities and integration with other pieces of HDS’ offering are the very strength of this end-to-end enterprise focused solution for the next generation of unified storage. And there is more than that, I’m biting my tongue for what I can’t say (damn NDAs!). But stay tuned, looks like that the best is yet to come.

The flashy side

As I said above, they could spend more on the marketing side but, at least this time, they are fairly ahead with down to earth tech. (obviously my thoughts are going to a three-letters-named competitor that bought the umpteenth startup a while ago to deliver enterprise flash storage. But it hasn’t been delivered yet).
I can describe their SSD implementation with a word: cool!
HDS has chosen to design its own flash modules and they architected them to obtain the best in terms of durability and resilience. The technicalities here are too much to explain (subject for a very long post, maybe) but this approach has a lot of advantages.
Moreover, the icing on the cake is that these SSD modules can be installed in their ordinary arrays like VSP or UVM allowing them to comfortably surpass the 1M IOPS barrier. I don’t know the actual street price, but if you’ll take a look at the TCO I’m sure that it will be no less than impressive: zero migration costs, automatic tiering, same management, etc. (WOW!).

Boring UCP stack (and SW)

Don’t get me wrong, the UCP platform is probably as good as many others already to be found out there (and it also has its pros and cons). If you can think about your IT infrastructure as a set of standard lego-like bricks it makes sense, but in the most common scenarios it isn’t appealing. In fact, I think that they have arrived late on this market and I’m not sure that the market itself is still there. VCE is miserably failing, isn’t’ it? And Flexpods-like boxes are good but they are no more than a reference architecture. I’m sure that you can agree with me when I say that reference architectures are only references!
My last note goes to software (I spotted it on a couple of demos and it is still the same): at HDS they are very good with hardware but sooner or later they’ll need to do something to improve ease of use of their boring scheming management software.

Final note

After this day my opinion on HDS has not changed at all: strong technology view, impressive (rock solid) hardware, poor software, cool object software solution for the enterprise.
The world cloud was mentioned many times but the meaning of cloud for HDS has much more to do with enterprise private clouds than public and ISPs in general, I think there is some opportunities here to spend some marketing money to show more in this area.
If you want to read more on what happened during the HDS day I can suggest a couple of articles written by Chris Evans and Ray Lucchesi.

Disclaimer: I was invited to this meeting by HDS and they paid for travel and accommodation, I have not been compensated for my time and am not obliged to blog. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any other person than the Juku team.