Hitachi Vantara’s NEXT event was held I San Diego during the last week of September 2018. Over two days, Hitachi executives updated attendees on their expanding product portfolio and evolving strategy.
Hitachi Vantara used the NEXT2018 forum as a platform for new announcements. These included:
Hitachi Enterprise Cloud (HEC) Container Platform—new addition to the HEC family focused on faster deployment and management of Kubernetes container environments. Hitachi Vantara is partnering with Aqua Security to add comprehensive security capabilities to the HEC Container Platform service as well.
Hitachi’s first all-NVMe hyperconverged system for Unified Compute Platform HC (UCP HC)—the all-flash NVMe UCP HC V124N system in a 1U form factor with up to 12 NVMe SSDs for a total raw capacity of up to 72 TB. Optional NVMe chassis for UCP HC systems are expected to be generally available in November 2018 and will be complemented by all-NVMe Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) options for standalone deployment or within UCP CI in 2019.
Hitachi Unified Compute Platform CI (UCP CI) systems include new support for Hitachi Advanced Server DS7000 series servers and the Hitachi Advanced Server DS225 with NVIDIA Tesla GPUs for specialized graphics needs including VDI, CAD, collaborative workplaces and advanced analytics. Hitachi Unified Compute Platform RS (UCP RS) rack-scale system also adds support for the Hitachi DS225 server with NVIDIA Tesla GPU. These advancements will be generally available in November 2018.
Hitachi Solution for Databases, supported for UCP system for both optimizing and scaling performance in Oracle environments. Other Oracle environment support on UCP now includes Hadoop and MongoDB as offload targets for Oracle Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) on UCP RS systems with Pentaho Data Integration. These are available now.
Hitachi also previewed new research initiatives including:
In opening keynotes, Hitachi executives underlined the company’s 100-year presence in operational technology (OT) as distinctly different from their 50-year presence in Information Technology (IT). For Hitachi, OT products are those that, for example, monitor and control manufacturing and shop-floor operations, perform process control functions, or systems used by healthcare providers that fall outside the IT domain. Now they see a coming convergence of the two that will be of benefit to both IT and OT.
Social Innovation was also a common keynote theme. And while Hitachi executives have highlighted Social Innovation as a guiding light in previous events, it was more clearly defined at NEXT2018. Executives spoke often of a “double bottom line,” meaning that Hitachi makes the following distinction: While they are focused on the company’s monetary bottom line, they are also motivated to bring innovative products and services to market that benefit society. They refer to this second bottom line as Social Innovation and it is in this context that they also speak of their IoT, AI and OT/IT convergence initiatives.
Hitachi Vantara continues to advance its IoT products and services offerings noting that in general, only 17% of IoT enterprise projects have progressed beyond the proof of concept phase, representing an opportunity for Hitachi Vantara to bring these projects into production through customer collaboration and what they called “co-creation.”.
However, Hitachi executives used NEXT as a forum for sending a message to customers and partners in attendance, namely that Hitachi Vantara at its foundation is still a provider of high performance and highly reliable storage technologies. The message was sent during the opening keynotes and echoed in breakout session. As one executive said, “Storage is the foundation of our business. The storage and protection of data is key to our business.”
It is also clear that the strategy going forward is to build on that storage foundation in the directions of software and services. The direction that the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) is now going is a case in point. HCP was initially delivered as an object-based content repository for data archive and other secondary storage use cases. Hitachi is now expanding its use cases toward more critical and data intensive applications. In addition, HCP is also now offered as a platform for managed storage services that include data lake and data governance delivered as a service. This strategy can also be seen in Hitachi Vantara’s recent acquisition of RAEN Cloud. RAEN is a managed cloud services provider that specializes in cloud data and application migration as well as security and compliance in the cloud. RAEN Cloud also develops cloud-native applications for AI, machine learning, and IoT applications.