Hitachi Data Systems is entering the storage area network market. The company today unveiled an open architecture strategy to offer SAN technology to enterprises. It has also launched an interoperability lab and refocused its services division to aid in implementing and maintaining SANs.
To formalize its entrance into the SAN market, HDS created Freedom Data Networks (FDN), an open framework based on Storage Network Industry Association standards. SANs based on FDN will let users connect storage systems from multiple vendors across OS/390, Unix, and Windows NT environments. The company will use its new interoperability lab to test components and systems from other vendors to ensure they will function within a user's overall architecture. And HDS's services division is refocusing its efforts on helping SAN customers with installations, risks analysis, and readiness.
The FDN architecture is designed to accommodate new storage technologies as they develop. "When you just talk about SANs, it's about data movement between servers and storage, SANs and users," says Andrew Hogg, product marketing manager of HDS's storage marketing group. "FDN encompasses storage and servers, interconnects, software, different protocols, and services." Hogg says FDN marks HDS' effort to move away from its image of being a storage-centric vendor and more toward being a data-centric networking company.
One analyst says the infancy of SANs creates a need for a package like HDS's that addresses infrastructure, interoperability, and implementation issues. "Right now, SANs are a combination of infrastructure and vision. It's not like you're going to be able to go out and just buy a SAN, so a user will have to architect and build them themselves," says Dave Vellante, president at ITCentrix. "HDS is providing a service to help them architect these things, and are saying to customers 'We're going to test the stuff ourselves, you can use anybody's boxes, and we're going to help you install it.' At this stage of SAN development, it's worthwhile."