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Hitachi Introduces Consumer Levels of Simplicity to Data Storage

Addressing the need for increased consumer levels of simplicity in storage system design, Hitachi — whose vast expertise in award-winning consumer electronics spans high-definition Blu-Ray Disc camcorders to industry-leading Plasma and LCD televisions and home cinema projectors — today introduced a data storage system so simple and so intuitive to install, use and manage that anyone — with no technical training whatsoever — could master and benefit from its vast capabilities.

Specifically, Hitachi today introduced the Hitachi Simple Modular Storage Model 100, a low-cost, entry-level storage system that serves the needs of a broad set of customers. The system is designed to fulfill the requirements of small and medium-sized businesses with burgeoning data growth and data protection requirements and enterprises with distributed branch offices looking for simple-to-manage, “service-less” storage offerings that are easy to integrate with the Microsoft® Windows platform.

“Hitachi and Microsoft share a goal to provide powerful, yet simple and cost-effective storage solutions to companies of all types," said Bala Kasiviswanathan, director, Storage Solutions Marketing, Microsoft Corp. "The Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system is certified by the Microsoft Simple SAN program and is an ideal out-of-the-box Windows storage solution for small and medium organizations.”

“As a leading academic institution serving more than 44,000 students, we need to ensure that critical data for our police department, faculty and staff can be securely stored and accessed," said Ron Levine, chief of police, Foothill-De Anza Community College District Police Department. "The Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system's ease-of-use and intuitive management software enables us to concentrate on protecting our student body rather than spending time managing our data. Hitachi's reputation for quality and enterprise-class functionality are clearly evident in this new SMB-grade product.”

According to Roger Cox, research vice president, Gartner Technology and Service Provider Research, “Surveys of end-users attending the Gartner Midsize Enterprise Summit reflect high interest in external controller-based disk storage systems that reduce provisioning and management complexity, are able to scale to meet growing data storage requirements, provide efficient local and remote replication functionality at a cost their restricted budgets can absorb.”

“Leveraging its multi-billion dollar research and development organization, Hitachi has fused together the enterprise-class capabilities of its market-leading storage systems with the ease-of-use of its consumer electronics products in the all-new Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system,” said Mike Walkey, senior vice president, Global Volume Channels, Hitachi Data Systems. “Hitachi and its channel partners around the world are breaking new ground today by answering the demand for high-performance and highly reliable storage systems that are simple to use and are virtually ‘service-less.'”

“Data protection and business continuity are fast becoming two of the biggest IT concerns among small and mid-size businesses, which also represents two of the most lucrative storage opportunities for our solution providers and strategic manufacturers like Hitachi," said Kevin Murai, president and chief operating officer, Ingram Micro Inc. "With the new Simple Modular Storage system, Hitachi is offering our channel partners a solid mix of enterprise-grade technology and performance at a price SMBs can afford. It's this simplified approach to a complex technology that aligns Hitachi's goals with Ingram Micro's Infrastructure Technology Solutions Division and will ultimately enable us to generate demand for this new product line.”

Simplicity Amplified on a Massive Scale

The Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system draws upon Hitachi’s decades of experience in both consumer electronics and data storage by converging all of this expertise into a singular product vision:

* Removes the key elements of storage system complexity, and replaces them with intuitive, nearly instinctual controls, enabling SMBs and distributed enterprises to recapture the countless hours in their day previously spent trying to master technical manuals and deal with countless wires, plugs, and clumsy interfaces

* Includes a highly intuitive wizard-based GUI setup and auto-configuration software that enables you to unpack the system and have it fully operational in minutes

* Plugs into any home or office using the same standard power outlet as award-winning Hitachi consumer electronics products

* Scales from under 1 terabyte to nearly 9 terabytes of capacity with no on-site IT support required

* Provides non-stop data availability via a unique “plug-and-play” disk slot. In the rare event of a disk failure, Hitachi ships you a free drive following automatic online notification from the Simple Modular Storage management console. When the new drive arrives, you simply plug it into the “plug-and-play” disk slot — with no need to remove or return any existing drives and no disruption to your data storage needs. This user-friendly feature ensures that there is absolutely no chance of accidentally removing the wrong disk drive, providing secure data protection for your important digital assets

* Allows you to easily upgrade to a new Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system when you require even more capacity. If you purchase a model with 1 terabyte and now require 5 terabytes, upon ordering a new Simple Modular Storage system, the patent-pending Hitachi Auto-Migration feature quickly and easily copies all of your existing data and licenses to the new system — a service not available on any other storage products of this scale

* Eliminates backup headaches by creating instantaneous snap or full copies of all your data and offers disaster recovery with optional remote replication, all from a simple icon-based management cockpit

* If your Local Area Network (LAN) is ever down, you can continue to work using the Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system as all changes since the last replication interval are automatically saved to disk. When your LAN is back up, it synchronizes your Simple Modular Storage system using Hitachi’s proven SimpleDR asynchronous remote copy software

* Delivers eco-friendly, power-efficient storage and is fully compliant with RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) regulations, which limit the use of hazardous materials in electronic equipment

* Installs quickly and runs non-disruptively for up to five years or more with virtually no maintenance or service required; backed by Hitachi’s legendary product reliability

“Simplicity is the chief design mantra of all Hitachi products and the Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system is no exception. No hidden installation expenses or maintenance support required means typical heightened costs commonly associated with add-on services delivered to customers will be dramatically lowered,” said Gertud Pillay, vice president, Marketing of PC Mall. “Hitachi Data Systems has completely redefined the current channel business model by pioneering yet another multitude of storage technology breakthroughs embodied in the all-new Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system. We are confident this new storage offering will enable us to unlock increased margin opportunities and create new inroads for us in the SMB market.”

“For small businesses or companies with many small offices this is a no-brainer,” said Dave Vellante, CEO of ITCentrix, a leading CIO consultancy. “Smaller organizations typically spend two to three times the hardware acquisition price just to get storage installed. The Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system not only eliminates these costs but also all the worries around backup and recovery — this is huge for a small business owner.”

“Hitachi is turning their attention to the SMB market with a storage system that leverages all of their knowledge about reliable and intelligent storage," said Tony Asaro, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. "Regardless of the size of the company or the amount of data they need to store, end-users need to remove any risk from their operations. Hitachi has a proven track record of supporting mission-critical applications and they are bringing that to the table with the SMS solution.”

“Hitachi Data Systems, better known for large enterprise data-center class disk systems, is charting new territory for itself with a modular, disk storage unit aimed at the mass market — fast growing small to medium sized businesses and remote office applications,” said John Webster, principal IT advisor, Illuminata. “What’s different about this device from others it competes with is the fact that it’s a complete iSCSI storage platform scalable to 9 TB — including RAID-6, dual active/active disk controllers, remote data copy and migration functions, and simple-to-use, intuitive management software — all packaged up in a thin form-factor, resilient, easily transportable and maintainable unit.”

“The Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system simplifies the deployment of affordable and scalable external storage in the SMB and distributed enterprise markets with a simple, no compromise solution,” said Carl Greiner, senior vice president, Infrastructure and Software, OVUM. “No longer will external storage be a province of the technically competent and larger enterprises.”

Commenting on today’s announcement, Fred Huang, vice president, Advanced Research of Hitachi Data Systems and chief architect of the new Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system, said, “With our new system, we are removing the complexity and unnecessary costs of data migration and capacity upgrades. Now customers can upgrade to future higher capacity, higher performance disk drives and the most feature rich product in its class without ever having to pay for data migration services. We’re also further simplifying storage for customers by eliminating the need for expensive, proprietary load balancing software by implementing an active-active symmetrical controller architecture. This is like plugging in a USB flash memory card in your PC — it just works — and there is no need to ever touch the storage again.”

The Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system will be available worldwide through a network of over 1,500 value-added resellers, channel partners, systems integrators and the Hitachi direct sales force. Pricing for the Hitachi Simple Modular Storage system starts at just under $5,000.00.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.