Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has launched two "cloud" storage systems which it says could help customers lower their costs and improve efficiency. The first, dubbed the Hitachi Cloud Service for Private File Tiering, is essentially an on-premise, managed pay-per-use storage service for unstructured data.HDS said the service could help organisations reduce total cost of ownership by 25 per cent, through the simplified management, improved efficiency and scaled use of primary network attached storage (NAS) environments that move legacy or lower-value file data to a “private cloud located within the customer’s firewall”.HDS chief file and content strategist Miki Sandorfi said the HDS storage appliances, with a capacity of up to 40 petabytes of usable storage in a single cluster, would reside in the customer’s data centre, but would be securely managed remotely, with 24-hour break-fix and maintenance support.“[They] don’t pay up front for storage used and can use additional storage when needed,” he said. “Best of all, they don’t need any resources to manage their private cloud environment.”He added that the massive growth of unstructured data residing in file shares or home directories is often stored in multiple independent file servers or NAS appliances that are costly to manage.Tony Lock, programme director at IT analyst Freeform Dynamics, told V3.co.uk that the HDS approach looked promising, especially as often only the largest organisations could afford to have IT storage expertise on-site.But he added that HDS had capitalised on the fact that the term ‘cloud’ can currently be interpreted in many different ways: “The vendors have decided ‘internal cloud’ has far more legs than ‘external cloud’.”Lock also expressed doubts over how the HDS pay-per-use model would fit alongside traditional IT budget and procurement practices, such as recharging departments for the data they store. “We’ll have to wait and see,” he added.The second HDS offering is a white label cloud storage system.It bundles HDS kit together with applications and services partners – the first being Digi-Data – to provide an IT infrastructure for building and deploying online cloud services to consumers and small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs).HDS said providers will also have access to metering features and billing systems to charge end-users based on consumption, as well as application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate their own applications, business and processing systems and end-user interfaces with the cloud infrastructure.Lock added: “It will be what cloud services providers do to add value on top of the HDS infrastructure that will be interesting."
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