Revolutionary Internal Switched Fabric Will Power the New Economy's Information Infrastructure
New Subsystem is Scalable up to 37 Terabytes; 5X Increase in Throughput Supports Vast Data Warehouses and Other Data-Intensive Applications
26 June 2000 — Paving the way for on-going expansion of e-commerce applications in the New Economy, Hitachi Data Systems today announced the Freedom Storage™ Lightning 9900™, the first in a new generation of storage systems based on an internal switch-network architecture. Lightning's revolutionary Hi-Star™ storage architecture (patent pending) provides a highly scalable, highly reliable, very-high-performance framework for a new set of information-management solutions. (See accompanying press release.)
"Extremely large capacity, superior performance, and non-stop business are what our customers tell us they want from storage solutions as they move forward in the Internet Age," said Marlene Woodworth, Hitachi Data Systems Vice President of Product Management and Marketing for Enterprise Products. "Our Freedom Storage Lightning 9900 is the first storage system that delivers on all counts, setting a new standard in networked storage against which future systems will be measured.
"Building on this powerful platform, Hitachi Data Systems will deliver solutions adapted to meet the needs of customers in specific geographies. For example, with the Lightning 9900 and our software, customers can easily consolidate as many as five storage systems into a single Lightning and automate management tasks. This means reduced complexity and lower cost of ownership. With the Lightning 9900 we will help not only our Global 2000 customers as they move to deploy e-business applications, but also a whole new set of Internet-based ventures as they attain leadership positions."
With its industry-first internal switched fabric design, the new Hi-Star™ architecture dispels some of the worst nightmares of e-commerce executives. They'll sleep well because their systems will be able to handle giant peaks in Web-site activity. Their staffs will not have to operate overly complex system environments. They'll be able to recover data fast enough following a disaster to keep business moving forward. They'll be able to add new capacity and new features without disrupting their applications. And they'll be able to complete their data backup operations within the ever-shrinking windows of time available for this purpose.
Just as fibre channel switches have broken the bottleneck of SCSI-attached storage to create scalable Storage Area Networks (SANs), Hi-Star's new internal switching technology replaces the shared-bus architecture of current subsystems to provide the high levels of scalability required to meet the growing information-access demands of e-commerce.
The Lightning 9900's new internal switch architecture, developed and manufactured by Hitachi, Ltd., is a powerful complement to the external switches used to attach the storage unit to SANs. It is a unique means of assuring that high-speed data delivered through the SAN fabric will not encounter a performance bottleneck inside the storage unit itself.
The multiple, non-blocking data paths created within the new internal-switch architecture enable the Lightning subsystem to increase throughput even as additional load is brought to bear. Up to 6.4 gigabytes (GB) per second of internal bandwidth — by far the largest in the industry — ensures that the Lightning 9900 will scale to meet demand.
One of the cornerstones of Lightning's Hi-Star architecture is the ability to scale capacity with no impact on performance. At 37 terabytes (TB), the Lightning subsystem delivers twice the capacity of any other subsystem offered to customers. Moreover, it runs as well at 37 TB as it does at 1 TB - an outcome much in contrast with the performance limitations imposed by competitive offerings utilizing conventional internal "shared bus" architectures. This dramatic increase in the amount of storage capacity that can be delivered within a subsystem footprint provides an important cost benefit for storage and applications service providers who typically rent floor space in data communications centers with no room for easy expansion.
Lightning users will have a choice of 18 GB, 47 GB, or 73 GB disk drives, each packaged in a 3.0-inch form factor and spinning at 10,025 rpm. At a time when the rest of the industry is still supplying disk drives spinning at only 7,200 rpm, Lightning uses these fast drives across 32 Fibre-Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL) configurations to eliminate a major bottleneck to increased performance.
Building on Hitachi Data Systems' reputation for "bulletproof" reliability, Lightning offers complete redundancy and hot-replaceable capabilities in its components and will deliver all the industry-leading business-continuity software functions provided with the existing standard product, the Freedom Storage 7700E. These functions include copy software such as ShadowImage, Asynchronous Remote Copy, and NanoCopy,™ as well as the only proven support for IBM's Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex™ (GDPS™).
Lightning eliminates performance bottlenecks by replacing the widely used shared-bus structure with Hi-Star, an internal network of redundant, high-performance switches. Hi-Star provides switched point-to-point connectivity among disks, cache, and host interfaces. As with the 7700E subsystem, separate connections are used for data and control paths. To further expedite performance, Lightning incorporates multiple solid-state cache memories - up to 32GB of fully usable cache capacity for data. Control information is kept in separate memory banks.
Taking advantage of all these architectural improvements, Lightning is designed to move large blocks of data about five times as fast as the 7700E and to execute approximately four times as many small-data-block transactions as the 7700E, which is already the world's highest performing multi-platform subsystem. These remarkable improvements in performance translate directly to increased revenue and profits for companies whose businesses depend on e-commerce applications.
Lightning provides up to 32 Fibre Channel or ESCON® ports to hosts or Storage Area Networks (SANs). Lightning storage is designed to operate with a wide variety of the server platforms found throughout the enterprise, including UNIX®, Windows NT/2000®, Linux®, Novell NetWare®, and OS/390®.
The company also stated it will support the use of 100 megabyte per second Fibre Channel links between remotely connected Lightning 9900 subsystems, enabling users to have a high-throughput alternative to the 17 megabyte per second ESCON connections conventionally used in Remote Copy solutions. The capability provides the potential for open-systems customers to install a wide range of components to extend their Fibre Channel infrastructures.
The Freedom Storage Lightning 9900 Model 9960, a multiple-frame configuration, will be generally available in July with 18 GB or 47 GB disk drives. The 73 GB drives will be available in 4th Quarter this year, enabling full 37 TB capacity.
Brown Brothers Harriman of Jersey City, New Jersey, the oldest and largest privately owned bank in the U.S., is an e-commerce participant that is able to make leading-edge promises of support to its clients as a result of successfully implementing a Freedom Storage solution. "Our commitment to clients is a strong differentiator for us in the highly competitive commercial banking business," said Jeff Teisch, Vice President, Brown Brothers Harriman. "After installing the 7700E and its Hitachi Extended Remote Copy solution, we've been able to promise by far the fastest recovery of data even in the case of a full-fledged disaster. We're looking for the new Lightning 9900 to provide us with even greater performance and recovery enhancements."
StorageWay of Fremont, California is a leading company delivering managed storage services to the Net economy. "We've partnered with Hitachi Data Systems since the founding of the company," said Peter Shambora, President and CEO of StorageWay. "Hitachi's technology delivers the manageability, scalability, and performance that our customers require. StorageWay is deploying the Lightning 9900 in our facilities to provide our customers with 'best-of-breed' storage as a utility."
"As a leader in electronic payment services, and now the Internet, our business depends entirely on fast, reliable, and uninterrupted access to data," said Marvin Lloyd, Associate Director of Technical Support for Total System Services of Columbus, Georgia. "We're currently satisfying most of our storage needs with the Hitachi Freedom Storage 7700E, and any solution that promises to improve on what the 7700E already delivers is sure to catch our attention. We expect the new Lightning product to be a strong candidate as we scale up to meet our storage needs for the future and exceed our customers expectations."
"The Lightning 9900 is storage lightning that strikes on three dimensions - performance, scalability, and availability - that Net economy enterprises require," said David Hill, Research Director, Storage and Storage Management, Aberdeen Group. "On the performance side it can master peak demand surges that will keep the Web cash registers ringing instead of turning away would-be buyers. The storage-mountain-climbing scalability eases the process that many e-Commerce companies face of adding terabytes quickly by the ton. The dual redundancy features mean that the 9900 delivers the 24x7 availability that allow a sound night's sleep. This lightning strikes the target right on three times." "The new Hitachi Lightning Series has the design attributes of a Ferrari pickup truck; to be as nimble and racy as a Ferrari, yet as capacious and useful as a pickup truck," said Dan Tanner, Senior Analyst, Storage and Storage Management, Aberdeen Group.
"The Hitachi Lightning 9900 is an ideal storage subsystem for SSPs, ISPs, and ASPs, especially because of its partitioning capabilities, and megabyte per square foot advantage," said Mike Kahn, President and CEO, The Clipper Group. "For sites with the largest storage needs, especially in a high-performance e-business environment, Lightning redefines the industry standard."
"The Lightning 9900 is now the benchmark for high-end arrays. With over 6GB/Second of internal switched bandwidth and twice the capacity of the next closest box, HDS moves to the top of the ladder, from a technical perspective. Could the 9900 put a dent in EMC's plans? Absolutely," said Steve Duplessie, Senior Analyst, The Enterprise Storage Group.
"With the introduction of the new Lightning 9900 Series, Hitachi takes a leap forward in the storage arena," said Jack Scott, Managing Partner, the Evaluator Group. "The company's new Hi-Star switch architecture further demonstrates Hitachi's commitment to technological innovation and business-enabling solutions, and sets the standard, once again."
"The incredible expansion of network-based data is driving businesses to seek creative ways to store it," said John McArthur, Vice President of Storage Research at IDC. "Hitachi's switched network architecture will allow users to scale to much higher data capacity while continuing to meet performance requirements. This capability is an increasingly important factor in customer buying decisions and gives the company an important advantage in fast-growing environments, such as eBusiness."
"The new enterprise storage architecture demonstrated in the Lightning 9900 should allow Global 2000 customers and storage service providers to scale capacity incrementally to very high levels without sacrificing performance or connectivity options. As such, it fits well with the emerging storage utility model," said John Webster, Senior Analyst and IT Advisor, Illuminata.
"With the introduction of the new Lightning 9900, Hitachi is setting a powerful benchmark for scalability, capacity, availability, and peak performance in enterprise data solutions," said Steve Denegri, First Vice President, Storage Networking Research, Morgan Keegan. "Morgan Keegan believes that Hitachi can integrate the Lightning 9900 into its Freedom Data Networking architecture to pioneer the Fibre Channel-based System Area Network as the platform of choice for high-performance Internet computing environments."
"Lightning has six times more internal bandwidth and more than two times the capacity of the competition," said William Hurley, analyst, The Yankee Group. "It is a bar raising offer that returns benefit for both consolidation and performance."
"Hitachi Freedom Storage continues to be a key component in the storage solutions we design for our customers. The 7700E delivers scalable capacity, high performance and the utmost in availability," said Scott Robinson, Chief Technology Officer, Datalink. "The Lightning 9900 enhances our enterprise-class offerings, taking performance and scalability to higher levels while, at the same time, maintaining Hitachi Data Systems' rigorous standards for ensuring data availability."
Committed to helping customers exploit the value of information technology for success in the Internet economy, Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT), is a leading provider of business solutions for the world's most information-intensive corporations. For further information on Hitachi Data Systems, access www.hds.com.
Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, is one of the world's leading global electronics companies, with fiscal 1998 (ended March 31, 1999) consolidated sales of 7,977 billion yen ($65.9 billion). The company manufactures and markets a wide range of products, including computers, semiconductors, consumer products and power and industrial equipment. For more information on Hitachi, Ltd., please visit Hitachi's Web itachi.co.site at http://www.hitachi.co.jp.
¹ At an exchange rate of 124 yen to the dollar.
Hitachi Data Systems is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a trademark and service mark of Hitachi, Ltd. Freedom Storage, Lightning 9900, NanoCopy, and Hi-Star are trademarks of Hitachi Data Systems Corporation. OS/390, ESCON, Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex, and GDPS are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. Windows NT is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. UNIX is a registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company, Limited. Novell and NetWare are registered trademarks of Novell, Incorporated.