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Hitachi Data Systems Corp. is enabling small and midsize businesses to take advantage of storage area networks in a new initiative that opens HDS’ storage systems to channel partners.

HDS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., last week unveiled its midrange SATA (Serial ATA)-based Hitachi Thunder 9520V Workgroup Modular Storage System.

Available now and built for channel partners to reach undermanned and cost-constrained SMBs, the Thunder 9520V system will anchor new HDS SAN Starter Solution offerings.

These offerings feature preconfigured storage systems and components from SAN infrastructure vendors including Brocade Communications Systems Inc., McData Corp. and Emulex Corp., said Karen Sigman, senior director of Global Channels for HDS, based in Santa Clara, Calif.

As the newest addition to the Hitachi Thunder 9500V Series, the Thunder 9520V delivers 4.2GB per second of cached bandwidth and features many of the higher-end 9500V’s capabilities, including the SATA Intermix Option for SATA Data Protection and support of the Hi-Track “call home” technology to diagnose and solve problems.

Click here to read about HDS’s TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform.

In addition, the SMB offering features the 9500V’s Hitachi Resource Manager utility package and the optional Hitachi ShadowImage In-System Replication application, Copy-on-Write software, formerly called QuickShadow, and Cross-System Copy, formerly named HiCopy.

Unlike other products in the Thunder product family, the 9520V cannot be upgraded to other Thunder systems, analysts said. The storage hardware scales to more than 13TB of raw capacity with up to 2GB of mirrored cache.

Preconfigured SAN Starter Solutions offered in conjunction with the 9520V include HBA (host bus adapter) and switch offerings such as the Brocade SilkWorm 3252, the Emulex LP101 HBA and the McData Sphereon 4500 fabric switch.

Compared by analysts with other low-end storage offerings such as EMC Corp.’s CX 300 and Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Modular Smart Array 1500, the Thunder 9520V is priced around $23,000 for a 3.4TB dual-controller configuration, Sigman said.

Mark Teter, chief technology officer of HDS partner Advanced Systems Group Inc., in Denver, said the Thunder 9520V is perfect for the SMB looking for a scalable, high-performance storage array with low-cost capacity.

“Some of our clients have been buying [storage] disks for their servers, and they’ve been running into problems all over the place,” said Teter. “They don’t have ability to do upgrades or planned downtimes without coming in on the weekend or staying overnight. … It’s really pent-up demand.”

By mitigating planned and unplanned downtime through a constructed Workgroup SAN, Teter said customers will be able to decouple their storage from servers at remote branch-office locations while getting a better handle on Microsoft Corp. applications. It also helps them perform more complex data management functions such as disaster recovery, centralized backups and an ILM (information lifecycle management) strategy, he said.

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