Hitachi Data Systems isn’t the first storage vendor (i.e. NetApp and 3Par) to come out with a guarantee, but it is arguably the first to offer to pay customers if they don’t reduce their storage capacity by 50 percent or more by using Hitachi virtualization technologies.

There are some qualifiers, says Joe Jose, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Global Services at Hitachi Data Systems, but the company is confident it can deliver the goods.

"We’re so committed and feel confident we’re actually providing money back to the customers," he says. "It does show our leadership in this space, and our experience in this space… (and) confidence in our channel partners."

3PAR announced a 50 percent capacity savings guarantee in mid-January to customers converting from existing ‘fat’ volumes on traditional storage to new thin volumes on any 3PAR InServ® Storage Server with Thin Built In. For its part, NetApp has been offering a storage virtualization guarantee for 16 months, and last February extended it to include EMC, IBM, HP, and HDS storage systems. Under the addition to its Virtualization Guarantee Program, NetApp is offering a guarantee that customers will decrease their non-NetApp primary storage capacity for virtual server environments by 35 percent using its V-Series and deduplication technology.

HDS claims its hardware, software and services for storage reclamation, dynamic provisioning and virtualization ‘have a combined economic impact that drastically reduces the operating costs of a customer’s storage environment.’ The company states that its Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning software has helped customers realize more than 65 percent reduction in storage capacity by applying best practices in cost savings.

Under the Storage Capacity Reclamation Guarantee program, HDS will rebate money to the customer for the difference between the storage reduction guaranteed and the storage used. The guarantee is for the raw storage capacity for migrating from third party RAID-1 source environments to dynamically provisioned RAID-5 target environments. For any third party RAID-5 environment, HDS will guarantee a 20 percent storage capacity reduction.

According to Jose, more than a third of the target market is still on RAID-1, and a key reason HDS has introduced the guarantee is because this market has reached an "inflection point of the curve" and will start moving to RAID-5. The company wanted to provide a stronger value proposition to this market, says Jose, but there’s also a big opportunity with customers in non-RAID environments.

It’s also a big opportunity for the channel, he says. "For our channel partners, I think it’s important that they go with an enterprise partner that has a significant track record." By using a vendor like HDS, channel partners can reduce customers’ risks with virtualization and dynamic provisioning, "and the guarantee is another element to lower that risk," adds Jose. "What puts us very much over the top is we’re providing our channel partners’ customers a money back guarantee."