A different kind of HDS
According to HDS or Hitachi Data Systems’ Chief Executive Officer, Jack Domme, traditional customers would have viewed HDS as a high-end storage array vendor for the longest time. But a lot has happened in two years and HDS is a radically different company than it was few years ago.
“We have expanded much more to now being a core infrastructure in data management now,” Domme explained.
Besides that, software and services now account for over 60-percent of their revenue, and a new business unit for Social Innovations, was set up.
Part of this is due to the industry seeing more tech and business disruption today than in the last 30 years. HDS’ Chief Operating Officer, Brian Householder observed, “This is what we need to be used to now, more than ever before.”
Digital and (big) data
And as digital-born companies like Uber and Airbnb start to rise and grow into having valuations that are larger than some hotel chains, big data and analytics (BDA) as a tool for competitive advantage and eking out new innovative revenue streams is becoming more and more relevant.
Take satellite imaging for example. What if HDS tech was leveraged to run analytics on images showing the parking density of large retailers’ parking lots. That could be valuable data to sell to financial organisations for example.
“We are talking about petabytes upon petabytes of data,” Householder described.
Big data and analytics is also part of the rationale behind HDS’ investments moving up the stack and their recent tech innovations like the HUS or Hitachi Unified Storage platform, which HDS’ CEO described as being able to handle big data, in capacities that are more than what Hadoop already can. HDS spent over USD1 billion in acquisitions, the last 4 years.
According to Householder there was a need for HDS to do big data, and that HDS wants “…to run analytics not just in one environment. It needs to be across the enterprise. We are talking about petabytes of data that can be moved around, without taking the environment down.”
This requires a fundamental shift in the architecture and the tech investments they have to make, and Householder admitted that their recent acquisition, Pentaho, “…was front and centre in how we go solve problems.”
HDS strategy – solution- and data-oriented
Moving forward HDS had known that data has to be independent of apps and the infrastructure.
Householder explained, “There has to be data independence – the need for data to be independent from the applications that create it, and the underlying infrastructure. This is especially since apps have a short shelf life, and infrastructure has about 2 to 4 years.
“Data is going to outlive both.”
Then, HDS also decided to take their solutions further by being interoperable with rival products.
Householder admitted, “Virtualising competing assets had been a controversial question, a few years ago.
“Infrastructures are usually only 20 to 40 percent utilised. Now, it is up to about 60 to 80-percent utilised, even competitors’ products. And businesses can get a 2 to 3 times return on their existing assets.”
Besides emphasising data ownership via the use of metadata and supporting open formats and communities, HDS also sees how integration of information is integral for businesses. This they enable by virtualising the data layer across all data types. “This is something that our Pentaho acquisition, has been instrumental in making happen,” said Householder.
He opined that compared to traditional providers, HDS now is a number one provider of value-for-money in terms of solutions around virtualisation, virtualising competitor assets and increased utilisation rates.
(This journalist was a guest of HDS’ to their APAC Influencer Summit in Shanghai, China)