Disks is a commodity - Hitachi Data Systems has announced a diskless network storage controller that lets organisations use their choice of storage hardware, instead of requiring HDS' arrays as the back-end storage.

"Why should people pay a premium for [disks] when they don't want to?" commented John Webster, an analyst with Data Mobility Group. "Why don't we just separate the two and let customers buy one and match up the storage on the back the way they want to?"

The Hitachi TagmaStore Network Storage Controller model NSC55 "Disk-less" version provides the same functionality as the Hitachi TagmaStore Network Storage Controller model NSC55, announced last July, said Claus Mikkelsen, chief scientist for HDS.

"This is going to appeal to a broad range of customers," said Webster. "Large end-users have wanted to do exactly this for a long time. Midrange customer would like a way to acquire a virtualised storage environment just by buying the controller, because that's where the virtualisation is."

The device comes in two configurations: one starts with 4 Gbyte of cache and 16 Fibre Channel ports, for $90,000, and the other starts with 64 Gbyte of cache and 48 Fibre Channel ports, for US$175,000. The devices are generally available this week.