Hitachi Data Systems last week said it has enhanced its largest storage arrays with software and hardware that gives the TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform (USP) a 25 percent performance boost.

The company has enhanced the microcode and added optional 4Gbps Fibre Channel controllers, iSCSI connections and new load-balancing capabilities among the processors to allow the TagmaStore to operate at 2.5 million I/Os per second.

TagmaStore, which is available in three models - the USP 100, 600 and 1100 - is aimed at large enterprises running applications that process online transactions or consolidating storage and server environments.

The TagmaStore's virtualisation capability can manage as much as 32 petabytes of external and internal Fibre Channel, network-attached, ESCON or FICON storage.

With this release, the company has also added iSCSI support.

"Customers can consolidate a large number of servers through the box," says David Floyer, CTO for IT consultancy Barometrix. "You can connect them with these virtual ports and reduce the cost of the connection."

The USP also features performance enhancements to its Hitachi Universal Replicator and ShadowImage In-System Replication software, which assist in safeguarding data for regulatory compliance or disaster recovery.

The Universal Replicator, long-distance replication software, now can accommodate the distribution of 64KB data volumes across as many as four TagmaStore USPs. Previous TagmaStore arrays could replicate data only between two systems.

The software also has a new capability called Delta Resync for open system and mainframe environments that allows a customer to recover to a local or intermediate site when the primary site has failed. The new capability copies only data differences from the intermediate site to the disaster-recovery site during the recovery process, thus saving on the amount of data replicated and the time it takes.

The Hitachi ShadowImage In-System Replication, which allows data replication within the array itself, has been enhanced to accommodate more data volumes and has as much as 300 percent increased performance, according to Hitachi. It can now perform as many as 128 concurrent operations, a fourfold increase over previous TagmaStores.

"From a practical point of view, the performance enhancement of the replication engine is the most important," Floyer says. "What could have been considered a bottleneck before is now four times as fast."

Further, Hitachi is adding audit capabilities to the TagmaStore that logs a history of all user-access operations for compliance purposes or for investigating the cause of errors. Customers can export this audit log to a variety of formats.

Hitachi says it has shipped more than 3,000 TagmaStores since the product's introduction in September 2004.

The cost of the upgraded TagmaStore starts at US$600,000. The Universal Replicator and Shadow Image software are expected to be available next month. There is no cost for the upgraded microcode. The 32-port 4Gbps switch for the TagmaStore costs $100,000.

TagmaStore competes with IBM's TotalStorage DS8000 and EMC's Symmetrix DMX-3.

While Hitachi has virtualisation capability built in to the TagmaStore, both IBM and EMC offer this capability via separate appliances. Further, Hitachi has a natural distribution channel for its products - both HP and Sun Microsystems offer rebranded TagmaStores.