Hitachi Data Systems has announced its TagmaStore AMS 1000, which offers over 200TB of capacity (falling between EMC's DMX2000 and DMX 3000) and both Fibre Channel and Serial ATA (SATA) drives. It's called a successor to the 'ultra high-end midrange Thunder 9585V system.

This makes a long way up the drive array capacity/performance ladder compared to EMC's Clariion AX150, also announced today. In EMC terms the AMS1000 is, I think, a Symmetrix-class array and not in the Clariion camp at all, being more capable than a CX700. However, it is much more than just a drive array.

Clever controller
In keeping with the HDS view of virtualisation and highly-intelligent storage controllers the AMS 1000 controller can present its storage as Fibre Channel or iSCSI block storage and also as file-based NAS (network-attached storage).

Data can be moved non-disruptively across the tiers of storage in the AMS1000; this is called logical unit migration software.

HDS quotes Carl Greiner, a senior VP with Ovum, who said: “Most data centres, including small and medium-sized enterprises, are beginning to merge their SAN and network attached storage using a NAS gateway to link into the SAN. Ideally, customers would like the choice of including multiple protocols within a given array: FC, IP, and iSCSI. While these technologies have often been viewed as ‘either/or’ technologies, as we predicted, these have now become ‘and’ technologies and will be for at least the next ten years.”

Of course, customers can do this with NAS gateways plugged into a fabric-based storage virtualisation/management facility or director. It is Hitachi's belief that storage networks should be relatively dumb and that storage controllers should be relatively intelligent, very intelligent in fact. The Ovum analyst is not saying anything about that.

As a drive array
As a pure drive array it can hold 250GB, 400GB or 500GB 7,200rpm SATA drives. There can be also either 10,000rpm FC drives (73GB, 146GB or 300GB) or 15,000rpm FC drives (73GB or 146GB).

It offers 13GB/sec bandwidth, supports 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel connectivity, and also can have up to 4,096 LUNs and 16GB of cache. There is RAID-6 dual parity striping.

It makes up to 32 logical cache partitions available, meaning there can be up to 32 storage applications accessing it simultaneously. The cache partitions can be tuned for each application.

It sits above the AMS200 and AMS500 in HDS' range but below the TagmaStore USP1100.

Stand-alone or integrated
The AMS1000 can function as a stand-alone array or as part of a tiered storage structure operated by an HDS virtualising controller such as the NSC (Network Storage Controller) or the TagmaStore UPS itself.

The AMS1000 has no UPS or NSC-like virtualising capability.

HDS says the AMS1000 is an adaptable and modular mid-range storage offering. The company's CTO, Hu Yoshida, said: “The problem with the boxes that are being delivered by the competition is that they still scale capacity faster than they scale performance." He characterises the AMS1000 as a new product that scales both performance and capacity levels up from the AMS500.

HDS has also announced version 5 of its HiCommand Suite for storage administrators.