ESG Gives Hitachi Lightning Thumbs Up

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The Enterprise Storage Group Lab has kicked the tires on the Hitachi Data Systems Lightning 9980V storage system and found it worthy.

In a report entitled “Hitachi Lightning 9980V: Enterprise Storage Consolidation Analysis,” ESG Lab said it is “extremely impressed with Hitachi’s Host Storage Domains, Virtual Storage Ports, and Priority Access software, which contribute to greater storage consolidation above and beyond the competition.”

ESG Lab’s Tony Asaro told Enterprise Storage Forum that there are a number of features in the 9980V that are “extremely competitive.”

Host Storage Domains, for starters, lets multiple hosts, each with a LUN 0 address, share single physical ports on the HDS Lightning, enabling remote booting. “This allows customers to manage their host environments much more efficiently,” says Asaro.

The Host Storage Domains function also creates security between servers accessing the same physical port so they cannot access each other. Priority Access enables QoS (Quality of Service) on those ports to control performance and give different servers different priority levels. “The combination of these technologies can play an important role in storage consolidation,” states Asaro.

HDS also offers the most capacity of enterprise-class storage subsystems – up to 1,024 drives – another important factor in consolidation, Asaro told ESF. The Lightning also “has some great management capabilities when adding storage online,” such as remote booting, server swapping, and data migration.

“The HDS Hi-Star architecture is very impressive,” Asaro continues. “It can perform 96 concurrent operations, which is the most that we have found compared to other products in its class. And it supports something called Control Memory — this is a separate cache, or what we call meta-cache. It
has its own I/O paths and intelligence to perform configuration functions and operations separate from the data cache. Control Memory is unique to the HDS design, and plays a major role in improving performance.”

As an example, with the meta-cache, configuration information is dynamic, in contrast to static configurations that require periodic bin file changes. “This eliminates virtually all of the causes for scheduled downtimes, a very important consideration in any consolidation and high availability strategy,” the ESG Lab report states.

Storage consolidation is the process of taking multiple storage systems and reducing them in number. ESG Lab spoke to one HDS customer, a Fortune 50 insurance company, that went from 18 storage systems to eight. The customer reduced overall infrastructure costs and simplified data storage management without compromising service levels. A Fortune 50 bank was able to reduce from eight to one the number of storage systems required to support 80,000 Microsoft Exchange users.

ESG Lab said customers reported that “the Lightning 9980V was extremely reliable and was never a cause for unplanned downtime.”

A primary goal for storage consolidation is to reduce the complexity of storage management, and ESG Lab found that the Lightning 9980V was “extremely easy to manage.” The Lightning 9980V simplifies a number of important management issues, according to ESG Lab, including growing storage capacity, moving data, installing new servers, and upgrading servers.

ESG Lab also talked to customers that are booting servers from the Lightning 9980V and performing online code upgrades without any issues.

The complete report is available at

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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