Hitachi Data Systems, BlueArc team to push into high-end NAS market

Hitachi Data Systems and BlueArc are partnering to offer an advanced file and block virtualization system that will push them into the high-end NAS market.

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) today announced a worldwide OEM partnership with network storage provider BlueArc Corporation in a strategic move that both companies say will drive significant share gains in the fast-growing, high-performance computing storage market. HDS also introduced the Hitachi High-Performance NAS platform, which it said is the most advanced file and block virtualization system.

"We're doing this to enter the high-performance NAS marketplace. Our offering will be the most advanced file and block virtualization system available in the market today," said Dave Roberson, Hitachi Data Systems' president and chief executive officer. "We see this as an industry changing opportunity for us," Roberson added.

Under the terms of the agreement, HDS will make a private equity investment in BlueArc, but declined to give further details. In addition, BlueArc will resell HDS' entire line of storage systems and solutions.

While Roberson said he's excited about the prospects, others see the move as a reality check for HDS, which has been waning in the NAS storage market and needed to round out its offerings to stay competitive.

"Hitachi lacks a credible NAS solution and needed to do something about it particularly as IBM and NetApp have come closer together and EMC has got a credible NAS solution," said Daniel Renouard, senior research analyst covering storage and computer hardware at Robert Baird. "I think what HDS is trying to say with this announcement is that this fills out their product portfolio," Renouard added.

By teaming with BlueArc, HDS hopes to enter new vertical markets and said many customers have expressed strong interest in the combination of technologies that will address customer challenges in performance, scalabilility and cost.

"We're doing this to bring our dominance in block-level virtualization to the file-based world," Roberson said. "Already we've seen healthy demands from our prospects in the installed base, and we've made a substantial number of quotes to our customers and we're getting calls. We see that as a very positive sign," Roberson added.

Mike Gustafson, BlueArc's president and CEO said the partnership will allow both companies to accelerate the benefits of high-performance file services in the marketplace, which will yield significant benefits for customers.

"This is an industry changing partnership as it creates a combination of best-in-class solutions recognizing and enabling the next phase in high-performance file services," Gustafson said.

Gustafson also noted that BlueArc will be able to leverage HDS' global enterprise channels and customers to expand its market reach.

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