Hitachi Data Systems is trying to turn technology acquired from Cofio Systems into a better way of managing copies of data throughout an organization.
HDS today launched Hitachi Data Instance Manager (HDIM), based on Cofio's host-based AIMstor software.
HDIM incorporates AIMstor's policy management, continuous data protection (CDP), file versioning, data deduplication at the source and target, index and search, monitoring and other data protection features. HDIM will use those capabilities to capture data and make it accessible across different recovery points instead of requiring separate versions spread throughout storage devices.
HDS plans to eventually expand HDIM to manage files and email on its Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) archiving system and may eventually integrate the technology into its storage arrays.
Sean Moser, HDS vice president of software product management, described HDIM as "our first step along the path" of giving customers more information about data flows and limiting the number of files created by backups, snapshots and replication and archiving systems.
"We're providing a holistic approach," he said. "Other vendors have multiple siloed tools. Our biggest competitor [EMC] has many ways of creating copies, and they're all independent."
Doss Karan, HDS senior director of data protection, added: "Five different tools will create five different copies, so we're trying to get one tool that will do all of those things, and reduce the number of copies."
The HDS strategy on copy data is similar to that of startup Actifio, which is off to a good start with its Protection and Availability Storage (PAS) appliances to limit data copies.
"We're recognizing the same problem [as Actifio]," Moser said. "Actifio is trying to fix the problem in other environments while we're doing it across our portfolio. They're looking at fixing other people's messes, while we're trying to keep our systems clean."
Ashish Nadkarni, IDC storage systems research director, said he expects to see other larger vendors go after the same problem. He also thinks HDIM could help Actifio because customers might be reluctant to adopt an approach supported by only one vendor, especially a startup.
"The problem of having too many copies is there," Nadkarni said. "The question is, how do you tackle the problem? Only Actifio is making noise about it, but Hitachi, EMC, and others will say, 'We are doing it our way.'"
Nadkarni said HDIM was the logical way for HDS to use Cofio technology, but he expects the technology to show up in more HDS products. "It's all host-based now," he said. "Eventually they will have to port it into their array and move the intelligence in-band."
HDS is known best for primary storage, but does have data protection products such as Hitachi Application Protector, which uses snapshots to protect Microsoft Exchange, SQL and SharePoint, Hitachi Replication Manager for array-based replication, and Hitachi Data Protection Suite backup software powered by CommVault.