Hitachi Introduces Freedom Storage Lightning 9900

Hitachi Data Systems Corp. rolled out the first product in a new line of storage systems based on an internal switch-network architecture.

Hitachi's (www.hds.com) Freedom Storage Lightning 9900 is based on the Hi-Star architecture that Hitachi says improves upon the shared bus architecture of current subsystems. The Lightning 9900 features up to 6.4 GB per second of internal bandwidth.

The Lightning subsystem delivers 37 TB of storage space, twice the capacity of other storage subsystems. Lightning users will have a choice of 18 GB, 47 GB, or 73 GB drives, each packaged in a 3.0-inch form factor and spinning at 10,025 RPM. The drives will run across 32 Fibre-Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL) configurations to eliminate a bottleneck to performance.

"[The Lightning 9900] is a technically advanced product," says Dan Tanner senior analyst at the Aberdeen Group Inc. (www.aberdeen.com). "It's a very high-end, enterprise-level product that seems to be capable of great scalability, performance, and reliability."

Because of a recent reorganization within Hitachi, however, Tanner says the Lightning 9900 "won't be on the radar screens of the decision makers, and it should be."

Lightning will offer copy software such as Freedom Storage 7700E, ShadowImage, Asynchronous Remote Copy, and NanoCopy, as well as support for IBM Corp.'s (www.ibm.com) Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex (GDPS).

The Hi-Star architecture provides switched point-to-point connectivity between disks, cache, and host interfaces. Separate connections are used for data and control paths. To further expedite performance, Lightning incorporates multiple sold-state cache memories -- up to 32 GB of fully usable cache capacity for data. Control information is kept in separate memory banks.

Lightning provides up to 32 Fibre Channel or ESCON ports to hosts or SANs. Lightning storage is designed to operate with several server platforms, including Unix, Windows NT/2000, Linux, Novell NetWare, and OS/390.