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Top 5 Developments Shaping Future of Hitachi Vantara

New leadership team refocusing company on storage and taking its trusted sustainable technology to hybrid cloud and midrange marketplace

This report, published on June 26, 2024, was witten by Ken Clipperton, analyst at Data Center Intelligence Group LLC (DCIG).



Top 5 Developments Shaping the Future of Hitachi Vantara

Hitachi Vantara (HV)’s new leadership team is refocusing the company on storage and taking its trusted sustainable technology to the hybrid cloud and midrange marketplace.

DCIG has long respected and recognized HV for its world-class storage solutions, including its high-end storage arrays, HCI, and SDS solutions.

However, beyond HV’s core customer base in highly risk-averse verticals such as banking, financial services, insurance, and government, its products have historically lacked visibility among infrastructure architects and IT decision-makers in the broader commercial marketplace. This situation seems poised to change, thanks to 5 significant developments at HV over the past 18 months.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are my opinions based on presentations and conversations at Hitachi Vantara’s Analyst Live 2024 event but do not necessarily reflect the official stance of HV. HV covered my costs for attending the event, but no one asked me to write about my observations.

Development #1: New leadership team
Over the past 18 months, HV has undergone a significant leadership transformation. A fresh team is at the helm, including a new CEO, CFO, CPO, and CTO. Notably, these leaders all have a storage background, signaling a renewed focus on HV’s core storage expertise. With their critical mass based in Santa Clara, CA, this leadership team is attuned to the requirements of the USA market.

Development #2: Focus on storage
In some ways, the new product focus is a return to the pre-Pentaho-acquisition and consulting practice days. Instead of positioning HV as a digital infrastructure and services vendor, the company’s leaders can once again say, “We are a storage and data infrastructure company.”

This shift emphasizes HV’s commitment to providing the essential data foundation for innovation.

  • Key aspects of this focus include:

    SDS: HV leaders emphasized that SDS is its core technology for the future. This suggests a move away from its proprietary flash modules and toward commodity storage media.

  • Hybrid Cloud: The company aspires to be a major player in storage for hybrid cloud environments, allowing organizations to deploy storage anywhere they need storage, whether on-premises, in colocation facilities, at the edge, via MSPs, and in hyperscale clouds. The hardware independence provided by software-defined storage is fundamental to this hybrid cloud deployment flexibility.

Virtual Storage Platform One is the hybrid cloud storage data platform that unifies HV’s storage portfolio, simplifying management and enhancing performance.

Hitachi iQ is HV’s AI solution suite for organizations investing in AI/ML workloads. Leveraging AI, this platform optimizes infrastructure for AI workloads.

Development #3: Expansion into midrange market
HV has traditionally been associated with high-end storage, with a significant footprint in banking, financial services, insurance, and government. The company is seeking to grow in the midrange market, making its storage technology accessible to a broader audience.

The recent announcement of the Hitachi Vantara Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) One Block product exemplifies this shift. It is designed for mid-sized businesses and IT generalists. Management is via a management UI running on dedicated hardware on the controller. It is delivered as a pre-configured 2U rack-mountable appliance that installs in about 30mn. It offers up to 1.8PB effective capacity after 4:1 guaranteed data reduction and includes a 100% data availability guarantee.

Development #4: Enanced Visibility and partnerships
As noted in the opening of this article, DCIG has long respected and recognized HV for its world-class storage solutions, but its products have historically lacked visibility among midsize enterprise infrastructure architects and IT decision-makers.

HV recently conducted research that confirmed this impression, especially in the North American market. To change this reality, HV leaders expressed a new commitment to showing up.

This commitment manifests through enhanced partnerships and visibility efforts:

  • Global System Integrators: Collaborations with global system integrators are designed to strengthen HV’s ecosystem-driven market presence. For example, Kyndryl added HV technology to Kyndryl’s Private Cloud Services portfolio in January 2024.
  • Hyperscalers: HV is engaging with hyperscale cloud providers, recognizing their large influence in shaping the industry landscape. HV leaders said that the hyperscalers are coming to HV to add HV’s storage capabilities to the hyperscalers’ offerings. A prime example is the “Virtual Storage Platform One Software Defined Storage Block” available in the AWS Marketplace.
  • Enhanced Enterprise Infrastructure Partnerships: Notably, the recently enhanced partnership with Cisco announced in January 2024, underscores HV’s approach to partnering outside its core product focus.
  • Press Releases: HV is actively sharing its progress, product launches, and strategic moves through timely press releases to enhance its visibility with IT decision-makers.

Development #5: Steady focus on sustainability
One thing that has not changed is HV’s commitment to sustainability. The company has integrated environmentally responsible practices into its business and products for more than a decade. This commitment to sustainability aligns with the Hitachi parent corporation’s broader corporate ethos.

HV’s recently published FY23 Sustainability Report opens with this statement from its CEO, Sheila Rohra: “From our eco-friendly storage products incorporating cutting edge CO2 reduction technology, to the decarbonization efforts we are expanding across our global operations and supply chain, to the use of intelligent data lifecycle management that optimizes sustainable outcomes for our customers, Hitachi Vantara is walking the talk as a thought leader for what responsible business and social innovation looks like.”

Strategy, trust, and execution leadership team
“When I served as the IT director at a Buena Vista University, I repeatedly told my staff, “If we will think strategically, trust one another, and then execute well, we can accomplish phenomenal things.”” (And we did.)

HV’s new leadership team is strong on strategy. Will it succeed in building the required trust in one another–and across the company–which is foundational to good execution? And will it go on to execute its priorities well? Early indicators are encouraging, and I, for one, certainly hope they succeed.

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