More than a Re-Brand: HDS Becomes Hitachi Vantara

The big news out of Hitachi Next 2017 is the company is rebranding itself as Hitachi Vantara, combining the properties of Hitachi Data Systems, Pentaho and Hitachi Insight Group into a single integrated business. The goal of the new organization is to solve the world’s toughest business and societal challenges. Clearly Hitachi LTD has some very high expectations out of its new off-spring.

It Is All About Data

The world we live in is all about data. Actually, data has been at the heart of everything for decades. What makes “now” different than “then” is now we can collect data with more granularity, more frequency and more accuracy than ever before thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). Collection is just half of the challenge, data users can’t ultimately understand is useless. Data that can be processed, correlated and extrapolated has immense value. And now, thanks to scalable storage architectures, flash performance and the seemingly never ending supply of compute power we have the ability to store, quickly access and then analyze all this data that we are obsessively capturing.

Vantara, thanks in part to Hitachi LTD, has a unique position at the data table. It’s parent company is one of the largest users of operational, informational and IoT data. It also, within a single company, has all the tools and skill sets to help organizations solve end-to-end data challenges. The HDS product suite is able to store and deliver information as well as provide compute power to drive Pentaho and Insight Group solutions to correlate and analyze that data.

Filling IoT’s Critical Gap

The emerging IoT market has a critical gap which slows the time to value for companies deploying these initiatives. That gap is the time it takes to stand up solutions that can thoroughly derive value from data the company is collecting. Most implementations are in their infancy. They collect data just fine, but the analysis of that data only provides very rudimentary information.

Hitachi Vantara will continue to develop its data storage, data management and analytics technologies. It will also invest more in its Smart Data Center software to fully automate data center operations. But Vantara will also invest in IoT platforms like Lumada, which shipped its 2.0 release. Lumada is enhancing its artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and advanced analytics capabilities. It also has an elegant, portable architecture that enables it to run both on-premises or in the cloud, and supports industrial IoT deployments both at the edge and in the core.

Forget Dell and HP, Watch Out GE

Another key takeaway from Next 2017 is Hitachi is clearly changing how it wants to be perceived by its customers. It does not want to compete with Dell and HP for storage deals. It wants to compete with GE and other large conglomerates. The exhibition hall oozed solutions, or as Vantara calls it “outcomes”. While there were parts of the floor focused on traditional data center IT issues – as well as basic cloud – much of it was dedicated to solving specific industry problems. But Vantara is not “niching down,” focusing on just one industry. It is an organization with such scale that it can focus on all of them and cross collaborate between them.

StorageSwiss Take

Typically, I’m a skeptic of re-branding. We’ve seen companies re-brand product lines before in an effort to change perception. The problem is little changes inside the company and not coincidentally, outside perception does not change either. Vantara is something different. HDS, Pentaho and the Insight Group were already showing signs that the company was changing on the inside, well before the re-branding. Hitachi has been talking about leveraging its expertise in operational, informational and Internet of Thing technologies for several years. The name change is merely a confirmation of what was already occurring.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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