“Unified Storage is becoming a de facto standard”

Hitachi Data Systems

A conversation with Yogesh Sawant, Director, Partner Sales and Field Alliance Organization, India, Hitachi Data Systems on the Unified Storage Data Systems

CT: Tell us a little bit about your current job role.

Yogesh Sawant: I head the partner sales organization as well as the field alliance organization for Hitachi Data Systems in the country (India). I have been with HDS for the past nine months.

CT: How are you finding this initiative?

YS: The initiative is fantastic. It is a great company. It keeps churning out innovative solutions. It has been an exciting journey so far.

CT: Can you brief us on the current storage trends and the gaps that exist?

YS: Enterprise storage if you look at it as a trend has become a top investment this year. Enterprise storage, the top investment theme in the year 2012, is largely driven by trends in big data at data centers. The mid-range storage market is in the absolute limelight because it is the fastest growing segment in APAC as per IDC. They are predicting something close to 13.9% annual growth from 2012 – 2015, which means 44% of the storage market would be from the mid-range. That is where the unified storage or mid-range market is.

CT: How do you see the unified storage systems coming as the ideal solution at the moment?

YS: Unified storage systems are quickly becoming one of the de facto standards for delivering storage solutions. This is specifically in the enterprise mid-range market. There are number of reasons why unification of historically disparate technology systems is delivered to the customer.
1) It becomes easier to order. Multi protocols are now supported on a single platform.
2) It becomes easier to manage. You will have a single mid plane for managing all storage types.
3) It leads to lower system maintenance in the data center. Which means the environmental costs such as power and cooling will all reduce. This leads to lower service costs.

CT: Considering that there are many players in the unified storage market, what is unique about Hitachi’s Unified Storage systems?

YS: We are at the forefront to market with what we consider to be a true enterprise class unified storage solution. This enterprise class unified storage solution addresses all the stressful challenges that customers face. HDS is the only vendor to consolidate and centrally manage block, file and object data on a single platform without compromising on performance, scalability and cost. Competitors may be strong at block but weak at file, or strong at file but weak at block. Hitachi’s unified storage offering does not compromise on either. We provide the best in class block and file storage platform in the mid-range and in addition, we offer object data support that is unique and compelling in the industry.

We realize that the customer really wants an enterprise class unified storage management solution that can handle stringent service level agreements and service level objectives, which is a requirement for critical business applications. They want this without compromising on performance scalability and cost. That is precisely what HDS is bringing to the market.

CT: How would you rate the performance of Unified Storage Systems, when compared to the block storage systems?

YS: Unified storage goes way beyond the block. It is a combination of block, file and object level data. You cannot look at it only as a block. Today the customer might have only block level storage, if the customer needs to service for the file and object level, he will have a disparate storage subsystem in the data center. The HUS offering is a combination of all. All kinds of data can therefore be stored on a single storage platform. This is the basic advantage a customer will have because that will lead to all – easier to order, easier to maintain, easier to manage and easier to store.

CT: What are the challenges the Indian market faces and how do you plan to tap it?

YS: Customers now want to manage critical business applications as well as meet their goal requirements. They don’t want to compromise their requirements. They don’t want to compromise scalability on the box. And they want to get all this at a lower cost. The benefit is that HUS helps customers manage critical business applications as well as meet growth requirements and we do all this without compromising on the performance that is expected or the scalability that is needed. And we do all this while ensuring there is cost efficiency.

HUS will further reduce cost and complexity throughout the customers’ data center. It will help control data growth demand and the customers can meet their end users stringent service level agreements. It will also ensure that there is reduced downtime.

CT: What are your growth plans and what kind of a market share are you pitching for?

YS: Hitachi Data Systems growth plan is to be a hundred percent channel organization. Our growth plan is threefold. It is all about partner engagement, partner enablement and partner relevance.

HDS has a set of channel partners in tier 1 and tier 2 whom we are engaging with. This engagement helps us target strategic verticals or strategic accounts with all our partners.

Enablement is in the DNA of Hitachi Data Systems. We enable customers to understand the product and we enable our partners to understand their customers’ pain points. We understand where we can create opportunity in their customer situations. We enable the partner to fulfill or address the pain points and acquire new customers. Enablement is carried out across the partner community which means that we take the sales force and certify them for sales certification, we take the pre sales force and do a scholarship program, we spend 2-3 days with them and do a deep dive on the technologies we offer. We also go in depth with authorized service providers for post sales services and professional services and help with their enablement. So now the partners, which are our extended feet in terms of sales, services and post sales, are capable of reaching out to their customer base and identifying the market opportunity or the pain points of the customer which can be addressed by offerings from Hitachi Data Systems.

Relevance is not only showing that Hitachi Data Systems is relevant to its partners and their business and goals, but it should be vice versa also. For relevance, we ensure that the partner sales force spends less time on the drawing board and spends more time in the customer’s premises identifying opportunities. We create or co-create solutions which are replicable. Hence Hitachi’s Unified Storage plays a big role in that creation.

CT: How do you see the future of storage shaping up?

YS: Unified storage is becoming a de facto standard. That is one track that we will be expanding. More convergence of the block, file as well as object will be seen. We see the market growing very rapidly. Asia pacific figures should tell us that 80% of service spent would be in large enterprises. Large enterprises are those enterprises which have 500 to 1000 employees. And this is precisely the sweet spot for HDS. That is the market that we address.

On the other hand there is explosive growth in unstructured data and content depots such as file, media and email. This unstructured data is exploding at a rate which is far exceeding structured data growth. So file storage does play a role. All in all everything looks extremely good for HDS. We see ourselves growing very rapidly across our geographies.


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