Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform F Series Review

Eliminated all the management around replication and it helps us to do the recovery better and easier


What is our primary use case?

This machine was being used in the DMZ area of the company. It was isolated. The external users were something around 4.5 million customers. I don't know if every one of them uses the machine, but this machine is the gateway to the website and host application. 

To install and do maintenance on this machine at this scale was a one person job. It was a storage admin for this use case. If I look only at that solution, it's not a full-time job. 

We increased the capacity of the solution one year after we initially bought it. Before I left my last job, one of the decisions I made was to change the solution to another platform in this environment. It was also out of warranty. They're still using this appliance, but they need to migrate out of it to another solution. 

It may be a newer version of the Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform F Series or a new solution from another vendor. It depends on the product features and total cost. 

It's the public sector, so everything is running on a bid process. The suppliers bid to give a better offer to win the opportunity. Hitachi came up with a better deal and pricing.

The company is opening up opportunities for vendors. The vendors that supply the solution at the lowest prices win the bidding. It's a public sector or government contract. There was special pricing in this case since it's the government sector.

How has it helped my organization?

Four years in that environment, the Hitachi GAD we used to replicate in between the primary site and the secondary site was finished. After we started using GAD, we didn't have to replicate the data anymore. It was already up to date in both types.

Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform F Series eliminated all the management around replication. It helps us to do the recovery better and easier. We removed the software that was managing all the little steps in synchronizing the recovery plan.

What is most valuable?

I found the Hitachi GAD, Global Active Device feature, most valuable because it enables direct access to the same volume from different physical sites.

What needs improvement?

With Hitachi, everything that regards the user experience has a big room for improvement. 

  • The user experience is pretty bad in Hitachi. 
  • A lot of mandatory tasks take a long time to work through.
  • Compared to other storage vendors, there is a big disadvantage to Hitachi. 
  • Automation has room for improvement in Hitachi.

Something about the NetSure schedule and NetSure management would be good because in my machine everything was only manual. My staff was needed to write automation around the machine to solve the issue. 

Before the snapshot itself, residing on another server was more extensive. If they can do the snapshot in the data pool, i.e. the capacity pool, it will be better for the customer and their matchup vs. the competition.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution more than four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform F Series is a very steady solution. It's a state of the art solution in storage systems. 

High-availability and performance are the strongest aspects of these machines.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

When you purchase the machine, you need to know what the purpose is that you buy the machine for. If you do design, it's pretty scalable for most use cases. 

As a career job, I have around 45 storage machines. If I didn't have enough room in one, I choose another for use.

How are customer service and technical support?

I used to work with their tech support. Every time I had the need for support, I got it directly from the Israeli team. I didn't have a chance to work with the global support team. 

The local team is great. It was very responsive and very generous.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

The previous solution was a sync-based solution storage system. It wasn't active/active and before that, we used EMC VPLEX in another environment. We tested the active/active feature benefits. 

One of the main demands for this particular solution was to be active/active. At that time, the only vendors that offered an active/active machine were EMC and Hitachi.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not straightforward. You need to be a storage expert to install the product and work with it. It's not that simple and discouraging.

If it wasn't so complicated to install it, it would be better. Every step takes a lot of time in the system. But it's a very steady system. It works after the initial setup.

Deployment took two months before we started to migrate data. There was another month for the data migration and two months was the machine hardware install, the software updates, and resilience checks from my side. 

After all the setup and the discovery of the product, we started to schedule dates for data migration and move all the relevant data subscriptions.

What about the implementation team?

I was the customer. The vendor supported the installation for three months, i.e. the initial setup and checks for another month to assist the data migration.

What was our ROI?

Return-on-investment comes from satisfaction in the product. It was 90% of what I expected it to be and that is very good.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We don't have a monthly license for this product. We just got it up front. We are in the governmental sector, so it was very cheap for us.

This version on the market is priced at a much higher cost. Since we are in government, we got a discount. We grew and the purchase needed additions since the time of installation.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It was just the EMC Unity with VPLEX, i.e. two Unity VPLEX machines: the VSP 400. We required two machines to support the VSP 400. It was all about money. The bottom line. 

You first need to qualify the technical requirements. Both of them qualified, so it was money related. The bottom line was whether another solution was better, so long as they met all the requirements and they were the cheapest.

If the solution is not compliant with our demands, we can't offer it to the company. Because of that, only two vendors got the chance to offer the solution. It was down to VSP and DELL/EMC Unity didn't meet the requirements.

What other advice do I have?

The Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform F Series are real sturdy machines with high-performance capabilities. I didn't do a POC before choosing the solution, but I did go to visit several customers who already had similar solutions from the company. 

I talked to them and got an impression. If you have time for POC it will be better. In the government, it is not very often that we do a POC. They're very thin and human resources didn't have time.

On a scale from one to 10, I would rate the product an eight for the management. The lack of management features on the product is very deflating.

It's very difficult to find this class of machine from other vendors. The storage system is high-availability. The performance is elite.

For the system and performance, this machine is very impressive. It's working 24 hours a day. The machine is very reliable for the user experience.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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