Hitachi Data Systems made its long-awaited entry into the high-end NAS market on Monday with a five-year OEM deal with BlueArc.
The deal, which also includes a "minority position" in BlueArc, gives HDS "the most advanced file and block system available in the marketplace today," according to HDS CEO Dave Roberson.
The deal is a big win for BlueArc, already the fastest-growing high-end NAS vendor and the second-largest after EMC Celerra, according to Gartner. EMC also partners with Ibrix in the high-end NAS market.
John Mansfield, HDS vice president of product marketing, said Hitachi considered a number of vendors before settling on BlueArc.
"A lot of what we bring to market in the SAN space, they bring to market in the NAS space," said Mansfield. "I firmly believe that we will gain significant market share in the NAS space going forward.
HDS will resell BlueArc's Titan systems as the Hitachi High-performance NAS Platform, integrated with Hitachi's HiCommand and TrueCopy management and protection software.
Hitachi is targeting high-performance applications, such as Internet services applications, electronic discovery applications, life sciences, oil and gas exploration and entertainment applications, that need to transcend the performance and scalability limits of conventional NAS storage systems.
Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst of StorageIO, noted that IBM "had several false starts in the NAS space before finally getting it right with NetApp, so perhaps HDS can now finally get it right after having been with several other partners in the past."
"There will be those who shrug this off as HDS' attempt to get into clustered scientific applications, which it will," said Schulz. "However, it means that HDS can get into the high-performance NAS consolidation game to go after EMC and NetApp NAS filer consolidation."
The deal could also give HDS partner Sun Microsystems a high-end NAS offering, said Schulz, but displace BlueArc partner LSI.
Hitachi claims its new High-performance NAS Platform "leads the industry in performance and scalability and delivers the most advanced file-based virtualization framework."