HDS: Storage? Pah! We're working on a SMART CITY OPERATING SYSTEM

Converged, hyperscale Internet of Things and smart cities rig


Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is working on two projects that will scale its compute and storage technologies to serve Internet of Things deployments in smart cities.

Speaking yesterday at the company's innovation forum in Singapore, Asia-Pac CTO Adrian De Luca mentioned the company's recently announced decision to build an EVO:RAILS box using VMware's template for hyperconverged kit.

He then said HDS has more of the same on the way, and said projects AQUA and HAWAII are the codenames for those efforts.

HDS senior veep and general manager for Asia Pacific, Neville Vincent, later told The Reg that AQUA is “a common framework and architecture for a smart city operating system” and HAWAII is a highly scalable highly-converged system designed to underpin AQUA.

Details of just when either will emerge weren't discussed, but De Luca's talk suggested a certain urgency.

The two projects probably need to be understood in the context of the company's innovation forum, an event at which the Hitachi group talked up its ambition to assist “social innovation” with its many products.

No less a person than Yukata Saito, Hitachi's fifth-ranking executive in the organisation, opened the event with a vision for using all of the company's assets to develop analytics-driven products and services that enable governments to meet the demands of swelling populations and the stresses they place on resources.

Without getting all Hitachi, Hitachi, rah-rah-rah on you, the group does have an impressive portfolio of kit with which to work: it builds power stations, trains, telecoms kit and myriad other products*. Plus, of course, the servers and networked storage most familiar to Reg readers. The company's now looking for ways to get all of those working together in smart city rigs.

Enthusiasm for this concept is high in Asia. Mobile device penetration is soaring across even the region's less prosperous nations and citizens are keen for better service delivery from their governments and businesses.

Going straight to sensor-tised smart cities makes sense in this mix, even if a motive of ensuring populaces don't get agitated or become agitators is often advanced as a one motive for service improvements.

Whatever the political implications of smart cities, Hitachi wants in and HDS' expertise in building kit and doing system integration are apparently seen as key assets for the group's push into social innovation.

The idea's got ramifications for HDS, too, as Vincent said it is one of the tactics that will help move it from today's 80/20 storage/other revenue split to a 50/50 split by 2017.

That's a shift other storage vendors would love to make. None, however, have a Daddy as big and broad as Hitachi to help them pull off the transition.

* Bootnote: Among the company's offerings is conductive soil, a substance devised to be placed around the base of lightning rods – the better to help them discharge current.

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