Small in Japan: Hitachi creates its own (modest) cloud

VMware-powered sovereign cloud not going to challenge hyperscalers, and won't be repeated beyond Japan


Updated Hitachi has taken a modest step towards becoming a public cloud provider, with the launch of a VMware-powered cloud in Japan that The Register understands may not be its only such venture.

The Japanese giant has styled the service a "sovereign cloud" – a term that VMware introduced to distinguish some of its 4,000-plus partners that operate small clouds and can attest to their operations being subject to privacy laws and governance structures within the nation in which they operate.

Public cloud heavyweights AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, IBM, and Alibaba also offer VMware-powered clouds, at hyperscale. But some organizations worry that their US or Chinese roots make them vulnerable to laws that might allow Washington or Beijing to exercise extraterritorial oversight.

Virtzilla therefore suggests sovereign clouds running its wares as a fine way for its customers to extend into hybrid clouds, or a pure-play cloud. Buyers of such clouds know that sovereign cloud providers can't match hyperscalers for elasticity but, as they require surety that using any cloud won't expose them to exotic legal entanglements, are happy to get as much of the cloud experience as possible.

Hitachi clearly likes the idea too, and last Thursday announced [PDF in Japanese] that it had created a VMware-powered sovereign cloud.

The Japanese giant already offers a VMware-powered managed cloud that can span on-prem and public cloud, as well as storage-as-a-service. Signing up as a VMware-powered sovereign cloud is a little extra step towards becoming a cloud provider in its own right – albeit one that operates at a far smaller scale than the big operators.

Hitachi's Japanese-language description of the service suggests it offers a portal that customers use for self-service chores such as increasing the number of hosts or CPUs they employ, but that the service offers a menu of options rather than a cloudy free-for-all.

The Register understands the Japanese offering may be the first of more similar efforts from Hitachi. The company has already teamed with an Australian outfit named AUCloud to use its IaaS as the basis of a sovereign cloud, and more such tie-ups or launches of Hitachi-operated sovereign clouds are not beyond the realms of possibility. ®

Updated 10:55PM UTC, June 28: Hitachie has been in touch and told us the The Sovereign Cloud is only available in Japan, and there are no plans for similar announcements or global launch other than Japan at this moment.

"Hitachi Vantara will enhance our hybrid cloud solutions continuously. We are focusing on not only public cloud services but also private cloud services because we have a unique and strong storage portfolio," the company added.


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