HDS sheds storage skin to power IoT innovation

Data centre

Hitachi Data Systems is leveraging the Big Data expertise of a string of acquisitions to power its Internet of Things (IoT) strategy.

HDS is letting loose a raft of industry-specific IoT products building on big purchases like Pentaho, a deal worth around $500 million that should be finalised in a matter of weeks, according to HDS.

The solutions address healthcare, telecoms, IT operations and law enforcement, mixing IoT sensors with real-time analytics that led Hitachi CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi to claim HDS is no longer a "simple storage vendor".

Speaking at HDS Connect 2015 in Las Vegas, he pointed to the bought-in expertise which is helping the firm transform from a storage company into an analytics business.

Along with Pentaho, those acquisitions include Avrio, oXya and Pantascene, all made within the last year.

"We can't do everything by ourselves," Nakanishi admitted on stage. "We need to have our own business change rapidly. Innovation [like] that requires partners and technologies."

It's a strategy that's paying off, according to analyst house IDC's enterprise systems senior VP, Vernon Turner.

He said: "HDS is rapidly evolving to become more than just a storage company.

"They're smartly driving better business and societal outcomes for their customers through the expansion of expertise and offerings that integrate the IoT, operational technology, and machine-to-machine and data analytics."

The vendor's added 1,620 customers since the start of 2015, contributing to a count of 12,000 new users of its products since 2008.

And it hopes to capture more with its latest set of solutions.

Those include Hitachi Live Insight for IT Operations, a cloud-based M2M analytics platform that grants users more visibility into their data centres.

Another is Hitachi Clinical Repository (HCR) for Connected Health, an update on HCR that gives healthcare organisations a data repository for their clinical and non-clinical information, which is backed up and can be easily retrieved.

There's also an offering for police called Hitachi Visualization for Public Safety, which introduces predictive analytics based on data culled from ameras, sensors, emergency dispatch and social media.

Meanwhile, telcos can also use analytics to gain real-time visibility into their networks with Live Insight for Telecom.

HDS CEO Jack Domme told the Connect audience that there is much more to come.

"This period's just getting started," he said. "The acquisition of Pentaho, Oxya, many of the other acqusitions over time, [gives us] the ability to integrate data, keep the values, keep the sources, keep it all relevant so you can do more analysis, [make] more decisions, in all of the applications."

Pentaho brings 1,500 customers of its own to the table, according to CEO Quentin Gallivan, though it wasn't clear whether that was included in the 1,620 count.

But while Gallivan stressed Pentaho will play a crucial role in developing HDS's strategy of "social innovation", he explained that there's plenty of functionality it is adding to HDS's portfolio right now.

"We're a Big Data analytics platform, allowing our customers to deploy Big Data social solutions. [Having] a 360-degree view of your customer is a revenue optimiser, we have use cases in retail healthcare and financial services and government projects [for that].

"Data lake - your customers are building a data lake, we make it easy and safe to swim from an analytic perspective."