Hitachi makes networking kit! Does it matter?

By | July 22, 2010

I always thought I knew a thing or two about Data Centre technologies, in particular Hitachi/HDS (i’ve worked closely with them on and off over the past 6-7 years).  So what was my surprise today when literally stumble across a boatload of Hitachi networking kit that I had absolutely no idea existed! 

Recently, I've even talked to industry experts as well as HDS folks about the fact that they only have two of the major three components that make up the increasingly popular vertical stack – with networking being the missing link.

NOTE: I define the three major components as Compute, network, and storage.  I know there’s more to it than that, but they suffice for this short article.

I don't know if it's just me, but the fact that Hitachi has its own networking kit – from Ethernet switches to MPLS – puts a whole different spin on their planned vertically integrated stack.

We already know they do storage, they recently announced that they will soon start shipping their BladeSymphony server platform (which has been around for a while in ASIA/Japan) to the rest of the world as part of their Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP). But Hitachi built networking was notably missing from the announcement.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  I am in no way suggesting Hitachi have any plans of pushing this networking kit out with their Unified Computing Platform (UCP) solution when it finally ships. In fact as far as Im aware, they have no intention of doing this (yet).  This post is merely pointing out to others that Hitachi does have its own networking kit and there are some obvious synergies for the future….

Anyway, the whole thing came to light today while attending the Hitachi uValue convention in Tokyo Japan.  First up, Chris Evans pointed the following poster out to me –

Hitachi IT poster

Then we walked around the corner only to be presented with a boatload of the actual kit on display.  Feast your eyes on these –

Note: The booth guys (Japanese) tell me that Alaxala is a joint venture between Hitachi and NEC. Seems to be true from a quick search on Google.

Hitachi Ethernet 1

Hitachi Ethernet 2

Hitachi networking kit

Hitachi Ethernet 3

Hitachi networking kit 1

Hitachi networking kit 3    


Granted…… In true Hitachi style, they are not the prettiest things in the data centre – no doubt the old "form over function" thing – but appearance is far from the most important thing when choosing a product.

Other than the above, I literally know nothing about the kit – the booth guys spoke very little English, and in true British style I speak about 0.8 words of Japanese.  So all I know is that the Ethernet switches that do 1Gbps and 10Gbps.  There is nor Fibre Channel. But when I asked the booth guys (the ulitmate source of all truth and knowledge) about competing with other vertical stacks such as VCE/vBlock, I got the impression they were suggesting they might be working on FC.  Of course these are just booth guys and we understood a grand total of about 25 words between us 😉

Although they apparently sell a fair amount in Japan (and potentially ASIA but Im not sure about the last part sue to language barriers), I know full well that you don’t just break in to the networking space.  However, apparently the switching technology in the back of the Hitachi BladeSymphony kit is Alaxala.  So that’s a potential toe in the door of the Data Centre (assuming HDS manage to make a good go of selling Hitachi BladeSymphony blade servers and their Unified Computing Platform, UCP).

Just thought Id let people know that in the background Hitachi does actually have in-house networking skills and kit.

Courteous comments welcome.


DISCLAIMER: Hitachi picked up the bill for this trip to the Hitachi uValue convention in Tokyo (flights, food and hotel). For the record I will have an airport parking charge of ~£75GBP to pick up myself when I land tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “Hitachi makes networking kit! Does it matter?

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