IBM, Hitachi ink far-reaching storage agreement

IBM Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. announced Tuesday several storage R&D initiatives that could affect storage leaders EMC and Seagate.

The two companies will collaborate on a disk drive venture, which is still unnamed. Hitachi will own 70 percent of the company and use IBM's hard drive technology. The company will be based in San Jose.

The venture will likely compete with Seagate, from whom IBM presently buys a portion of its disk drives. The market has been rife with sharp price competition and decreased demand. While details are still fuzzy, the two companies have signed a Memo of Understanding.

Hitachi and IBM will also partner on storage virtualization. IBM will share parts of its Storage Tank strategy with Hitachi. While the companies will share technology, they will still market the resulting products separately.

They will also manage each other's devices, and those of competitors such as EMC, by using the Common Information Management (CIM) model, endorsed by the Desktop Management Task Force and the Storage Network Industry Association. Most vendors presently are only able to discover and monitor storage devices using the Fibre Channel Management Information Base and Simple Network Management Protocol.

Further, Hitachi and IBM will work on an unidentified high-performance storage system technology, which they will both market separately.

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