Enterprises are beginning to adopt virtualization and cloud services for computing in order to cut costs and improve efficiency. Storage infrastructure tends to change more slowly because the data within an organization is a prized asset, but business managers eventually will start to demand greater efficiency from that department, McClure believes. Storage typically involves making big capital expenditures on equipment that then sits on the floor waiting to be filled. Just planning, purchasing and installing the systems typically involves lag time of six to eight months, she said.
Among large storage vendors, EMC hasn't offered anything quite like the Hitachi service, though IBM can configure managed services in a variety of ways through its IBM Global Services division, she said.
The service will be available in the next 60 days, at which time pricing will be disclosed, Hitachi said.
Also on Tuesday, the company is introducing a system that carriers, other service providers and system integrators can use to create storage-as-a-service offerings for consumers and small businesses. They can build products that include content sharing as well as backup, packaged and priced as they please, Sandorfi said.
Hitachi developed the cloud-based system in conjunction with Digi-Data, which sells a services platform for software-as-a-service delivery. Hitachi's customers will have access to metering and billing systems for their storage offerings, as well as to APIs (application programming interfaces) for writing their own applications for serving customers.
Some service providers have already built products based on the new platform, which have yet to be announced, Sandorfi said. He declined to name them.