Hitachi is one of the first storage vendors to complete interoperability testing with IBM’s next-generation System z10 mainframe.

Global HQ: Tokyo, Japan Website:

Global leader: Kazuo Furukawa, president and CEO

Local leader: Brent Wilksinson, general manager, New Zealand

Core activity: Hardware, enterprise storage, consulting

Revenue: US$104 billion (FY08 ended March)

Key customers: Australian Federal Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Alibaba (China) Technology, Korea Telecom, SingHealth, Wing Lung Bank, Air New Zealand

Employees: 389,752

In an empire like the one Japanese conglomerate Hitachi has built, which spans everything from air conditioners to traffic management systems to cutting-edge biotech, it’s not easy to pick a leading product or division. But the firm’s enterprise storage arm, Hitachi Data Systems, would probably be on the shortlist. Despite being a relative latecomer to the industry, the subsidiary’s emphasis on innovation and, increasingly, compatibility, has helped it chip away at the market share of veterans such as EMC.

In recent months enhancements to its benchmark Universal Storage Platform, which included doubled cache capacity, improved remote replication and support for data migration from flash-based drives, pushed the product to the top of its class in performance terms. It has also become one of the first storage vendors to complete interoperability testing with IBM’s System z10 mainframe, making it a natural choice for users looking to build a future-oriented storage environment.

Less praise has been heaped on Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, a loss-prone hard disk maker that some analysts see as a drag on the conglomerate’s increasingly high-end stable of affiliates. Hitachi, however, continues to steadfastly deny speculation that it is poised to sell Hitachi Global Storage. It prefers these days to talk about the investments being poured into the company’s nascent IT consulting business. Hitachi has recently bought several small UK and US-based specialist consulting firms, and is building up a global network of IT services branches anchored by support centres in the Indian technology hubs of Bangalore and Hyderabad.

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