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Hitachi uses AI to predict when server hard drives will fail

The idea is being explored at Hitachi Vantara, a new venture that’s combining IoT, storage and analytics tech to create enterprise datacentre solutions. Hitachi Vantara will develop systems meant to underpin “modern data-driven enterprises,” becoming a competitor to firms like IBM and Dell.
In a conversation with TechRepublic, Vantara SVP Iri Trashanski explained how artificial intelligence could benefit the storage industry. He said the tech has applications in “a number of areas,” including fault recovery and failure detection. Down the line, AI-powered tech could also be tasked with installing and replacing physical hard drives.
Automated storage monitoring would lift some of the pressure from datacentre administrators. AI that can predict problems before they occur could mitigate storage faults and eliminate unscheduled drive downtime. Maintenance could be confined to a single window where engineers fix issues reported by the AI.
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“Right now if storage breaks in the middle of the night then someone is woken up to [find the] root cause and resolve,” Vantara SVP of engineering and product management Rich Rogers said to TechRepublic. “We think that the system should be able to learn how to resolve these challenges on its own.”
Developments in storage technology will help to keep the cloud-first future online. As more data is created, shared and stored on the Internet, datacentre operators inevitably have to add more drives to their machines. AI could make the scale more manageable so administrators can return to expanding their cloud, instead of maintaining it.
Hard drives can already report health data individually but this information can be of limited use when there’s hundreds of devices attached to a single server. The AI-powered datacentre of the future could continually monitor drives and remedy faults as they occur. If a storage cluster malfunctions, it could be automatically shut down and its location sent to a robotic engineer. A new drive would be installed without any human intervention, making the datacentre more resilient to unplanned downtime.

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