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Christmas comes early thanks to HP 3PAR OS 3.2.1

IvanJ.jpgBy Ivan Iannaccone, 3PAR StoreServ Product Management  @IvanIannaccone


Yesterday we announced many new features that all HP 3PAR StoreServ customers can enable free of charge via a simple online upgrade. In a June post, I talked in great detail about Thin Deduplication (now available free of charge on all 3PAR StoreServ models!). This 3PAR Thursday, I'm focusing on how HP 3PAR OS 3.2.1 enables read and write acceleration via Adaptive Flash Cache and Express Writes. It's all as much fun to talk about as any holiday!


Express Writes and Adaptive Flash Cache

Nothing is better than low and predictable latency. HP 3PAR StoreServ customers have always appreciated this. And now it gets even better! HP 3PAR OS 3.2.1 provides increased performance for your applications with write acceleration via Express Writes technology and random read acceleration via Adaptive Flash Cache. Express Writes configuration is autonomic, transparent and enabled by default on all HP 3PAR StoreServ systems and for all tiers of storage. Adaptive Flash Cache augments controller on-board DRAM cache to a virtualized portion of available SSD chunklets and is aimed for hybrid-systems (SSDs+Flash).


Express Writes

HP 3PAR Express Writes software is the result of a series of HP 3PAR OS protocol optimizations that optimize SCSI transactions and thus improving array CPU utilization and host write latency. Express Writes technology enables the array to achieve synchronous write latency below 200 microseconds. Depending on the workload, hosts may see an overall decrease in write latency. The best way to look at these improvements is with histogram data as shown in this example:


Adaptive Flash Cache

Random-read workloads are some of the most difficult workloads for an HDD-based storage array to handle. HP 3PAR Adaptive Flash Cache (AFC) is functionality built into HP 3PAR StoreServ that allows solid-state drives (flash) to act as level-2 read cache holding random read data that has aged out of DRAM read cache. By increasing the size of the read cache, we increase the chances for random read data to be serviced out of a much faster tier than the spinning media where it resides. By doing this, Adaptive Flash Cache increases the overall random read IOPs an array can deliver by “unloading” the back end of the array and serving these request from flash. You can simulate the benefits of using AFC withHP 3PAR 3.2.1 by creating Flash Cache in simulation mode. This helps assess if augmenting on-board DRAM will benefit current workloads so you can decide whether to add SSDs or use a portion of existing SSD capacity for AFC.


That’s right, you don’t need dedicated SSDs. You can have a pool of SSD storage and logically partition it for Flash Cache (AFC), Sub-LUN tiering (AO) and why not also deploy some Thinly Deduplicated Virtual Volumes (requires 3.2.1 MU1). Another great feature is that you can decide to accelerate all volumes on your system or just certain volumes, enabling granularity of performance control and further integration with OpenStack and VMware VVOLs initiatives. Adaptive Flash Cache is not only a true flash media extension of the 3PAR caching algorithms but it also leverages the many flash optimizations that have been implemented in the code over the past releases. Check out this apples-to-apples configuration compare between a small 7200 config and a similar setup from a competitor system:



Get complete details on our announcement in Calvin’s blog post: New flash features with latest HP 3PAR OS 3.2.1


Dig deeper

Want to know more? 


Adaptive Flash Cache White Paper
Adaptive Flash Cache Competitive Compare
Adaptive Optimization White Paper
Adaptive Flash Cache Solution Brief


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