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Down to Earth report on HP 3PAR StoreServ


CJZ headshot.jpegBy Calvin Zito, @HPStorageGuy  vexpert 2012 logo.gif

A couple of weeks ago I did the first of several ChalkTalks giving an overview of HP 3PAR StoreServ architecture.  I have several more in mind but its been busy and I haven't been able to get back to creating them.


Enrico Signoretti is a blogger and independent consultant from Italy.  I've brought him to HP Discover in Las Vegas over the last couple of years because of his blogs focus on storage. 


You're probably wondering what does Enrico and my HP 3PAR StoreServ ChalkTalks have to do with each other.  Well, Enrico wrote a white paper about 3PAR StoreServ and its called "Down to Earth Report on HP 3PAR StoreServ".  Like my ChalkTalks, Enrico's paper makes some of the basic HP 3PAR StoreServ concepts easy to understand.  Enrico's paper discusses the custom ASIC, software, wide striping, thin provisioning, multi-tenancy, federation and much more.  He talks about what it is, how it's implemented and why it is important.  Check it out - it's a very well written overview of 3PAR.  


Here's where you can find Enrico:  On Twitter as @esignoretti, and his blogs are (Italian) and (English).


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About the Author


I have worked at HP and now HPE since 1983, all of it around storage but 100% focused on storage since 1990. I blog, create videos, and podcasts to help you better understand HPE Storage.


Pretty good read! I didn't read every word but skimmed over it. One minor issue is the cache on the 10000 series is listed as 768GB vs 7000 at 64GB. To be apples to apples the 10k should show up to 512GB (the other 256GB is control cache) vs the 4-node 7400 is 64GB of data cache (another 32GB of control cache).


I think 3PAR is somewhat unique in the separation of control cache(used for the operating system data) and data cache.  The cache is also dynamic -- some other vendors have a very limited amount of memory dedicated to write cache (Dell Compellent lookin at you)  with the rest being a read cache only.


For multi tenancy I think it is pretty important to call out the new QoS features (not sure if the software has launched yet.. though was announced along with the 7000 in December). As someone who has operated 3PAR arrays for the past 7 years now the QoS will be a welcome enhancement.


Another important tid bit I believe is to call out the fact that the 3PAR architecture has:

  • No dedicated hot/cold spare disks (all spindles in use)
  • No dedicated parity disks (if you are using parity based raid parity is distributed on every spindle)
  • No limits on RAID choice - run RAID 10, RAID 50, RAID 60 simultaneously on the same physical spindles. (there are a few reasons people may want to do this and I believe the practice is quite common in the 3PAR world)

As far as I know there is no other array architecture out there that does the above. I think XIV may be closest but it is severely handicapped by being nearline only, 180 disks only (last I checked), and RAID 10 only. Their Intel processors can't handle distributed RAID 50/60 like the 3PAR ASIC can.


Also another key thing to note is the license caps on the 7000 series which dramatically slash the costs of the system. Once your array grows beyond ~35% of it's full potential the software that you have already licensed is "free" for the extra capacity (on that array).

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