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HP 3PAR Express Writes: this is what innovation looks like

Ivan.jpegBy Ivan Iannaccone, Product Line Strategist, HP Storage  @IvanIannaccone


With the release of HP 3PAR OS 3.2.1, we introduced a new functionality called Express Writes that is aimed to lower the overall write latency for small block random writes. Six months later, we’ve gone back and looked at how this changed positively impacted customer workloads. In this 3PAR Thursday post, I’m sharing some of this data. And to be clear: this is all data from real customer production systems. No user intervention or licensing is required—and all is enabled automagically once the system is on 3.2.1. 


About Express Writes

HP 3PAR Express Writes represent a series of HP 3PAR OS protocol optimizations that optimize SCSI transactions, improving array CPU utilization and host-write latency. Express Writes technology enables the array to achieve synchronous write latency as low as 62 milliseconds microseconds (yes, m i c r o s e c o n d s).


Benefits for everyone

Here you’ll see telemetry data from 3PAR Install Base that compares the amount of write access below 1ms between 3.1.3 and 3.2.1 systems. The data highlighted in the rectangle shows how systems on 3.2.1 are able to satisfy more write request in 0.125ms, around a 30% improvement when compared against 3.1.3 systems.


Example from an HP 3PAR StoreServ 10400: hybrid configuration

Below is a screenshot shared from a very good customer and champion of ours. (Thank you Keith!). As you can see from the picture prior the 3.2.1 upgrade 90% of writes where committed in 0.250 milliseconds or more and 10% where committed in 0.125 milliseconds or less. After the upgrade to 3.2.1 around 50% of writes are now committed in 0.125 milliseconds or less. This means that applications are committing 40% of write transaction in half the time!


Express Writes and all-flash

Yes the technology is aimed to benefit all system. But as part of our flash optimizations, we treat writes differently. This combined with Express Writes produces some pretty amazing results.


Here you can see how after the upgrade to 3.2.1, writes that where previous served in 0.250 or 0.500 milliseconds are now served in 0.125 milliseconds! So the application write transaction are in some cases 4x faster, just via a simple online code upgrade. Also notice how 5% of writes are now served in 0.062 milliseconds or less.


Thin deduplication

To conclude we can also look at a system that was born on HP 3PAR OS 3.2.1 and running a VDI workload with Thinly Deduplicated Volumes, as you can see around 40% of write I/O is completed in 0.125 milliseconds or less. For those who are wondering: the system is getting 5:1 data reduction from deduplication. (I’ll be talking more about dedupe in an upcoming blog. Stay tuned.)


Let us know your results via Twitter: #3PARExpressWrites

If you are an HP 3PAR StoreServ customer and have upgraded to 3.2.1, you can see for yourself using Command Line Interface (CLI) or HP 3PAR StoreServ Management Console (SSMC):


CLI – Look at 2 weeks prior the upgrade to 3.2.1 (btsecs date in the below example) and 2 weeks after (etsecs date in my example)


  • srhistvlun -rw -timecols  4 5 -pct -daily -btsecs "2014-11-01" -etsecs "2014-11-30“

Import the data in Excel, filter for the write column, select the 0.125 and 0.250 columns and create a chart over time.


SSMC – Go under System Reporter and select the Exported Volumes histogram template, select a time range of 2 weeks prior and 2 weeks after the upgrade of daily sampling. Select IO time values between 0.125 and 0.250 and writes as IO type.


Give it a try and share your results on Twitter: #3PARExpressWrites

Keep in mind: Since we are talking about performance with a lot of variables involved, results may vary and not all workloads might see benefits.


What innovation is all about
We often see the word “innovation” used in the context of technology. Unfortunately many times it’s not always clear why something is labeled as innovative. For me, brining innovation to customers is all about delivering unique, simple and effective technology that translates in immediate value. This is really what the HP 3PAR platform is all about, with its ability to deliver immense value to existing and new customers at every new software release.


Dig deeper

Want to know more?

Demartek evaluation of Express Writes technology

HP 3PAR Express Write Slides

HP 3PAR Architecture White Paper

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Nice work Ivan!! However, the spelling mistakes create some misunderstanding.


"Here you can see how after the upgrade to 3.2.1, writes that where previous served in 0.250 or 0.500 microseconds are not served in 0.125 microseconds!"

Thank you for pointing this out! The correction has been made.

ATSB editor

You keep using microseconds throughout the post, it should be milliseconds. It's not able to commit the write in 0.125 microseconds, its milliseconds. This is also shown correctly in the graphs presented.

Hey David - thank for your eagle eye.  This was fixed too. 

Keith Parris

In the 2nd paragraph you say "achieve synchronous write latency as low as 62 milliseconds (yes, m i l l i s e c o n d s)." Later it talks about 0.062 milliseconds, which would be 62 microseconds.

Thanks Keith - we're so used saying milliseconds that we keep making the error. Thanks for pointing it out - we fixed it!

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