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HP 3PAR polymorphic simplicity made simple


CJZ Headshot fixed 150 x 150.jpgBy Calvin Zito, @HPStorageGuy  vexpert 2012 logo.gif

I saw a really good blog post this morning from Philip Sellers, Exploring HP's Power of Common Architectures in Storage that is a really good and wanted to share it.


Polymorphic Simplicity Made Simple

I want to cover a few highlights from Philip's blog.  He has attended HP Discover a couple of times and he leveraged what he's learned (and the fact that he's also now an HP 3PAR customer) to develop his understanding.  I sent him a tweet this morning after I read his blog telling him that he's done a great job explaining things.  Here's a bit of what his blog says - but there's a lot more so head over to and read the full post there.  


With the current arrangement of 3PAR systems, HP has the mid-range StoreServ 7200 with 2 nodes max, the StoreServ 7400 with 4 nodes max, it has the all-flash performance focused StoreServ 7450 and then the high-end StoreServ 10000 series arrays with a max of 8 nodes.  All of the systems share the same 3PAR ASIC and software.  The management interfaces and configuration concepts are the same regardless of which model.  The underlying OS is the same across all – meaning that although the 7000 series was introduced just 1 year ago, its runs the same OS as the flagship 10000 series arrays which have been proven. 


While I’ve heard the message at previous HP events, it wasn’t until talking with Siamak Nazari that I began to understand why this has been such a big point from HP.  Evolving a storage OS is a difficult tasks for any company.  That’s why storage innovation often happens with start-up companies that build a new design from the ground up, instead of inside of mainline vendors evolving their dual-controller arrays into a modern storage array.  HP’s purchase of 3PAR brought them a modern storage architecture that was natively multi-node capable.  Where the complexities are exponentially more difficult to move from single controller, to dual controller to multi-controller, HP took the opposite approach by adapting a modern 8-node architecture down to a 2-node and 4-node configuration.


The real key for HP 3PAR customers is that by HP building a portfolio that spans a wide breadth of use cases,  it expands the install base of the overall architecture while refining and enhancing the underlying OS. Enhancements made for one particular use case get shared by all of the customers through shared enhancements.  Customers ultimately win by getting incremental improvements from their existing investment – all delivered by software.


Philip has a few examples that he explains in more detail so again, head over to his blog!  In my best Austin Powers voice, I say, "It's polymorphic baby, polymorphic"!


You can learn more about HP 3PAR StoreServ, Converged Storage and get more exclusive content  on our "Stop living in the land of no" page.  Registration is required.

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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.


Hey Calvin!


Good post but I just wanted to point out that as a customer of a 2-node 3PAR E200 back in 2006, and a 4-node 3PAR T400 back in 2008 3PAR had scaled their 8-node architecture down already long before HP acquired them.


The F400 was their self proclaimed first mid range 4-controller system(2009) which had excellent performance/efficiency at the time, from what I recall greater than 99% utilization on SPC-1, something 3PAR hasn't been able to demonstrate before or since (I believe).


The 7000 goes several steps further of course the most important I think is the changing of the software licensing strategy(mainly the new "license caps" which limit your software licensing costs) and including thin provisioning as default.


On the hardware front you/they lowered the cost structure by moving to SAS on the 7000 series. Take a look at the pricing of Fibre channel SSDs on the (now end of life) F-class and it's pretty insane... 7000 series is 1/2 to 1/4th as much(maybe even 1/8th as much on a per GB basis with that 50% cost drop that was done in December).


I wish HP hadn't skimped out on the data cache on the 7200, it comes with only 4GB/controller(which is less than the F200(6GB/controller) which the 7200 replaced) -- there is more control cache (8GB/controller) than data cache on the 7200, while on the older end of life F200(and F400) there is only 4GB/controller of control cache.


Control cache on 3PAR I think is fairly unique in the mid range since you/they are a hardware architecture - while  many other platforms are basically X86 servers with a common pool of memory, 3PAR separates the data cache(which is connected to the ASIC) with the control cache (connected to the CPUs, which drives the operating system). It's not as if an extra 4GB of memory would make a bit of difference in the hardware costs.



Hey Nate - thanks for the correction/clarification.  You know way more about the history of products than I ever will.  I think it would be fair to say that HP has enabled there to be an incredibly cost-effective entry level midrange HP 3PAR StoreServ (with tier-1 features).  I'll also be sure the team sees your feedback.


For those that don't know Nate - he is a long time 3PAR customer and has a great blog,

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