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Honey and Storage. What do they have in common?


PH.jpgBy Paul Haverfield, Principal Technologist, HPE Storage APJ region  @PaulHavs


Storage Performance Council publishes a new world record SPC-2™ result for HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20850 All-Flash Array. (And how sweet it is!)

How sweet is a jar of freshly tapped honey from the hive? Very….

How is a new #1 record in an industry vetted storage performance benchmark? Exceptionally….

When it comes to interesting facts associated with food, I was surprised to learn that honey is the only food that will remain unspoiled forever in its natural state. Yep—forever!

When it comes to interesting facts associated with storage—the topic of performance will also remain front and center of the industry forever! Yep, I predict that any conversation associated with storage will always include performance forever!

So what’s new in the world of storage performance

This week, the Storage Performance Council published a new world record SPC-2™ result for our HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20850 All-Flash Array. With an SPC-2™ bandwidth-oriented performance benchmark at 62,844 SPC-2 MBPS™, 3PAR StoreServ has displaced the EMC VMAX400K in the #1 spot and increased the benchmark result by almost 13% (as at 4th November 2015).


But there’s more to it than just the headline result. Read on to understand the true significance of this very-sweet result. 

Storage performance can be boiled down to three things: IOPS, bandwidth and latency. Or: How many reads and writes per second can I do? How much data volume can I push in and get out per second? And how long do I need to wait for those reads and writes?

Increasingly, as we capitalize on the huge performance potential of all-flash arrays, we are finding that bandwidth is becoming more and more important. Average block sizes are increasing due to server virtualization optimizations. Data sharing capabilities of all-flash arrays where we combine OLTP and data analytics using the same dataset are increasing. And the desire to make copies of data faster for protection purposes is also increasing. This all adds up to the fact that bandwidth is becoming more important as an everyday measurement of a storage systems capability.

The Storage Performance Council Benchmark 2 (SPC-2™) benchmark focuses on the bandwidth aspect of storage performance. Whereas, the SPC-1™ benchmark focuses on the transactional/OLTP/IOPS aspects of storage performance.

OK. What’s so exciting about this new #1 result?

We are now starting to see more SSD/all-flash results for SPC-2™. There are now three: EMC VMAX 400K, Kaminario K2 and the HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20850. The SPC tracks two subsets of results: top-ten by performance and top-ten by price-performance. We would all love to own a “Bugatti Veyron” (world’s fastest production car) but at ~$2.5m but who can afford it? And it’s the same in storage—not a lot of point in being the fastest if you are not affordable!

 In this result, the HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20850 not only took a #1 position on performance; it also took the #6 spot for price-performance AND was the FIRST all-flash array to enter the top-ten table on price-performance. This is very, very sweet and indicates that all-flash is increasingly becoming more and more affordable for the masses.

Just how affordable?

Perhaps the best way to understand the affordability of the HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20850 configuration is to compare it with the previous #1—the EMC VMAX 400K, which is an array used by many organizations.   No matter how you compare the two solutions, the HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20850 is very sweet AND very affordable.


Even more affordable

One more “sweet” point to highlight to understand the affordability comparison being made above. Whilst totally legitimate and acceptable, the EMC VMAX 400K tested storage configuration (and hence its pricing) is based around “direct-attached” servers to front-end ports on the VMAX. The HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20850 tested configuration utilized a redundant FC fabric that promotes greater sharing of the all-flash array resource. Hence the pricing for the 3PAR configuration includes a redundant FC fabric. That’s very sweet indeed!

What can 62,844 MBPS do for you?


62.8GB per second is a heck of a lot of data transmission. But what does it represent? What could you actually do with it? Two areas we excelled at were Video on Demand simulation and Large Database Query workloads.

The SPC-2™ Video On Demand (VOD) result proves that 95,000 concurrent streams of High Definition video would easily be possible. Whilst for Large Database Queries (the type seen in OLAP / BI / DW type environments), we could support around 2,697 streams with 64KiB IO sizes and achieve ~28 MBPS per stream (SPC-2 LDQ, 64 KiB, 4 I/Os). This is more than enough for today’s analytics and enabling new innovations for continuous or real-time analytics to come out of the closet.

All of these example workloads are bandwidth dominant and will benefit immensely from system architecture able to deliver large numbers of concurrent IO streams with very large read sizes:

-Data warehousing, Online Analytical Processing (OLAP), Big Data analytics and Business Intelligence (BI)

-Server virtualization with consolidation of thousands and thousands of VMs

-Streaming media and video or audio editing/downloading

-CGI rendering/stop motion animation rendering

-High-performance computing/scientific computing

-Medical and pharmaceutical research

-And of course last but not least—backups

Now, how sweet was that?

honey_ATSB_shutterstock_233531341_04Nov_blog_sized.jpgIn the past (10/2011), 3PAR has enjoyed #1 results for SPC-1™, which is the transaction processing/OLTP partner to SPC-2™. Achieving #1 results for SPC-1™ and SPC-2™ within the same family architecture, even though at different times, highlights the true multi-tenant architectural benefits of 3PAR. The ability to serve large and small block workloads efficiently and at very high performance within a single architecture provides a very sweet solution for the All-Flash data center.

Lastly, storage can be complex sometimes, especially if we are chasing those corner-case performance problems. The benefits of a single-vendor server-storage solution cannot be devalued. Combining industry leading HPE servers and storage in a single vendor end-to-end solution provides not only world leading results but sweet peace of mind as well.

Consolidate with confidence and enjoy the sweetness of a freshly installed 3PAR StoreServ solution today!

More information

HPE 3PAR StoreServ Storage overview

Storage Performance Council website

SPC-2™ results referenced in this article:


HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20850


Kaminario K2

Oracle ZFS Storage ZS4-4


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