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Infrastructure-Aware Flash Storage: A Healthy Choice for Your Data Center



The health of your infrastructure is important—but just dropping any all-flash storage into your environment can shift performance bottlenecks, introduce management complexity and even reduce availability. Don’t turn your environment into a nightmare. Turn it into a positive all-flash experience.

Wearable fitness devices are quite popular today as something to track your heart rate, steps, and such. Have you shopped for one? YoInfrastructure-Aware Watch BLOG.jpgu might assume picking one would be a simple task. But some initial research shows an overwhelming number of not only devices but also players in that market space. And that draws some parallels with the all-flash array market today. Just like the storage all-flash landscape, the fitness wearable space is crowded with players and wild claims. Those that stand out are the ones that look beyond just the product and focus on the overall user experience.

 One of the biggest shortcomings of most all-flash storage offerings is that they look at storage in isolation: a pretty GUI for the administrator, reduced footprint, some cloud analytics—but all the while forgetting that storage is part of a bigger ecosystem. 

5 key attributes for infrastructure-aware storage 

As the All-Flash Data Center (AFDC) becomes a reality, it’s time to look at how storage can be the keystone of the IT-infrastructure and no longer the bottleneck. Consider these five key attributes that enable storage to be infrastructure-aware:

  1. Ease of use—beyond the storage array
  2. Data integrity—from host to SSD
  3. Business continuity—built-in high-availability
  4. Data protection—next generation flash-aware backup and recovery
  5. Supportability—more than predictive support

Given those points, let’s take a quick look at why we believe HPE 3PAR StoreServ flash storage is the only infrastructure-aware flash offering in the market.

Ease of use: Smart SAN

HPE Smart SAN for 3PAR is possibly one of the coolest pieces of technology that resides in a 3PAR all-flash array. It provides the array with full insight into the fabric it resides in, and enables automated zoning and FC diagnostics. As environments become larger and more complex, it becomes harder to maintain fabrics and you need to be a faultless expert in order to prevent incorrect zoning and other mistakes. Best of all, this is just the beginning. There's a lot more coming around this feature in the future. (Read up on Smart SAN: Welcome to SmartTopia: Where HPE Smart SAN for 3PAR Flash Storage Simplifies SAN Configuration

Data integrity: Persistent Checksum

In a world where a single array is handling hundreds of thousands of IOPS, SSD drive sizes double year on year. With technologies like deduplication sharing application data, the pressure on a single system to guarantee consistency is immense so eliminating any form of data inconsistency is paramount. 3PAR StoreServ assures full data integrity, thanks to Persistent Checksum, by performing end-to end data integrity checks that ensure that the data sent from a host is exactly the same data written to (and, later, read from) a SSD.

Business continuity: Peer Persistence

HPE 3PAR StoreServ enables the stretching of fabrics across multiple geographically close datacenters and, when combined with array-native Remote Copy replication, a feature called Peer Persistence allows automatic handling of fabric, array and even complete site failure. Peer Persistence enables simplified management and automatic recovery scenarios by stretching VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, SQL, Oracle and many other cluster-aware services over multiple locations. All without any additional hardware or software. 

Data protection: RMC

Infrastructure-Aware heartbeat BLOG.jpgHPE Recovery Manager Central (RMC) acts as an orchestration layer above 3PAR flash storage that integrates 3PAR features such as Virtual Copy snapshots directly into applications and hypervisors. This allows application owners to take consistent snapshots of their applications and data on the storage layer. This can not only reduce the impact of taking snapshots, but in hypervisors this can also improve performance over hypervisor-native snapshot technologies. RMC also allows near-instant, granular recovery of data from the array snapshots, again, all controlled by the application owner.

However, RMC can do more. It also orchestrates HPE StoreOnce deduplication backup appliances, allowing the same application-level integration into backups. It does this by taking application-level snapshots then pushing these directly over the fabric from the 3PAR array to the StoreOnce appliance without backup software or host involvement in data movement. This can lead to massive improvements in backup times, reduced disruption to hosts and backup/restore control for application owners. (See this recent blog for more on RMC flash-integrated data protection.)

Supportability: HPE Labs, Technology Services and Solutions

Wrapped around this technology are cloud analytics offered via HPE StoreFront Remote which uses data from the array, fabric, hosts and backups to detect and proactively prevent bottleneck and issues. We also test this technology in HPE Labs, some of the largest and most comprehensive labs in the world. The testing, validation and qualification covers HPE, third-party vendors and thousands of different combinations of operating systems and drivers.

Finally, all of these technologies are supported by HPE Global Support Labs, which hosts more than 26,000 devices. HPE support engineers use this resource to reproduce any environment and any issue to enable quick resolution. (For more on StoreFront Remote, read this blog: Analytics to Help You Get the Most of Your Storage Investment).  

Back to finding the perfect fitness wearable device...

Try selecting the one that takes in the bigger picture and ties into your ecosystem. And for the health of your data center, take the same approach: look at a solution that is infrastructure-aware—like HPE 3PAR StoreServ flash storage.

Be sure to check out this video from Storage Switzerland that continues the infrastructure-aware flash discussion—and why all-flash is the first step, not the final step.

Just getting started with flash storage? Check out these tips and resources for buying an all-flash storage array solution.

Meet Around the Storage Block bloggers

Phil Gilbert.jpg


Phill Gilbert, Worldwide 3PAR Product Manager, HPE Storage  @gilphilbert




Ivan Iannaccone, Director of Product Management, HPE 3PAR  @IvanIannaccone

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