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The Storage Industry’s First Triple-Double: HPE 3PAR StoreServ 9450



Big news: introducing the new HPE 3PAR StoreServ 9450 storage array. Read on to see what basketball great Larry Bird and 3PAR StoreServ storage have in common!

HPE 3PAR 9450_triple double_blog.jpgRecently Calvin gave a great overview of all the storage goodies that HPE just announced (Cliff Notes version: We’ve got the right flash platform at the right economics with the right level of protection for any customer).

Now I’m here to dig deeper into our 3PAR storage news. With the introduction of the new HPE 3PAR StoreServ 9450 storage array and our enhancements to the HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20000 series, we are continuing to:

  • Evolve the industry’s #1 midrange storage array series
  • Raise the bar for the best-in-class enterprise flash array series

Other than my passion for all things flash (who doesn’t love a good deep dive on garbage collection?), I’m also a sports fanatic. That’s why I’m combining two of my favorite things in a two-part blog series explaining what Larry Bird, Usain Bolt and 3PAR StoreServ have in common.

We’ll start here with Larry Bird...

The bird is the word

Next time you tweet, take a moment to notice the little blue Twitter bird. Did you know that little guy has a name? It’s Larry. Larry the Bird. As in, Larry Bird, the hall of fame basketball player

“Larry Legend” (as he is known throughout Boston) is a legend for a good reason: While he wasn’t the best athlete, his multi-dimensional game made him a consistent “triple-double” threat (this is when a player accumulates a double-digit number total in three of five statistical categories—points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots—in a game).

What made Larry truly great in my eyes is that he was never satisfied with what he had accomplished.  He was always focused on evolving his game.  For example, he came back from every offseason with a new trick.

Never stop getting better

Back in 1985, Bird was arguably the best player in the NBA (reigning MVP; two-time NBA champion).  He spent that entire offseason developing his left hand. The following season (which would end in another MVP and NBA title), Bird wanted to challenge himself. For one game he decided to finish every basket (other than a jump shot) with his left hand. He scored 10 of his 21 field goals with his left hand and finished the game with 47 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists (triple-double alert!).  If you don’t believe me, check out the highlights.

I see this same “never stop getting better” mentality within HPE, particularly with 3PAR StoreServ.  The best example of this is the platform’s midrange, where we could have been content to be #1 but instead we have continued to push boundaries and break new ground. For example, back in 2012 when we introduced the 7000 series, we brought enterprise class capabilities to the midrange for the first time with a 4-node capable system. But not content to stop there, we then went all-flash for #1 SPC-1 External Price/Performance with the 3PAR 8000 series. This was like the flash array equivalent of having your cake and eating it too (or to keep the sports theme going – having your hot dog and eating it too!). Why? Because for the first time organizations didn’t have to choose between speed, affordability and enterprise-class capabilities.

Making #1 even better: more scale and more performance

I believe this “no tradeoffs” approach is a big reason why, for two years running, the 3PAR 8000 has been the #1 storage array in the midrange*, #1 in every Garter Critical Capability, and considered best-in-class storage. Now the introduction of the 3PAR 9450 tops this by offering enterprise-scale capabilities with up to 18 PB of usable capacity as well as even more all-flash performance.   3PAR 9450 evolution 1.jpg

Yes, it’s the storage industry’s first “triple-double”

While the 3PAR 9450 could be likened to Larry Bird due to its multidimensionality, make no mistake about it—this array is nothing less than a beast, extending the limits of what is considered midrange storage. 

In fact, it delivers what I would consider the first “triple-double” of storage:

  • Double the Nodes of most midrange storage arrays
  • Double the Horsepower of the 3PAR 8450
  • Double the Scale of the 3PAR 8450

The foundation of the 3PAR midrange portfolio is a scale-up or scale-out, 4-node capable architecture.  That’s unlike the majority of midrange systems like Dell EMC VNX, Dell EMC Unity, or all of Pure Storage systems which are all based on a dual-controller architecture. This design forces big tradeoffs between scalability and performance, because if you lose a controller you lose 50% of all your physical resources.  That’s why its really hard to be considered enterprise-class with just two nodes.   

The 3PAR 9450 scales out to four nodes to deliver predictable performance for multitenant workloads.  It’s a field-tested and proven architecture built for 6-nines availability. This means you can consolidate with confidence.

The 3PAR 9450 also doubles the horsepower of the 3PAR 8450 because we have doubled the CPUs and ASICs on each node. This delivers even more horsepower for 3PAR to attack IO by separating metadata from data and processing them both in parallel. The CPU and ASIC work together, in parallel, to deliver unrivaled scale of performance over 1.8 Million IOPs all at sub-millisecond latency.  It also offers 34 GB/s of bandwidth. Bandwidth sometimes gets overlooked, but its super important when you are consolidating multitenant workloads. You need a big pipe to push and pull tons of different types of data and that’s what big bandwidth delivers. By leveraging this design we’re able to keep the CPU utilization way down while increasing the integrated features required of an enterprise array. The best part is there are no appliances or replication VMs required.3PAR horsepower 2.jpg

And finally we’ve doubled the scale of the 3PAR 8450 and can deliver over 18 PB of usable capacity in a single rack.  That’s based on a 4:1 compaction which is the average ratio of 3PAR customers.

To put these performance and capacity numbers into perspective, let’s compare them to some other popular all-flash solutions: 

  • Pure m70 represents typical dual controller midrange storage systems that are designed for specific data services such as data compaction but lack the resiliency and scale of enterprise class storage systems
  • Dell EMC VMAX 250F represents four controller enterprise class storage systems that are designed for resiliency with a strong portfolio of data services but are costly and complex to maintain

Note that all performance and capacity numbers are based on publically available information. 3PAR midrange consolidation 3.jpg

Focused on performance or capacity?

Whichever one, the bottom line is you would require multiple storage array systems to the do the work of a single HPE 3PAR StoreServ 9450. This means less power, cooling, space and cost. That’s the power of the storage industry’s first “triple-double.” 

Larry Legend never rested on his laurels, and neither can we. 

For those considering long-term investment strategies, the 3PAR StoreServ 9450 also provides a future-proof path to next generation Storage Class Memory and NVM Express (NVMe) using HPE 3PAR 3D Cache. 

But let’s save that topic for my second blog, where I focus on recent enhancements to the HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20000 series, and how we are raising the bar for this best-in-class enterprise flash array series. (And see how I tie in Usain Bolt to that discussion!)  Check it out:  When You’ve Got the Need for Speed: HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20000

*IDC WW Disk Storage Systems Tracker CQ4 2016, March 2017


Matt Morrissey_HPE Storage.jpeg

 Meet Around the Storage Block blogger Matt Morrissey, 3PAR Product Marketing Manager, HPE Storage.



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Syed Abdul Majeed

Hi Matt,

Great article and exciting that 3PAR now supports NVMe and SCM.  As a 3PAR salesperson myself, I was always facing issues with 3PAR dedupe because it doesn't work with block size less than 16KB and most of the customers use a default block size of 4K. I think that's the reason probably HPE is focussing more on Nimble as the defacto AFA and 3PAR will continue to be the Hybrid offering.