HPE 3PAR Flash Storage Review

3PAR - Popeye's spinach for the I.T. Industry

Valuable Features

The CPG, Dynamic / Adaptive Optimization, the CLI, and more importantly the way it's licensed as you are not "tagged" and held hostage when you're at 1TB, and another, and another, and another. The licensing is a brilliant approach to the fiscal tourniquet of scalability! Oh.. I also like the service processor and how it's out of band and monitors the SAN, how it does the updates - neat little component.

Improvements to My Organization

Scaling and performance. Easy to add shelves, easy to move data around while everything is hot, move data from tier to tier, expanding a LUN, there are so many ways it's just amazing how much it's helped! The snapshot and sending them to different tiers by using the CPG makes life a bit easier!

Room for Improvement

Removing a LUN mapping from a single host is a bit odd, worse a single host in a host set, it needs 10G ports for IP based replication (needs to be 1 or 10G). Keep working on the SSMC and allow for GUI management to be cross platform.

Use of Solution

Around 2 years

Deployment Issues

I have deployed several and found the SmartStart CD to be intermittent. Also, during the install when the SP locates the array, the network based multicast can't find the storage array and you have to go to console / serial cable. Not too big of a deal, but you then have to configure settings manually.

Stability Issues

Never as of yet. It has been rock solid!

Scalability Issues

We can't hit it hard enough yet. As I said adding shelves and drives all is pretty nice and straight forward.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

Early on, I had some strong opinions about the transition to more of HP support. I raised concerns, The HP team in Alpharetta, Ga lead by Brad Bates took significant steps, listened, and made adjustments. Buying a product is one thing, post-sale is what keeps customers coming back and maintains longevity.

Technical Support:

Thus far, pretty impressive. I met the actual teams of people and after the initial "hiccup", I had a chance to see the HP Lab, meet some of the people that enjoy what they do. It's important for everyone to understand that IT people work inverse hours and when we make changes it's evenings, weekends, and holidays. Senior level - tenured members of most companies are "off" while HP found a way to keep solid individuals available to be available.

Previous Solutions

Funny you ask - let's just say a "no named" array that had redundant controllers completely torched nearly every ESX datastore where it "gutted" the data inside of it, but left the shell. Yet, the support person on the phone called the update "successful on my end". Sure, the nodes made have updated, but the data was gone - you be the judge! I have used solutions from many, many storage vendors.

Initial Setup

Pretty straightforward - even though HP says "self installable" I highly recommend a qualified person with a great deal of understanding of virtualization, zoning, etc. Could a person with no experience using storage do this? Eh...maybe getting the array on-line, but I would not recommend it (nor would I for any vendor).

Implementation Team

Well, I am "that vendor team", but I am also a user as well. So, if I am allowed to rate my experience - 25 years of IT, nearly 15 years of storage - we can do pretty well!!

Other Solutions Considered

The usual EMC stuff.

Other Advice

Whether you are new to storage or advanced, this is the most amazing piece of hardware I have ever had my hands on, built, and used. The thought behind much of the detail of how it works just seems incredible. Think about this, you have drives that sit in multiple RAID arrays because of the CPGs and how the SAN is always moving chunklets around to keep hot spots from occurring. If I could meet the founders and shake their hand, I would love to and let them know thank you. Thank you for giving me the chance to have fun with my job and have access to such hardware. I would also thank HP for taking a datacenter class piece of hardware and re-aligning it to be competitive in any space - just brilliant!

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I personally bought my own 3PAR for myself (no HP discounts were given to me - other than I bought the arrays using the HP renew program), my company owns 3PAR arrays for our hosting practice, but I am also the Director of a consulting practice that is responsible for architecting solutions for clients. We can sell any vendor, and we have, but we landed and only sell HP because 3PAR is the "SAN doctor in the house"!
7 visitors found this review helpful
Calvin Zito, HPEStorageGuyVendor

Hey Dave - what a great review and really captured the 3PAR special sauce. Thanks for taking the time.

02 February 15
Calvin Zito, HPEStorageGuyVendor

This is so cool, I wanted to be sure no one miss that HP 3PAR All-Flash won the All-Flash Product of the Year Award from TechTarget. I have a blog that talks about it. http://hpstorage.me/19Cw9a8

20 February 15
User with 1,001-5,000 employeesVendor

How does 3PAR handle mixed workload, data dedupe and SSD wear & tear. Reason I ask is that I have heard 3PAR performance falls off a cliff with dedeupe.

Disclosure: I work for EMC

04 May 15
Calvin Zito, HPEStorageGuyVendor

Let me hit each of those:
1). The 3PAR architecture was built around mix workloads. It uses internal fine grained virtualization and multi-layer abstraction are key. There's also a mesh-active controller architecture that is important to this. There's a very good white paper that talks about the architecture that is a "must read" if you don't understand HP 3PAR: http://hpstorage.me/1bGt9Kc
2). Data deduplication has been implemented in the 3PAR ASICs. It's hardware enabled and inline. The white paper discusses this but there's also a very good blog post that summarizes 3PAR Thin Deduplication: http://hpstorage.me/1FWfHym
3). SSD wear & tear - starting point for this is that we offer a 5 year guarantee on our 3PAR SSDs. There are some pretty cool things we do to extend the life of SSD and squeeze more capacity our of a standard SSD. For example, what other vendors sell as a 1.6TB SSD, we sell as a 1.9TB SSD. Here's another blog post on the topic of SSD wear: http://hpstorage.me/1H9kDkZ

Hope that helps - feel free to reach out if you have more questions.

09 May 15
Calvin Zito, HPEStorageGuyVendor

Steve - also just noticed you work for EMC XtremIO - if you're leaving those kind of comments here to create FUD, shame on you. If it's the line you're being fed by your competitive attack people, you should have them create true competitive information instead of spreading untruths. I find it interesting that EMC takes the tact of trying to attack the performance of deduplication. I'm guessing they realized that doesn't work because the latest I've heard is attacking the fact that there's an ASIC. Here's a recent blog that addresses that EMC FUD: http://hpstorage.me/1L7esiT

13 June 15
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