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HPE 3PAR Flash Storage Review
When we need increased performance, we buy multiple arrays and distribute the loads across all the storage arrays. A really nice feature would be a software-defined storage option.


Video Review:
Watch the full video review here.

Valuable Features:

For high-performance computing, we're always interested in innovation. The 3PAR solution, for example, with dedup and the chunklet concept is a piece of technology that nobody else has, and is a great advantage to our data center.

Improvements to My Organization:

So the benefits from using 3PAR, for example, is that with the chunklets, we can get performance and features that we've never seen before. So, for example, a traditional customer will buy a storage array and deploy their files on the storage arrays. For us, for high performance computing, we buy multiple arrays and we distribute the loads across all the storage arrays. With the chunklets feature, we have the ability to distribute as much of the load as we have storage arrays. So, for example, if we want more performance, it's just a matter of buying more storage arrays and the load will distribute itself.

Room for Improvement:

So one of the topics we always discuss with the 3PAR engineering team is the ability to have 3PAR run on standard hardware. Pretty much software-defined storage. That would be a really nice feature for us, because we always are trying to get the workload as close as possible to the CPUs. And in order to do that, you have to go software-defined.

Stability Issues:

The stability of the 3PAR and the DL servers is very reliable. As a matter of fact, when I was talking to HP sales, I was recommending to actually buy the servers with only 90 day warranty, as opposed to the three year warranty, because the servers are so reliable that they almost never fail, and we feel like overpaying for support where it's not needed.

Scalability Issues:

We have 15,000 hard drives today across all our storage arrays. We have not reached the point yet where we don't see the 3PAR devices not being able to scale for us. The innovation, like flash introduction with 3PAR, is actually gonna accelerate the fact that we can get more performance and more capacity in the near future.

Technical Support:

Technical support for 3PAR is very good. One of the advantages of using the 3PAR product is that devices are calling home. So what that means is that HP support will know about a problem before we realize we have a problem, which is a very nice feature, considering the fact that when HP can provide you feedback on when things gonna fail, how they will replace it, and it's always done within 24 hours.

Previous Solutions:

The problem we had was scalability, and we tried a numerous amount of vendors, and HP, with its product portfolio, did a great job being cost effective and allowed us to scale to the point where we could run our business more effectively.

As a high performance computing environment, we needed storage and servers, and we're using 3PAR and the DL server family from HP. We double capacity every year, so we are looking always for scalable solutions that are cost effective, and HP has been a great partner so far for us.


Cost and Licensing Advice:

So in our high performance computing environments, we are I/O bound, which means that we process about two to three million files a second. In order to process that data that quickly, in the past we had to buy a lot of spindles, the traditional hard drives. With flash, we don't have to buy that many spindles anymore. We can save money by just buying the capacity, and the performance with flash is tremendous. And the device we're using for that is the HP 3PAR 7450.

Other Solutions Considered:

The partners or the vendors we worked with in the past are EMC, NetApp, and IBM. We actually had their hardware in for testing. Some of them we actually bought, based on what we thought was the right thing to do, considering the performance we saw during our tests. But in the long run, the support we got from those vendors wasn't always what it's supposed to be, and the performance also was sometimes an issue. The advantage with HP is that when we have issues, HP always brought in their engineering team. We could discuss with them the issues we have, and they were always fixing our issues in a decent amount of time.

When we look at products, we're always interested in knowing what the other vendors and other customers are offering. Unfortunately, in our world, in the high performance computing world, we're not like a traditional corporate IT environment, where feature sets are really important and performance and latency need to be predictable. In our world, it's all about performance and latency, and if you can get the features with it, that's great, but the features are not really driving the effort.

Other Advice:

So the criteria we use for our products is always about performance, latency, and cost. The reason for that is as a high performance computing environment, we want to get the most of our hardware. The tests we run against the hardware are typically tests that most people don't run. It's heavy duty, long amount of time, and HP was the most reliable in our tests, and also the best performing.

Considering the amount of issues we have with it were pretty much zero. It's a very good price. There's a lot of innovation going on. There's a lot of support, but there's always room for improvement, so…

The advantage of using the 3PAR, even at a smaller scale, is that you get all the features from day one. So if you're a small shop or a large shop, either way the features are available to you and it allows you to scale really easily, to the point where you could start with something small and end up with something really large, without having to change your model and architecture.

Full Video:
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.

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