The service and the support, as well as the technology. Yes, there are plenty of technical features that it offers, which we would expect from HPE. One of the reasons that we use HPE is because they tend to provide a quality product with all the latest advances in technology; so, its storage level, things like deduplication, all-flash array, real-time replication.
In addition to that, it's just as important that the ongoing support and monitoring of the system is proactive, and also the account management side. If we have particular challenges with either the specific design and build of the array or we need to upgrade, we feel like we have good support from the people who own our relationship to help guide us through that process.
Improvements to My Organization:
It's a very critical technology component within our service offering. The storage sits central to everything else, such that it needs to be really robust. It needs to be highly available and it needs to be secure as well. All those things are very important. Because we're a service provider and we offer multitenancy, we need to be available to do that in a way such that we can host multiple clients’ data on the same storage system and in a secure fashion.
Room for Improvement:
I suppose I’d like to see more security in terms of encryption on the device without it impacting performance. For all I know, that might exist. It’s something occasionally we get asked for. Our understanding has been that there are challenges around introducing inline encryption to a storage system because it increases the performance overhead.
Initially, some years ago, it missed a few important features. Until reasonably recently, one feature that was missing was the asynchronous real-time replication. In the last year or so, that's been introduced. I think that's taken too long. That was a little bit of a step back.
Use of Solution:
We've been using 3PAR for about five or six years.
Overall, touch wood, we've never had a major failure. We found it to be very, very stable. I think there are some challenges when it comes to upgrading the firmware on the system, and making those incremental updates. Apart from that, it's pretty rock solid.
I suppose that those types of highly scalable environments that perhaps larger service providers need; we don't really push the boundaries of the product in that sense, too much. There are some step changes you have to make, I suppose, as you grow, which you'd prefer not to. You have to invest, maybe, in more enclosures or those kind of things, whereas you'd like it to be a bit smoother.
From a financial point of view, which is probably the main challenge there, HPE are providing solutions for that in the terms of flexible capacity, where they help part share the financial responsibility and give you a more linear and smooth scaling of the system, and help you fund that.
Before 3PAR, we used the HPE EVA technology. We’ve always used HPE.
Other Solutions Considered:
We have looked at EMC as an alternative to HPE 3PAR, but in terms of servers and storage, we are very much aligned with HPE and have been for over 20 years, so there are a lot of reasons why we use them.
One of the reasons we selected 3PAR was a similar reason that HP first acquired 3PAR: It's used by the world's biggest service and cloud providers. They're particularly focused on the multitenancy elements. It provides virtual domain technology that allows you to securely separate different customers' environments and where they store that data. You basically create multiple virtual SANs within a SAN. For a service provider who's doing multitenancy, clearly that's a big advantage for us.
The most important criteria when selecting 3PAR was the multitenancy piece, because we get a lot of questions from our clients around how we securely segment their data; if we can prove to them that our administrators can only log into their specific domain within that shared storage system and we can provide an audit trail.
Absolutely get the design of the system right. Work very closely with the right pre-sales technical teams. If you don't, it can be expensive to try and rectify that after you've bought it.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.