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HPE 3PAR Flash Storage Review
The most valuable feature is its tiered approach to data structuring. We can quickly move data from slow disks to faster disks.


Valuable Features:

The most valuable feature is its tiered approach to data structuring. We can quickly move data that's stored on slow disks to faster disks if the demand arises. That's good value for our company.

Improvements to My Organization:

We've recently embarked on a large-scale convergence project where we've consolidated about 250 physical servers to virtual servers. Those virtual servers are hosted onto 3PARs 7400 systems, which are located in two data centers. They give us high availability and real-time access to data in both locations. In terms of the value for business and the value for us, it's given us the facility to have a business continuity plan, which we never had before.

Room for Improvement:

Data de-duplication is something that's lacking in 3PAR. We use HPE StoreOnce systems as part of a backup solution. StoreOnce systems, they use a SAS disks, which are spin disks. They have about 80% de-duplication ratio, which from a backup perspective, that gives us tremendous capacity to back up to disk; not to take to disk for 12, 24 months. When you compare that to 3PAR, 3PAR doesn't have de-duplication and this causes storage issues.

Technically that's not true. 3PAR has de-duplication on the SSD drives, but because it's a mixed drive chassis, the large proportion of data that we have comes in the first class of the SAS disks, which will equate to maybe about 70 or 80% for top data. They're not de-duplicated. I think that's a feature that HPE need to work on quickly.

Stability Issues:

3PARs are very stable. We've been using 3PARs both in the UK and our headquarters in France for maybe four years now and we've not had any issues with the system, so they're a quite a reliable system.

Scalability Issues:

Scalability depends on the situation. Whenever you try and provision these converged platforms, you've got to have an element of planning in terms of where your business is going grow for the next two or three years. It's interesting. We planned for 20% data growth on a 3PAR infrastructure over three years. What we found was we had closer to 20% data growth per year. 

So if you look it from a data scaling perspective, we've reached the limits of our 3PAR 7200s in Europe. Thankfully for us, we've got 7400s, which gives you a lot more scalability in terms of storage. From a memory and processing prospective, they're perfect. So we have no issues with scalability.

Technical Support:

Technical support is very good for the 3PARs you get. We've bought a 5-year support plan and we get to speak to the 3PAR technical support team in Houston, Tx. They're quite responsive. The 3PAR support plan, as well, is a reactive support plan, so we've got people from Houston who are looking at our systems and they inform us whenever a disk is filled. They send disks to be swapped out. They can be swapped out by our team or they can be swapped out by an HP person that turns up and does the job for you.

Previous Solutions:

We're a large company of many, many small companies and we've realized through global projects that have an autonomous approach to IT departments, for example, where it doesn't work. That's exactly the same when it comes to the architecture behind your IT environment. We had to look at centralizing all of our systems, all of our platforms, so that we could offer a meaningful level of service to business. Without centralization, we couldn't guarantee the service of any of our platforms around the key business applications that the business expected us to deploy. That's how we knew to centralize all of our systems and platforms and host them on converged systems.

Initial Setup:

Initial setup was very complex. These systems are very complex, but if you buy a converged system from HPE, the converged system is part of the package and HPE provides you with the technical expertise to come out and build the converged systems for you. They're built and tested at the manufacturing plant. You can go and visit the manufacturing plant and see them if you want. Some people can. Then they're sent to your site and HPE sends experts to build the 3PARs on site and assist you with the build.

Other Advice:

We have a global HPE agreement and it depends on the sort of size of projects and whether or not we issue and RFP when we got to other suppliers. If we do issue an RFP, then we're not tied internally to working with HPE. We can work with whoever we think's best for the requirement. But because we have such a good close working relationship with HPE and because they attend industry events, I'm always key to recommend to some of our peers and our colleagues around the world that they should be looking at this or that particular product.

3PAR's good from a medium-sized to large-sized enterprises. We're probably a large-sized enterprise company, but we have also small companies around the world where we wouldn't recommend the 3PAR for those sort of situations. We'd recommend applying a platform converged systems solution.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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