HPE 3PAR Flash Storage Review

Workloads have improved in performance

What is our primary use case?

We are using 3PAR for production workloads, processing insurance policies and claims, file shares, and storage.

It has been performing well so far. We have had a few hiccups on the configuration side, but we have been working with HPE on them. For the most part, the product has been pretty seamless.

How has it helped my organization?

It had our organization start to think like an actual organization. A lot of stuff came out where the management of our workloads has improved dramatically.

We have gotten out of the mindset of physical is better; virtualization has taken hold and is starting to take off. We are going through the process of consolidation to 100% virtual. It has been incremental growth over a short period of time.

What is most valuable?

I live in Houston, so disaster recovery (DR) is very important, and the site-to-site replication is huge. I love that feature. We have our backups set up to replicate between two sites, then we also have our storage set up to replicate between two sites. The next piece would probably be to stack on a synergy appliance and be able to get our compute layer replicated between the two sites as well, which would round out that whole DR scenario.

What needs improvement?

What appeals to me is having mobile functionality. There is a vendor portal for 3PAR for whatever you want to purchase. I would like to see something from an administrator's standpoint, as opposed to having to go to a web browser, where you get a ping on your phone which says, "Your license is coming up for renewal," or, "You have a drive that is bad," in conjunction with stuff, such as InfoSight.

This is something which provides value back to me, because then I am not having to constantly babysit my vendors and say, "When do I have renewals coming due?" It is tough to get vendors who engage with you on that level. They go back and say, "Just a heads up, but these are what are coming due." Maybe they can backfill that with a mobile app.

My admins like having this functionality and direct integration, where it is like, "I need to do this, this, and this." If they could do it all from their phone that would be better. Though, sometimes it is tough, because of tiny phones, and all there is to use is a web browser. It can be hard to read on a smaller screen. If it is a mobile app, maybe it could be finessed into something where basic tasks could be done.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

After we got past all the hiccups with the conditional configuration, the stability has been rock solid. I like the simplicity of it. We do not have to fidget with it a whole lot once we have it set up correctly. It has been stable and performs well, so I have no complaints whatsoever.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is incredible. We have a single server cabinet today, but we can grow it to as many cabinets as we need.

How is customer service and technical support?

We go through a third party. We did not use HPE tech support unless we need to escalate an issue.

Sadly, the support from HPE has not been all that great. It is tough to get a tech out or get a response from some of the techs that we have.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved in the initial setup. When I came onboard, the product was already in the environment. 

What was our ROI?

We have already seen ROI. We have had it in the environment for about three months. It has been absolutely tremendous. Workloads have improved in performance. We do not have a lot of the same struggles that we used to.

It is stable. It does what its supposed to. You can feed it compute and storage as you need to. Whereas with our standard DL380 and ML350 servers, once you get to a certain point, that is as big as you can get. With this product, you can throw another shelf of storage or blade at it and grow it as much as you need to. 

As our workloads have increased, we have been able to finesse those into a good size to where they are valuable for us.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We had to go back and purchase iLO licenses and brocade switches for the flex fabric to have a complete solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Our organization looked at NetApp and Pure Storage. Pure Storage was just too expensive. NetApp was good, but they did not have anybody familiar with the NetApp configuration.

Our biggest requirement was ease of use. HPE seemed to have all the pieces that we needed, and it easy enough to get somebody trained up on how to manage it.

What other advice do I have?

Understand your needs first. If you do not have a need for a highly technical solution, or you have workloads which are not high-performing. 3PAR is a perfect fit.

Understand your environment. Know what you are getting into. Research the different tools which are out there. Make sure that it is a good fit. It is nice to have the high performance stuff, but if you do not have high performance workloads, keep it simple and 3PAR is simple for us.

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:  Our biggest requirement was ease of use. Scalability was another. We can scale it up pretty much as big as we need to. Those were the two biggest criteria.

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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