HPE 3PAR Flash Storage Review

Data access has been tremendously better


What is our primary use case?

It is our primary storage. The entire company runs off 3PAR. Right now, we are in a VMware environment. All of our virtual machines are stored on 3PAR, along with all of our EMR applications, practice management solutions, and email. All of our virtual machines are running off of 3PAR. Our file server is on there too.

How has it helped my organization?

The product has heavily improved the way our organizations functions. Before we got the 3PAR, we were running an HPE Generation 6 server as our storage server. It was slow, and we were getting low on space, so we weren't able to expand capacity that easily. Since we went to 3PAR, it has fiber connections connecting all the cabinets together. Therefore, data access has been tremendously better, especially when we have to constantly recall, all day long everyday, patients charts or when we are doing scheduling. We see over 2000 patients on a daily basis, so we have to have speed and reliability. By implementing 3PAR over the old, regular file storage server that we had before, it has drastically improved our patient care.

What is most valuable?

Reliability is its most valuable feature. We have multiple cabinets with multiple failure points, so if there is one failure then we don't have worry about it. It is easy to replace a part of the cabinet when we are up and running. We can replicate back over, then we are good to go. Our uptime has to be there, so we can continue seeing patients. That is the biggest part of the reliability that I am looking for.

What needs improvement?

I would like an easier user interface and setup to help with deployment. There were many areas of the setup where I was like, “Why don't we do it this way?” Therefore, some of the things in the user interface could have been more refined, so you don't have to click in 5000 different places to accomplish one goal. Less clicks means more efficiency.  

I feel like there is a big training gap. Obviously, the HPE engineers know all about the product and can come in and do the setup with ease. However, once they hand off the product to the in-house IT group, there might be a learning gap there. E.g,, I have to call them now every time I have a problem. 

I feel like they should've spent more time with us. They were only onsite for two days, and I feel like there should be more outside training to explain how to use the product.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been pretty stable. We have only had one major issue. It was because of a redundancy that we had set up. HPE sent us a new part, then we swapped it in and were back up and running.

So far, I'm pretty satisfied with the solution's availability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

So far, we have not had to scale up. However, that day may be coming, and we actually provisioned our 3PAR to be scalable in the future. So, I think the scalability is pretty good considering HPE helped us design and implement it in a way where we can scale up when needed.

How are customer service and technical support?

So far, the technical support has been good. We had one major failure and the technical support team sent us a part within four hours. Then, we had the new part, and it was everything was back up and running. We were able to talk to a 3PAR specialist to walk us through how to get everything reconfigured. So, there was virtually no down time.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

The previous solution that we had was about 10 years old. It was an HPE Generation 6 server. We had some management changes, and it was time for a refresh which we hadn't done in many years.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty complex. There were a lot of different things that had to happen which was the reason why they had to send out the HPE engineers to help us. 

My philosophy is if you have to send out an engineer to do it, then it is probably more complicated for the end user.

What about the implementation team?

Softchoice helped us procure the equipment, and HPE sent out 3PAR specialists to help us configure and deploy the product. Our experience with Softchoice was great.

It was pretty easy to deploy the product to begin with because HPE helped us do it. They sent product specialists in. So, deployment of this particular product was definitely easy-breezy.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI. We are able to see more patients now, bringing more money into the practice.

3PAR has increased our performance.

The product has definitely improved throughput. We are able to more efficiently see patients because all of our medical records and practice management software seems to run faster. Uploading images and charts is a lot faster. Recalling information in the exam rooms is faster. The overall throughput of data, going back and forth, is so we can more efficiently see patients, and it also helps increase our patient flow. We can see patients a lot faster, getting them in and out a lot more quickly.

What other advice do I have?

Spend your time doing the research on the product and learn the system.

So far, it has been pretty reliable. It has been a set it and forget it type product, which has been great, except for when there are some minor issues. However, the issues that we have had were resolved fairly quickly.

We are flash and standard disk combo, or hybrid. Having flash though does not mean that we have faster performance. What it does helps us with is being able to see more patients, because we're not having to wait as long for applications to load or waiting for the data to get sent to where it needs to be.

Biggest lesson learnt: Why didn't we do it a long time ago?

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