What is our primary use case?
We use it as a primary storage device for user data and applications. It covers complex business needs in our organization. We have a lot of secure data on there. A lot of our financial applications run on our 3PAR.
It has been excellent. We've got a 7440c at my office and then we have two 8000 series at the other sites. We're using Adaptable Optimization, we've got the different tiers of disks. We find that the performance is excellent, really excellent.
How has it helped my organization?
Previously, we had lots of different storage vendors. We moved to a standardized platform using 3PAR and then we were able to have a consistent set of documentation through all of our sites, and we're able to replicate data between the sites really easily.
The biggest benefit is the fact that it's pretty much bulletproof; we never have any issues with them.
What is most valuable?
Reliability, the fact that it works really, really well. It is a really solid platform.
What needs improvement?
I know that the reporting functionality is changing. It's going to be much better and that's something that we're looking forward to.
I would like to see more flexibility with the cloud. I've actually just been in a presentation about it, here at HPE Discover 2018, so those features are coming.
It's still an older architecture, you've got a lot of physical spinning disks. I would imagine more the memory-based computing is coming.
For how long have I used the solution?
More than five years.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It is massively scalable. It's very easy to add more capacity, it's very easy to add more modules if required. It's the same with the licensing model. I think the licensing model changed last year, or two years ago, and now it's much more flexible.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support is good. It's still separate from the normal HP Enterprise support team. It's really responsive, incredibly knowledgeable. Their engineers are wonderful, really good. We have had really positive results with the 3PAR support guys.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
About eight years ago, we had a bunch of different storage platforms, and we actually went through a proof of concept and selected 3PAR. Our company was expanding. We realized that our data footprint was going to grow massively in the next few years. We're a game developer so our data growth is completely mirrored by the hardware that we make our games on. At the time, we knew that there were new versions of PlayStation, Xbox 4K coming out for TV, so all of our assets just blew up, about 20 times the size.
We realized we needed to invest in an enterprise-grade solution. We looked at three or four different companies. Then, we rolled out the F400 series.
The factors we considered were the normal things: Obviously, cost per terabyte or gigabyte, performance, IOPS; scalability was a massive factor as well. We knew that we were going to grow and we needed to be able to just add shelves of disks or add SSD, add SaaS or add Nearline.
How was the initial setup?
The setup is one of the drawbacks of 3PAR system, it's a fairly complicated piece of hardware. You need to get the engineers in to do it. So it wasn't something that we could do on our own. The Professional Services that we engaged with were wonderful, and it was a couple of days as opposed to a week or two weeks.
What was our ROI?
ROI, that's a difficult one. It's expensive. When we compare that to the cost of the product that we make, and the return that we get, it's a small piece of the overall project cost. So we don't really complain about how much we initially had to pay for it. The value is that it works, and we don't have any downtime. The return on investment is pretty good.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at NetApp, we looked at EMC, we looked at 3PAR, and 3PAR was the best fit for us totally.
What other advice do I have?
- Get a proof-of-concept
- Draw a list of testing criteria
- Have a testing matrix
- Be clear in your objectives
3PAR is a great solution but it has a big physical footprint for the amount of data. There are other solutions out there. If you don't necessarily require the performance and the redundancy, there are other things to consider. But, it's a really solid storage appliance.
I would give the 3PAR an eight out of 10. Because we don't have any issues with it, it's hard to complain about it. But obviously giving it a 10 out of 10 would mean that there is no work to be done. I give it a strong eight.