HP Adds Low-Cost Capacity, Enterprise Software To 3Par 7450 Flash Array

Hewlett-Packard Monday updated its HP 3Par all-flash array with a new enterprise-class storage base and lower-cost flash drives, and in the process increased its uptime guarantee and added a five-year warranty on the array's SSDs.

HP also used its HP Discover conference, held this week in Las Vegas, to introduce a new aggregated backup capacity and management solution.

The upgrades to the HP 3Par 7450 will help channel partners take advantage of the very hot flash storage market, said Craig Nunes, vice president of marketing for HP storage.

"This June, we are taking flash mainstream," Nunes told CRN. "With prices falling, we feel the time is right for flash to be used for mainstream applications, particularly with what customers say they are doing with auto-tiering."

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The enhanced HP 3Par 7450 also leverages HP's enterprise scalability and resiliency capabilities to compete against the flash storage startups that have been generating a lot of market buzz, Nunes said.

[Related: EMC Acquires Server-Side Flash Developer DSSD, Plans 2015 Product Release ]

"The 3Par 7450's scalability, combined with its resiliency, is a tremendous alternative to what the venture-backed vendors are coming out with," he said. "The scalability of those companies' generation-one arrays is tiny."

HP, Palo Alto, Calif., is out to compete with the newer generation of all-flash storage array vendors on price as well, Nunes said.

"We're offering an all-flash array at less than $2 per usable Gigabyte," he said. "That's the kind of pricing you find with 15,000-rpm spinning disk media."

The new HP 3Par 7450 all-flash storage array appears to be HP's stake in the ground against the smaller all-flash array vendors, said Rich Baldwin, CIO and chief strategy officer of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and HP channel partner.

"Why would you want Pure Storage or Nimble when you can buy 3Par?" Baldwin told CRN. "The 3Par solution is bullet-proof. HP is also taking on EMC and NetApp in the flash storage market. And while the 7450 has proven to have good performance in the past, the price may have scared people away. But that will change with the new enhancements."

The biggest enhancement to the 7450 is the addition of in-line deduplication, which HP calls thin deduplication, that squeezes the capacity of data stored on the array by as much as 10:1, Nunes said.

NEXT: Using 3PAR 7450 To Compete Against The Startup Flash Array Vendors

"The cool thing is, it can run at SSD speed and latency," HP’s Nunes said. "There's negligible read overhead. On the write side, the software writes direct to cache. As a result, users can get a half-million IOPS of performance with under 0.4 milliseconds of latency."

HP is not the only flash storage vendor to recently discover the value of adding enterprise software capabilities to its hardware.

Newton, Mass.-based Kaminario in May gave its flash arrays an enterprise edge with a new suite of software that brings such capabilities as snapshot-based replication, flexible deduplication, and both scale-up and scale-out architectures.

A week earlier, Mountain View, Calif.-based Pure Storage introduced a new version of its Purity software that makes the company one of the first to bring enterprise-level replication to flash storage solutions.

On the hardware side, HP introduced new low-cost, 1.9-TB SSDs to the 3Par 7450. The drives were designed with cMLC flash technology, which is low-cost consumer-grade NAND memory.

The costs are also kept low by using some of the spare capacity kept to replace NAND memory cells that wear out after repeated writes as part of the total rated capacity, Nunes said. The 3Par 7450 also includes spare flash drives, he said.

"We realized we were double-sparing capacity," he said. So we developed an adaptive sparing technology to increase the capacity of the drives with no decrease in capabilities. In fact, we're offering a five-year warranty on the drives."

HP is also guaranteeing six nines, or 99.9999 percent, availability of the new 3Par 7450 arrays, Nunes said.

Baldwin said he sees no concerns about the lower-cost cMLC NAND flash technology in the 7450's new SSDs.

"When flash storage was first introduced, there was a lot of concern about duty cycles and life cycles," he said. "It's different today. This new release comes with a five-year warranty and six-nines of availability. That says HP is standing behind the product. This is why HP often is not the first to market with a new technology. The company spends a lot of time vetting the solutions in the lab."

NEXT: Channel, Software Enhancements For 3Par 7450

Shannah Thompson, director of channels and SMB for HP storage worldwide, told CRN that the company is pouring a lot of resources into helping the company's channel partners succeed with the new 3Par 7450.

This includes offering partners an incremental 5 percent discount when selling the new 3Par 7450, pre-sales and sales training at no cost, and the opportunity to purchase a two-node demo unit with eight 400-GB SSDs, for just over $20,000, Thompson said.

HP Monday also enhanced its backup, recovery and archiving solutions with the HP StoreOnce Federated Catalyst, a new solution the company said significantly cuts management overhead by combining all backup and archiving devices into a single pool of up to 17 Petabytes of space, all managed with a single window.

The goal, Nunes said, is to provide automation to cut the amount of time backup administrators spend on data protection and archiving and let them spend their time on more productive tasks.

"As customers move from single nodes to appliances for backups, they are getting more nodes and data stores to manage," he said. "To move beyond this, the HP StoreOnce Federated Catalyst creates a shared, flexible backup pool. So instead of dealing with redundant backup pools, all the backups are handled automatically."

The biggest winners are the backup administrators, Nunes said. "These people have to apply 'human middleware' to backups," he said. "Now they can do it automatically."

The HP StoreOnce Federated Catalyst is being introduced first with the HP StoreOnce 6500 backup appliance, with the StoreOnce 6200 getting the capability soon, followed by other devices.

The HP 3Par 7450 is slated to be available with the new SSDs starting in July, with the new software expected to be available in September, Nunes said.

The new HP StoreOnce Federated Catalyst software is slated to be available starting in July with a list price of $37,500 per pair of StoreOnce 6500 controllers, he said.