HP 3PAR Gets Integrated Block, File, Object Storage With Single User Interface

Hewlett-Packard Tuesday expanded its HP 3PAR storage offering with a software change that provides unified block, file, and object storage capabilities on the same array.

The company also expanded 3PAR's support for automated data migration from rival vendors' arrays as well as automated snapshots from 3PAR to HP StoreOnce backup appliances.

The HP 3PAR enhancements, introduced at the HP Discover 2014 conference being held this week in Barcelona, Spain, address customer requirements for ways to reduce the complexity of storage as they move to adopt cloud and software-defined data center technologies, said Craig Nunes, vice president of worldwide marketing for HP storage.

[Related: HP's Dual Hyper-Converged Strategy: StoreVirtual VSA, VMware EVO: RAIL]

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"We're bringing a simpler approach to tackling a lot of the complexity customers face," Nunes told CRN.

The changes HP has made since it acquired 3PAR are having a big impact, said Mike Vencel, senior vice president of Comport Technology Solutions, a Ramsey, N.J.-based solution provider and platinum-level HP partner.

"We're seeing the investments HP has made over the last couple of years come to fruition now," Vencel told CRN. "HP has a maniacal focus on 3PAR."

Toward that end, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor introduced the HP 3PAR File Persona, a technology that integrates block, file, and object storage into the 3PAR storage operating system, Nunes said. "This gives customers a single unified user interface," he said. "There's no need for APIs."

Storage capacity on new HP 3PAR arrays can be configured for use for either block, file or object storage, and can be automatically reconfigured for different protocols once it is no longer needed for its original task Nunes said.

File Persona is first available on the new HP 3PAR StoreServ 7440c, which can be configured with up to 240 SSDs and up to 960 spinning drives. The StoreServ 7440c can also be ordered in an all-flash configuration. When fully configured, customers get up to 3.5 petabytes of useable capacity with performance of over 900,000 IOPS, Nunes said.

File Persona is being added to other upcoming HP 3PAR StoreServ models as well, he said.

File Persona provides a tremendous amount of flexibility to customers, including Comport's health care customers, which are seeing an explosion of all types of data, especially of unstructured data, Vencel said.

"To solve our customers' various block, file and object storage requirements, we are currently forced into silos by the manufacturers," he said. "With HP, we now have a single interface and user interface. We get a holistic, easy-to-use portfolio to simplify solve a lot of problems."

NEXT: New Recovery and Migration Options For HP 3PAR

The new unified block, file and object storage capabilities for HP 3PAR arrays is something HP has been promising for some time, and is a promising solution, said Rich Baldwin, CIO and chief strategy officer of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and long-term HP channel partner.

"But it's not a NetApp-killer yet," Baldwin told CRN. "NetApp has had a lot of years to focus on the functionality and performance of its NAS, while HP has traditionally been more of a block storage story. But this is a really good design."

For customers, File Persona means fewer systems will be required to address various requirements, Baldwin said. "EMC has VNX and VMAX," he said. "HP at one time had five different systems. And for file storage, HP partners had to sell a Windows box. But customers don't really care about the underlying hardware. If they can buy one box instead of two or three, that's what they prefer."

HP also introduced the HP StoreOnce Recovery Manager Central, a new software tool that allows application-managed snapshots on 3PAR StoreServ systems combined with automatic movement of changed data directly to an HP StoreOnce Backup appliance.

HP StoreOnce RMC lets virtual machine-level backups be moved directly from the 3PAR primary storage arrays to the StoreOnce backup appliance to provide rapid backup and on-line recovery of virtual machines and data stores along with improved flexibility and reduced cost, Nunes said.

Also new is a 50-TB HP StoreOnce Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) option targeting partners who provide backup-as-a-service. The new 50-TB HP StoreOnce VSA supports both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments.

The HP 3PAR Online Import software, which previously supported the automated migration of data from EMC's VNX and Clariion arrays, was also expanded to allow migration from EMC VMAX.

That capability is tied with the HP Get Thin Guarantee, Nunes said. "If customers move from an installed platform to 3PAR, we guarantee they will only use half the capacity of their previous platform," he said. "And if we're wrong, we'll make up the capacity."

The expansion of the HP 3PAR Online Import software to include VMAX comes at the right time, Vencel said. "We see customers now looking at a very expensive migration of data to the new VMAX 3," he said. "We now have an opportunity to migrate that data to the 3PAR 7440c to save them money while providing a better footprint."

The HP 3PAR StoreServ 7440c Converged Flash Array is now shipping with a starting price of $78,000. The HP StoreServ Management Console is expected to be available in mid-December. The HP 3PAR File Persona software is slated to be released in January with a price of $129 per usable terabyte of capacity.