New HP 3PAR Brings All-Flash Storage To About $19,000, Offers Enhanced Software

HP 3PAR 8000 series

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday expanded its 3PAR storage line with a complete refresh of its midrange systems and the addition of a new lower-cost model and a new starter bundle for its higher-end versions.

The new HP 3PAR solutions, which are slated to be unveiled to the public at next week's VMworld conference in San Francisco, demonstrate HP's commitment to pushing the storage price and performance envelope, said Vish Mulchand, senior director of products for HP storage.

"We continue to drive the economics of flash storage with lower starting points," Mulchand told CRN.

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The refresh of the 3PAR line also comes as HP moves into a storage market leadership position in a couple of areas, Mulchand said. Citing data from research analyst firm IDC, he said HP 3PAR is now tied for first place with EMC's VNX line in the midsize Fibre Channel array business.

The company now also is the second-largest seller of all-flash storage arrays after EMC, having surpassed Mountain View, Calif.-based Pure Storage, he said.

"Pure Storage had a head start," he said. "But we're pleased to see the momentum we've had."

HP is replacing its midrange 3PAR 7000 series, which have been the backbone of HP's storage business, with a new 3PAR 8000 series, Mulchand said.

The 3PAR 8000 series differs from the 7000 series primarily in the use of 16-Gbit Fibre Channel and 12-Gbit SAS connectivity as well as new processors, compared with the 7000 family's use of 8-Gbit Fibre Channel and 6-Gbit SAS. The result is a 30 percent to 40 percent performance boost, he said.

HP also doubled the bandwidth of the 8000 series over that of the 7000 series, and cut latency by about 44 percent, he said.

New to the lineup is the 3PAR 8200, a new all-flash storage array that features a starting net street price of $19,497 with dual controllers and 6 TBs of usable capacity, Mulchand said.

"This is a good starting configuration for the channel to begin an all-flash storage conversation," Mulchand said.

The four models of the 3PAR 8000 series allow capacity to scale to up to 5.5 PBs of flash storage capacity with list prices starting at about $1.50 per GB, he said.

The new 3PAR 8200 is a very exciting offering, said Dan Molina, chief technology officer of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and longtime HP channel partner.

Molina told CRN that his engineers looked at a 3PAR 8200 all-flash configuration with a total of 30 TB usable capacity (with 4:1 data compaction) and 3-year proactive support, and the list price came up slightly lower than the older 3PAR 7200 with an equivalent configuration.

"So at least for this all-flash configuration, the new 3PAR 8200 not only offers slightly better pricing, but it delivers a tremendous improvement in performance and capacity. For example, this particular 8200 config came up to 104,000 IOPS performance compared to 43,000 [IOPS] with the 7200. This is a game-changer for any customer who wants flexibility from a storage array that can also grow with their capacity, availability and performance needs while controlling costs."

HP also enhanced its 3PAR 20000 series, introduced in June, with the addition of a new lower-cost model. That model, the 3PAR 20450, features a quad-controller configuration vs. the eight-controller configuration of the rest of the family. That gives it a starting list price of about $85,000, or about 20 percent lower than the eight-controller models, Mulchand said.

Also new is the 3PAR 20800 all-flash array starter kit. With two controllers, four 480-GB SSDs, installation service, and 24x7 proactive service, the bundle has a starting list price of $99,000, he said.

HP is also enhancing the software capabilities of its 3PAR arrays, Mulchand said.

The company's File Persona, which allows the 3PAR arrays to simultaneously run both block-based and file-based data, can work with up to 15,000 concurrent users, which is double the previous maximum, he said.

The new 3PAR arrays also work with the HP Storage Federation software, which allows up to four units, including any mix of 7000, 8000 and 20000 series arrays, to connect together for migrating workloads.

The company's 3PAR Priority Optimization software, which provides storage quality of service guarantees, now works with the new 3PAR controllers to allow users to specify which applications get specific levels of performance, with granularity in performance as low as 500 microseconds, Mulchand said.

Also included is 3PAR Express Protection with Recovery Central, which allows virtual machines to be snapshotted and backed up directly across a second 3PAR and to an HP StoreOnce appliance without a media server.

Molina said he likes HP's Storage Federation message.

"For some customers, data is growing very quickly," he said. "Storage Federation lets them pool four 3PARs for up to about 60 petabytes of total capacity in a combination of hard drive and flash. This also allows easy nondisruptive movement of workloads between one older 3PAR system to a faster one, or back again when the workloads don't need the horsepower any more."

The HP 3PAR Priority Optimization application takes care of performance requirements at a very granular basis, Molina said.

"For customers running certain business applications on tier-one storage, a delay of milliseconds can be an issue," he said. "With 3PAR Priority Optimization, you can set a goal with higher or lower limits to prioritize the applications. And 500-microsecond granularity is amazing."

The new 3PAR storage solutions and software are available immediately, Mulchand said. The 3PAR 20800 all-flash starter kit will be orderable starting next month, he said.