HPE: Increased 3Par SSD Capacity, Improved Software Help Push All-Flash Data Center Concept

Hewlett Packard Enterprise on Tuesday unveiled enhancements to its 3Par flagship storage solution to significantly increase its all-flash capacity and make it better able to scale more workloads in cloud and virtualized IT environments.

The HPE 3Par StoreServ enhancements, unveiled during the company's Discover 2016 conference held this week in Las Vegas, are part of HPE's move to help customers build all-flash data centers, said Brad Parks, director of go-to-market strategy and enablement for HPE storage.

"We've been working on the mainstreaming of the all-flash data center for two years," Parks told CRN. "Now we're bringing in more workload support and density to make this happen. It means more apps in less space."

[Related: SolidFire Upends All-Flash Storage Pricing With Perpetual Software License, Separate Hardware Pricing]

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The 3Par enhancements are making the platform even more relevant to modern data centers, said Dan Molina, chief technology officer at Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and longtime HPE channel partner.

"Customers have many workload requirements, and it can be hard to find the right storage platform for all of them," Molina told CRN. "3Par is the right platform. With these additions, 3Par is even more useful in the data center."

HPE has been doing well with its 3Par storage business lately. The company was the only one of the top six storage vendors to see its revenue increase in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the first quarter of 2015, according to research firm IDC. HPE is also the storage industry's fourth-largest seller of all-flash storage, increasing its sales by 68 percent year over year, IDC said.

The biggest 3Par enhancement is the adoption of new 7.68-TB and 15.36-TB SSDs, said Vish Mulchand, senior director of product management and marketing for HPE storage.

With the new SSDs, a single system supports up to 24 petabytes of usable SSD capacity. Customers can mix and match various capacities of SSDs to protect their investment, Mulchand told CRN.

Nth Generation Computing's Molina said the increased storage density of the 3Par all-flash storage platform will accelerate the adoption of the all-flash data center.

"Customers have been moving to hybrid disk and flash environments," he said. "But now with the ability to work with higher-density SSDs along with lower-density but higher-performance SSDs, this move will accelerate."

The increased capacity of the 3Par systems helps drive home the direction the industry is heading, said Chris Case, president of Sequel Data Systems, an Austin, Texas-based solution provider and longtime HPE channel partner.

"At these capacity points, customers will be less concerned about what tiers data sits on," Case told CRN. "With these capacities, why even worry about spinning disks? Most manufacturers never anticipated the speed at which the all-flash data center would arrive."

Also new is improved replication capabilities for data replication across 3Par all-flash arrays and HPE's StoreOnce backup appliances. Parks said HPE's Recovery Manager Central solution directly moves workload snapshots from 3Par flash systems to StoreOnce appliances without passing through backup servers, providing a backup performance of up to 23 times that of traditional backup solutions.

Starting Tuesday, HPE Recovery Manager Central has been expanded to include Oracle databases, SAP HANA and 3Par File Persona, which is a software suite for handling file, block and object storage with 3Par arrays. HPE Recovery Manager Central previously worked with SQL and VMware environments, Parks said.

"We're facing a huge inflection point in the next six months with storage management and automation," he said. "Having the ability to manage, automate and protect data at sub-millisecond speeds is essential."

HPE Recovery Manager Central, which significantly speeds up the movement of data from 3Par to StoreOnce, is the very definition of a modern data protection offering, Molina said.

"And with HPE's integration with Oracle, SAP HANA and so on, HPE is moving faster to enterprise-grade data protection options for its 3Par customers," he said.

3Par data security was also enhanced with the addition of File Lock for 3Par File Persona to prevent data from being changed, in accordance with policies for corporate governance purposes. 3Par File Persona also now includes enhanced security for file storage in Windows environments, Parks said.

Also new with 3Par is the addition of Docker container integration. HPE previously provided Docker drivers for OpenStack clouds, but this week is releasing GitHub's Docker-Ready Native Docker Volume Plug-In for 3Par, Mulchand said.

Mulchand said the enhanced Docker capabilities help customers overcome a couple of key issues related to large deployments: scalability for performance, and the cost of licenses for workloads in the cloud.

"To be effective, customers want the lowest numbers of operating system instances," he said. "VMware provides isolated instances, but doesn't scale for performance or costs. In development environments, this is not an issue. But as you go into production, you need to persist data, with quality of service and security. So containerization is important."

Docker integration is still in its early stages, Molina said. "But as customers understand Docker, and HPE 3Par gets ready for the technology, we will be able to talk more about the importance of containers," he said.