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Flash forward

Flash forward 

At HP Discover 2015, HP officially announced a series of enhancements for its 3PAR StoreServ Storage series. The new features include flash storage capacity that will reduce costs by up to 25 per cent, scalable flash arrays, and flash-powered data services. The move to flash storage will allow for faster amalgamation of IT-as-a-Service and the ability to explore hybrid IT initiatives.

When first introduced, flash storage arrays for data centres were regarded as a fringe product, but as time progressed, they has seen widespread adoption. According to an IDC forecast, interest in flash storage is expected to increase by 46 per cent over the next five years.

“We have been on a journey to deliver flash technology solutions for our customers for a while now,” said, Manish Goel, senior vice president and general manager of HP Storage.

“The overall thinking that’s driving our flash strategy is that we have to deliver performance at an affordable price point with all the enterprise capabilities, without forcing our customers to make any compromises whatsoever.”

The primary issue with similar flash storage services offered by competing organizations is that they provide the end users with two choices for storage attributes upfront, forcing them to make a choice – and potentially a sacrifice – regarding the third. However, as Goel explains, that is not the case with HP’s offerings.

“Most of the current solutions in the marketplace are offering two of these attributes to their customers, and having them make a choice about the third,” he said.

“For example, you could get performance, but it would come at a price, or you could get performance and affordability without enterprise capabilities,” Goel added. “We believe our solution is the only one in the industry that is offering no compromise over the choices.”

One issue that impeded the progress of flash storage early on was high deployment costs, which did not sit well with those considering it. However, HP has made strides to reduce this cost down to as little as $1.50 per gigabyte with the help of a 3.84 TB solid-state drive embedded in a Tier 1 array.

“There is no single silver bullet; there are (several) things that are happening to reduce costs,” said Priyadarshi Prasad, 3PAR product manager for HP Storage.

“The first one is the larger capacity SSDs that come at lower cost. Second is adaptive sparing, which enables us to take an industry standard SSD, and then develop and deliver 20 per cent more capacity on that SSD,” continued Prasad. “If I take a 400GB SSD and give you 20 per cent more (capacity), I am effectively lowering the amount per GB by 20 per cent.”

Also factoring into the cost reduction equation are data reductions technologies, including deduplication and zero block. These technologies “ensure that customers can actually write a lot more data without consuming space on the back end,” said Prasad. “If you put these three (elements) together, that is how we arrive at the $1.50 per gigabyte figure.”

HP is also introducing the 3PAR StoreServ 20000 series of storage systems. These devices are able to scale out to as many as eight nodes and manage multiple high-capacity storage racks. Chief among them is the 3PAR StoreServ 20850, which provides users with up to 3.2 million IOPS with a latency of less than a millisecond, along with a total output of over 75 GBps.

The StoreServ 20800 converged flash array provides scalability of up to 15 petabytes worth of capacity. Both systems rely on the HP 3PAR Gen5 Thin Express ASIC which ensures efficiency and high performance within the data centre environment.

The 3PAR StoreServ 20000 series models are currently available on the market for $75,000, with shipping expected to commence in August. The 3.84 TB cMLC SSDs are also readily available, and will be shipped out immediately after purchase.

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