This week HP announced their new all-flash array, the 3PAR StoreServ 7450. I’ll post separately on the details of the new platform, but for now, I’d like to discuss the strategy HP are taking compared to the wider market.
As we can see from one of the slides presented yesterday, HP are firmly targeting EMC’s disparate technology portfolio. It’s true that EMC have many different technologies they have acquired over the years, however in general these products meet a range of storage needs, so we should only be considering those within the platform types. Even so, in primary storage we see 5 separate offerings. This in itself isn’t a big deal unless you have a need to work across these platforms and want seamless and consistent management across them all.
HP continue to stress the benefit of the single 3PAR StoreServ platform in its ability to range from entry level (7200 model) to the high end StoreServ 10800. The newly announced 7450 fits the “performance” requirement slot as can be seen on the second slide. This slide also highlights the merits of a single interface, single technology and so on. Personally I think this is a great benefit for a number of reasons including:
- Data Mobility – I can move data in and out of my flash architecture device, using a single (built in) replication technology. So, if I have workload that needs SSD performance, I can move it between arrays reasonably simply.
- Understandable Performance – the 3PAR architecture uses a dispersed architecture for storing data across as many disks or SSDs as possible. The only difference between a standard array and the all-flash models is the speed of those devices. This makes it easy for me to understand the amount of performance scaling I should expect without having to think in more detail about a new design.
- Consistent Management – users can configure through a single interface and only have to go through one set of integration tasks for monitoring, alerting, security etc.
Could other vendors do this? Of course they could. It was interesting to see Hitachi was missed off HP’s competitor slide. Their new flash blades and chassis for VSP are a realistic competitor to HP and provide the same scalability, consistent management and mobility features HP are claiming for 3PAR. In addition, HP can support mainframe, where 3PAR can’t. The funny thing is, at HP Discover in Frankfurt, HP were promoting the XP24000, the VSP equivalent, including the flash blades, meaning HP still rungs two platforms of their own.
The Architect’s View
In his keynote today, Dave Donatelli claimed that flash startups don’t have the breadth of features that the 3PAR platform offers. This is somewhat disingenuous to the many companies that have created some true innovation in this new space. However this is a standard marketing approach and we shouldn’t expect anything less. We see worse from HP’s competitors. The 3PAR platform does have an architecture that works well with SSD and both hardware and software changes have been made to the 7450 to optimise performance. I’ll be posting more on this later, as the detail is what really counts for customers.
Disclaimer: HP have paid for flights and accommodation for Chris Evans to attend HP Discover. However this does not imply a requirement to blog about the event and no editorial rights to any published content is provided.
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