Tech Preview – 3PAR 3D Cache

With Intel officially announcing its 3D Xpoint based Optane product line this week I thought it was worth another look at this post I wrote previously demonstrating Optane working with 3PAR. This post talks through how an Intel Optane drive can be used to significantly reduce latency in the system and features a video talk through with one of the product managers:

The adoption of flash technology has revolutionised storage over the past few years.  Current implementations of flash use NAND flash, Intel have been developing a new type of persistent storage that will offer up to 1000 times the performance of NAND.  At Discover, HPE previewed a 3PAR utilising Intel 3D-Xpoint point as an additional caching layer, you can get an overview of 3D-XPoint in this post I wrote previously.


In the video below I discuss the 3D-XPoint preview with Eduardo, the media product manager for 3PAR . We discuss how it works and the benefits to the system.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel so you don’t miss any future updates


I have summarised some of the main points around 3D Cache in the points below.

  • HPE showed a tech preview of a new storage technology that could significantly improve performance in terms of latency and potentially reduce costs. The tech is called 3PAR 3D Cache
  • Current flash drives in 3PAR and other flash arrays are NAND
  • NAND has produced significant performance improvements v spinning disk but is still significantly slower than DRAM. DRAM is memory that is found in 3PAR controllers and compute, it is very fast but also expensive so generally used in small amounts
  • DRAM acts as the cache in 3PAR buffering IO, from having to be written or read direct from disk
  • The more DRAM (cache) the better as you are saving more IO from disk.
  • Intel have been developing a persistent memory technology that sits in-between NAND and DRAM in terms of cost and performance i.e. its much faster than NAND but not as fast or as expensive as DRAM
  • Intel’s new form of storage is based on a technology they have named 3D XPoint
  • At Discover London HPE, gave a tech preview of 3PAR using 3D XPoint as a caching layer to accelerate system performance
  • The 3D XPoint card was NVMe and plugged into the PCI slot of a 3PAR
  • The card was used to extend the on-board DRAM cache, in a very similar way to Adaptive Flash Cache
  • The cache extension is for reads only
  • When a read goes cold within DRAM it would be tiered down to the 3D Cache. This extends the likelihood of a read hit, resulting in a performance boost from more reads being returned from cache. Plus by not requesting IO from the SSD’s they are quieter for other operations
  • This is a tech preview so is not yet available for order.

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