SSMC 3.1 What’s New

SSMC 3.1 is now available for download from the from the software depot, this post will have a quick look at what’s new. The install process remains as before and I have covered this in detail previously. Firstly the SSMC 3.1 release supports 3PAR OS 3.3.1 and hence a number of the enhancements relate to the new functionality in 3.3.1.

Some of the key new features include:

Block Provisioning:

  • Removes the option for the volume type TDVV (Thin Deduped Virtual Volume). This is now depreciated in 3.3.1 and become a property of a volume to enable dedupe. Covered previously in my dedupe deep dive.
  • Support for compression, which also becomes a volume property available to SSD’s in 3.3.1
  • Support for monster 15TB drives

File Persona:

  • Ability to create FTP shares
  • Support for POSIX security modes i.e. Linux based security permissions

Remote Copy:

  • 3DC Peer Persistence configurations another 3.3.1 is added to SSMC as well as support for synchronous long distance setup

HPE 3PAR Storage Federation:

  • Allows the creation of a compressed volumes on the target system
  • Ability to schedule Peer Motion migrations
  • Adds support for migrating from legacy HPE 3PAR F-Class,T-Class and non 3PAR system to 3PAR i.e. online import facility

System Reporter:

Lots of enhancements in this area –

  • Ability to edit threshold alerts on systems running HPE 3PAR OS 3.3.1 and later
  • Support for SSMC and SMTP server running IPv6
  • Shows compression stats on capacity reports
  • Space forecasting is available on system and CPG capacity

You can see the full list of enhancements here.



3PAR Mega News Bundle – Including Compression

3PAR Announcements

Today HPE announced a significant number of enhancements to the 3PAR product plus some changes in how the product is owned. The feature enhancements are enabled with the upgrade to 3PAR OS 3.3.1 which has been announced today. This really is quite some list, so hold onto your hat’s and let’s start with some data reduction enhancements which in combination HPE is calling Adaptive Data Reduction


3PAR has had dedupe for some time but has not had compression available until the release of 3PAR OS 3.3.1.  Compression is going be available on flash disks only and will be available to the GEN 5 systems i.e. the 8000 and 20,000. The aim of dedupe and now compression is to reduce the data size as much as possible on flash to make flash more affordable. Compression operations are performed inline i.e. before the data hits the SSD’s and are enabled at a per volume level. The best news is that compression is going to be licence free! HPE are expecting a 2:1 data reduction from using compression. I am going to do a deep dive on the compression and other data reduction technologies in the next few days, so watch out for that

Data Packing

3PAR writes to SSD’s in 16K pages, with compression of course you end up with odd sized pages.  These sub 16K sized pages are not optimal for writing to SSD and would incur a post process garbage collection to neaten things up and optimise their layout.  To eliminate this need for the additional garbage collection over head the odd sized pages are stitched together, just like your Nan makes a jumper, to form neat 16K pages. This process of taking odd sized compressed pages and packing them together is shown below.



Dedupe gets a code update in 3PAR OS 3.3.1. This new update changes the way dedupe operates writing to a private area first, as opposed to a shared area previously.  This change in operation aims to make the process more efficient, reducing garbage collection and ultimately making the system more scalable. TDVV (Thin Deduplicated Virtual Volumes) are depreciated, now you just create a standard volume and just change the attribute for the volume to turn on dedupe. Setting the dedupe attribute can be done from the CLI or SSMC.  Dedupe and compression can be combined together and HPE are expecting a median 4:1 data reduction, when the technologies are combined. The good news is that dedupe is again licence free and can be applied to all the GEN4 (7000 + 10,000) and GEN5 (8000 + 20,000) systems.


I really like the idea of VVOLs and have covered them in depth previously.  Their take up has been a little slower than I would have expected and one of the main reasons I have seen cited was the lack of replication support.  vSphere 6.5 introduced VVOL replication and 3PAR now supports this functionality once upgraded to 3PAR OS 3.3.1.  Don’t forget given the granular nature of VVOLs this will mean that replication can be controlled at a per VM level.

Peer Persistence 3 Data Centres (3DC)

Peer Persistence has to be one of my favourite 3PAR features, this enables the creation of a metro cluster or stretched cluster if you like across data centres.  This high availability setup allows storage to be switched between data centres, online with no disruption to hosts.  Peer Persistence 3DC allows a 3rd leg to be added to the replication topology.  This 3rd location does not become part of the metro cluster but allows a 3rd copy of the data to be replicated asynchronously for data availability.


Free Licences

3PAR must have more native software allowing data services than any other SAN now.  Deciding which ones you wanted and then having to pay for them was painful. Well now all licences within a single system are free! If you have more than one system and are using features that allow the systems to talk to each other e.g. Remote Copy, Peer Persistence, Peer Motion you will need to upgrade to the multi-site licence.  Again once you have the site licence this enables all multi system functionality.

Replication to StoreVirtual VSA (Peer Copy)

I have been wondering for a while if and when they were going to enable replication between the StoreVirtual and 3PAR, well it is now possible with the use of RMC in a feature called Peer Copy.  RMC is now included in the free licence bundle and in this circumstance acts as the data mover, replicating crash consistent snapshots between a 3PAR and Store Virtual.  Other RMC enhancements include replication to Azure, deployment in Hyper-V and SAP HANA support.


Online Import

The online import tool which already supported the EMC Clarrion, VNX and VMAX now adds support for the EMX DMX. Other vendors already supported include Hitachi and IBM

File Persona

File persona gets a bunch of feature additions including doubling scalability, file locks for governance, cross protocol file sharing and a file system checker.

Extended SSD Warranty

The existing warranty on 3PAR SSD’s is 5 years, now this has been extended to 7 years.  This covers media wear out and electronics.  The offer is open to all SSD’s in 8000 and 20,000 systems bought after June 2015.

There are even more enhancements than this but I don’t want this blog turning into a hardback edition so I will bring more news in the coming days on other enhancements and deep dives on what has been discussed today. To make sure that you don’t miss any updates, you can get e-mail updates, or follow via Face Book, LinkedIN and Twitter.

This is a mind blowing amount of information and if your head is spinning check out these nice videos in which Calvin Zito summarises these announcements in two videos Video 1, Video 2.




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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