No one likes broccoli and other news from the storage key note

For those that couldn’t make it to Discover I wanted to give a quick overview of the storage keynote which was presented by newish SVP of HPE Storage Manish Goel.

As expected there was no killer 3PAR announcements made during the keynote, the additions to the product were as announced prior to the show. There was also no major announcements from the rest of the product lines. The theme of the presentation was HPE storage as a complete portfolio of storage solutions. This fitted in with the theme of Discover and the obvious direction of HPE not as a products seller but as a solutions provider. The graphic below was used to show HPE Storage with a portfolio of products with which the majority of an organisations storage needs could be covered. The storage trends identified formed the structure for the presentation with each area from all flash to composable infrastructure being covered in turn.

1 portfolio

All Flash

Flash is a rapidly expanding area of the storage market and HPE is aiming to make all flash the default choice by offering systems that are fast, affordable and enterprise class. Manish described 3PAR as the only device on the market that can deliver in the areas of performance, cost and true enterprise class features. All flash systems has grown from being 17% of 3PAR revenue to 39%. Year on year growth for all flash sales according to IDC was 551%.

2 3par growth


Data Protection

Changes in the primary storage infrastructure force change in the means by which you must protect that data. StoreOnce catalyst was touted as adapting to this challenge by allowing direct SAN backup, producing speeds of up to 17 times faster than traditional backups. Data protection was likened to broccoli something which alot of people don’t like but is good for us and necessary. StoreOnce is designed to reduce complexity and enhance speed around backup and recovery. It was not covered in the keynote, but a number of new models were announced in the StoreOnce range.



Object Storage

The drive to a digitised world and developments such as IoT creates the challenge of storing massive amounts of data never seen before and so requires a different approach. Object storage was suggested as key to managing these massive data sets. Manish was joined on stage by Scality CEO Jerome Lecat to discuss the partnership between HPE and Scality. When asked Jérôme said the key features of their product were that it was enterprise ready, supported rolling upgrades requiring no down time and feature data durability ensuring data will never be lost.


Software Defined

The software defined section focused on HPE’s ConvergedSystem line and StoreVirtual VSA. Slides were shown displaying this is a very fast growing market with +100% growth in the past year. The focus was on how HPE’s portfolio was a good fit for Gartner’s hyper-converged buyer’s guide criteria which is shown below.  Capabilities highlighted included, that the ConvergedSystem can be up and running in 15 minutes, was 45% lower cost than Nutanix, plus the StoreVirtual VSA can be used with any hardware /hypervisor

3 gartner hyper converged criteria

Composable Infrastructure

Composable Infrastructure was touched on as the future of infrastructure. You can read my full coverage of it in a previous blog post. To see the full keynote for yourself take a look at this video.


3PAR has long been the darling of the HPE storage portfolio and is reaping the benefits in terms of growth, market position and achievements such as the SPC-2 benchmark. Moving forwards as a solutions provider it seems likely other elements of the portfolio will be emphasised to bring a more level and harmonious offering to market.

To stay in touch with more HPE Storage news and tips connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.





3Par News Bonanza – New model + NAS Capability + New Management Console + More

Day one in Barcelona at HP Discover 2014 and it has not failed to deliver, there has been so much 3Par news I wondered if I needed to split it into several posts.  Let’s take each major announcement one at a time:

1 New Hybrid Model

Normally it’s in January when people start hitting the gym trying to get buff.  Well judging by what’s been announced at HP Discover today it looks like the 3Par 7000 series has broken with tradition and hit the gym early and hard this year.  Not only have the 7200 and 7400 model been on the protein shakes with 7200c and 7400c versions, but there is a brand new pumped up 7440 model.


The 7440 is being marketed by HP as converged flash array, the proposition here is why choose between the performance of an all flash array and the capacity of spinning disk when you can get all that in one array.  The performance is certainly there, rated to a max of 900,000 IOPS at under 0.7ms the same as HP’s own all flash 7450 model.  Under the hood the 7440 has been given some significant extra grunt to allow the system to perform at the level of an all flash array.  To get a feel for the additional hardware capabilities check out the table below which compares the existing 7400 to the 7440


Existing 7400 v New 7440
Existing 7400 Spec New 7440 Spec Change
Processors 2-4 six-core 1.8 GHz 2-4 eight-core 2.3 GHz +2 cores, +0.5 Ghz / processor
Total Cache 800 GB – 1564 GB 1596 – 3192 GB +1628GB
Total Flash Cache 768 GB – 1500 GB 500 – 3000 GB +1500 GB
Total On-Node Cache 32-64 GB 96 – 192 GB +128GB
Number of Disk Drives 8-480 drives 8 – 960 drives +480 disks
Raw Capacity (approx.) 1.2 – 1200 TB 1.2 – 2000 TB +800 TB
Number of Add-on Drive Enclosures 0 – 18 enclosures 0 – 38 enclosures +20

In terms of capacity the 7440 is a beast compared to the existing 7400 model, more than doubling the number of enclosures you can add, up to 38 enclosure providing up to 2000TB of raw capacity.  To drive this extra capacity and deliver the stellar flash performance faster 8 core 2.3GHz processors like those found in the 7450 are utilised, plus cache gets a big 1628GB increase taking it to a max of 3192GB. As with all previous models of 3Par this follows trend by sharing the same base OS and therefore features and managements as the rest of the range.   Tasty, I wonder if it’s too late to change my letter to Santa and if it would fit down my chimney.


You can watch this ShortTake video for more information


2 File and Object Based Storage Added

Until now the 3Par has been a block based system that only offered file based storage through a NAS gateway.  The NAS gateway was provided in the form of the StoreEasy 3000 gateway device, which was essentially a NAS header running Windows Storage Server 2012. Given that the 3Par’s main 2 rivals the EMC’s VNX and Netapp’s FAS both have offered integral file based storage, this has been a chink in 3Pars armour.

Today it has been announced that the 3Par will have file storage natively available, i.e. without the need to buy and manage additional hardware, it’s all in the box and just needs activating with a licence. Although HP have been later to market than its rivals with Native NAS support, it was highlighted that this has been a ground up development, not a bundling of two separate products like the VNX and whilst the Netapp has native support for NAS it then has to emulate block storage. File based storage will be provided via the new 7440 model and the enhanced 7200c and 7400c models, the c indicates its a converged model offering block and file storage.  Existing 7200 and 7400 models would require a controller upgrade to provide file based storage.


All the major features you would expect from a NAS box are there NFS/ SMB support, NDMP and support for 3rd party antivirus.  The file storage component is also able to take advantage of other 3Par features such as replication.


Object based storage was also unveiled today as being natively available on 3Par.  Object based storage has always promised much but its uptake has been slow outside of the very largest enterprises / cloud providers.  I would again be interested to see how many users will adopt object based storage, but I think the key point is this is another box ticked by HP when direct comparisons are made against its rivals such as the VNX which does provide it.


For more information check out these ShortTake and ChalkTalk videos


3 New Management Console

It’s always interesting how GUI’s of applications and OS’s tend to be generational and what I mean by that is they tend to have a look of the time, led by one of the major vendors.  I remember when Windows XP first came out every application after had that look and feel and more recently Apple have led the way again, closely followed by Windows with its metro look.  The new 3Par management console or SSMC (StoreServ Management Console) as it’s now called follows the current format for minimal, clean and crisp looking applications.  The SSMC also now replaces System Reporter with the functionality in place to consolidate more applications in the future.


On trend with VMware the thick based application is now gone and the management console is web based allowing it to be run on non PC devices such as tablets.  Those of you that are VMware administrators will see other features are already established in Vsphere such as a global search box, which allows any part of the storage inventory to be searched and a maps view to show how the physical and logical relationship between storage devices fit together. There is a new dashboard screen that gives you an overview of your systems status and health which looks great, see below.

ssmc dashboard


Like before you can manage all your systems from a single management console and the new NAS functionality will also be managed through the same console.  If I get a chance to play with this over the next couple of days I will try and get some more screenshots of this and put up another post.

You can see more of the new console in this video.

4 Enhanced StoreOnce Integration

StoreOnce is HP’s disk based backup appliance, a software suite called StoreOnce Recovery Manager Central was announced.  The feature that will probably most interest 3Par owners is Flat Backup, this allows snapshots taken on the 3Par to be directly utilised by the StoreOnce device to take application consistent backups without the need for a 3rd party backup application.  Currently flat backups only support VMware although the supported application list is expected to grow over time.


Again more information is available in this video.

Final Thoughts

My first time at HP Discover and wow what a first day I just wasn’t expecting that many announcements, and to be fair any one of them would have stood alone as a significant announcement.  I’m especially interested to see the 7440 and the idea now being promoted by HP of a hybrid array with flash performance, since I already wrote a post several months back stating that at least in the shorter term I saw the future in hybrid.


Since originally writing this I have learnt more about the announcements and put the details in this post .





HP Goes Hyper!

When I first read about the idea of a building block for virtual environments that in a single unit contained compute, storage and hypervisor I though this sounded like a great idea. The solution I was reading about at the time was Vblock, which whilst offering a closer cooperation between storage, compute, networking and hypervisor vendor it was not a true converged system, since each component was separate. It was up to several upstarts such as Nutanix which pioneered the technology and Simplivity to take the converged idea and really run with it.


For those that are new to the idea of hyper-converged storage the principle is simple to combine compute, storage and hypervisor in a single box. In a hyper-converged solution the internal disks of the individual nodes are pooled together using software defined storage to create a single storage pool. The advantages of hyper convergence are primarily simplicity; 1 system to manage vs multiple components, less cabling and increased performance since the data is close to the hosts and scales in a linear fashion as you add more nodes.


VMware announced their software defined storage solution last year in the guise of Vsan. Vsan whilst doing many things, fundamentally allowed the internal storage of several VMware hypervisors to be pooled and accessed as a shared storage platform. Given VMware then had the hypervisor, the pooled storage element and close relationships with all the major server vendors, it was only a matter of time before they entered the hyper-converged storage market. This came in the shape of EVO:RAIL. This week HP announced they would be joining the list of vendors who were available as part of the EVO:RAIL offering.


Whilst all the major vendors are involved in the EVO:RAIL program, it was always going to be interesting to see which of the major vendors was going to be able to take the fight to the start-ups, with an offering they can truly call their own. All the major vendors had the compute component and the close relationship with VMware, but what was missing for most was a software defined storage offering which would allow local storage to be shared across nodes. This was HP’s trump card, they already had StoreVirtual which was exactly what was needed to complete an all in one hyper-converged storage offering


HP announced their hyper-converged system at VMworld this week. The HP converged system will be available in two flavours the CS 240-HC which is SAS based and the CS 242-HC which has a more beefy processor, more RAM plus combination of SAS and SSD drives. Each model consists of 4 nodes and is scalable to 32. Each box is a combination of Vsphere 5.5, StoreVirtual VSA plus HP OneView software. HP are advising that deployment will be very simple and that it will be possible to have a working system in 15 minutes.


Whilst the start-ups have been selling their hyper-converged solutions as SAN killers I don’t see that this is the case. I don’t think this is an all or nothing decision, there will be times where a hyper-converged solution will be best suited and others where a more conventional SAN would be the best fit. HP will be able to offer the new hyper-converged solution alongside 3Par as complementary technologies. Peer motion, which allows a live online migration of data is already available on both 3Par and StoreVirtual although migration between the 2 devices is not currently possible.  It would be great to see data mobility between the two devices in the future to further enhance a converged datacentre infrastructure.


Further reading:


HP announces Hyper-Converged Systems based on StoreVirtual VSA

HP enters the Hyper-converged infrastructure world


Around the Storage Block Coverage

HP Converged system homepage