HP rolled out its latest all-Flash storage array Tuesday at its Discover conference in Las Vegas, promising enormous IOPS performance and enterprise-grade features it said all-Flash start-ups – the likes of EMC-owned XtremIO and Violin Memory – do not have.
Dave Donatelli, executive VP and general manager of HP's enterprise-hardware business, said the start-ups offered the performance Flash systems by the traditional storage vendors, such as EMC, NetApp, IBM and Dell, could not offer because their Flash solutions were based on legacy architectures retrofitted for Flash but not optimal for the medium. “Flash is much faster than their architecture can handle,” he said.
The start-ups do not have these performance bottlenecks, since they designed from the ground up, but they lack the enterprise-grade management and resiliency features legacy vendors offer. Therefore, companies buying all-Flash arrays are stuck having to compromise on performance or resiliency.
HP is positioning its latest 3Par StoreServ 7450 all-Flash array as a solution that does not compromise on either front.
In terms of performance, the array provides 550,000 IOPS (input/output operations per second) at low latency, according to the vendor. Maximizing solid-state performance further, it includes ASIC-enabled hardware acceleration (ASIC stands for application-specific integrated circuit).
Flash-specific software optimizations include adaptive read and write and autonomic cache offload. The offload feature automatically adjusts cache-to-flash operations based on demand.
The system has a new media-wear gauge and a new design that spreads load evenly across all media. Both of these features are meant to extend the lifespan of the medium, a major concern with Flash.
There is nothing new about the architecture. The system uses the same architecture previous 3Par arrays have been built on, which is where those enterprise-grade features come from.
On the resiliency side, a big feature is the quad-controller design with persistent cache, persistent ports, peer-based stretch cluster for data center fail-over and multi-site replication. HP's Peer Motion storage-federation software enables non-disruptive data mobility within and across data centers.
HP has made some software enhancements for high availability. The Priority Optimization Software gives admins the ability to prioritize quality of service for essential applications.
The array's drives are self-encrypting, which is useful when a drive's security is compromised. This is a new feature, called StoreServ Data at Rest Encryption.
The new array can be seamlessly integrated with a Windows Hyper-V host, in which case it can perform shapshots of application data within Hyper-V virtual machines for rapid application recovery.
Finally, HP has added the ability to monitor its storage environment from Android devices. These include some key performance metrics and service levels.