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New HP ESRP Results for 90,000+ Mailbox Microsoft Exchange 2010 Deployments Show HP 3PAR Tripling the Performance of Competitive Storage Systems

When it comes to selecting storage systems that support high end Microsoft Exchange deployments (90,000+ mailboxes), availability and performance are prerequisites. But what is rare to find is a storage configuration that also improves the efficiency and manageability of these large Exchange deployments. So it is notable that HP’s recently released Exchange Solution Review Program (ESRP) results for Microsoft Exchange 2010 meet both existing and new enterprise requirements while tripling Exchange’s database performance over that of competitive storage systems.

As enterprises look to improve Exchange’s overall efficiency and manageability while lowering its operational costs, they need updated guidelines for planning and designing an Exchange 2010 environment that satisfy the set of demands for the messaging infrastructure that enterprises now possess.

This is what HP’s new ESRP for enterprise Microsoft Exchange 2010 deployments with 140,000 1 GB mailboxes provides: a storage system that offers the availability, efficiency, manageability, recoverability and scalability that enterprises seek while throwing in a substantial kick in performance to boot.

In this ESRP, HP uses an HP 3PAR T800 storage system that further substantiates HP’s claim that HP 3PAR T- and V-Class storage systems are the ones to which enterprises should look to first to meet and exceed the demands of their very high end enterprise Microsoft Exchange deployments.

This ESRP illustrates how well HP 3PAR performed in an ESRP 90,000+ mailbox environment though two metrics in the report illustrate the performance of the HP 3PAR system particularly well. These two were:

  • Database transactions per second per spindle. This metric measures the average number of transaction per second based upon the number of spindles in the storage system during normal Exchange transaction processing. In this ESRP, the HP 3PAR T800 averaged over 90 database transactions per second per spindle. This contrasts with the other enterprise storage systems used in comparable Exchange 2010 ESRP tests that achieved less than 40 transactions per second per spindle. In layman’s terms this means that HP 3PAR storage systems use 50% or fewer disks than competitive solutions while still providing equal or greater performance.

/wp-content/uploads/images/ESRP DB Transfers Per Second Per Spindle.JPGSource: HP 3PAR T800 Exchange Solution Reviewed Program Results by Silverton Consulting.

  • Database transfers per second.  This parameter measures the normal IO associated with receiving, reading, writing and sending email using Exchange and can be used to estimate the number of emails process by a storage system over time.  In this ESRP the HP 3PAR T800 achieved an aggregate database transfer rate of nearly 60,000 IOPS that consisted of ~37K read database transfers and ~22K write database transfers. This aggregate IOPS number was nearly triple that of its nearest benchmarked competitor despite running tests using an Exchange 2010 mailbox configuration that was 20,000 to 40,000 mailboxes larger than what its competitors used. This metric combined with the prior one suggests that HP 3PAR would improve the performance of Exchange by 3x or more over competitive solutions while requiring fewer disks to do so.

/wp-content/uploads/images/ESRP DB Transfers Per Second.JPGSource: HP 3PAR T800 Exchange Solution Reviewed Program Results by Silverton Consulting.

The hardware and software found across HP 3PAR’s storage systems give insight into why these higher performance results are possible. The T800 scales to eight (8) controller nodes that are interconnected via a direct connect matrix architecture (what HP refers to as “full-mesh”) which make it better suited than many other enterprise storage systems to scale to meet the demands 90,000+ Exchange mailbox deployments.
HP 3PAR 8 Node Configuration.JPGThis full-mesh architecture (the HP 3PAR T800 8-node full mesh architecture illustrated above) that is available across the entire HP 3PAR storage systems satisfies Exchange’s legacy requirements for availability, performance, recoverability and scalability that enterprise environments need.

Yet it is the HP 3PAR InForm OS that is available across all HP 3PAR storage systems that enables
either the T800 to meet these new enterprise demands for operational efficiency in their Exchange deployments. While it offers advanced software features such as Autonomic Groups, Adaptive Optimization, and support for mixed transaction- and throughput-intensive workloads, it is the T800’s Virtualization, Recovery Manager Software for Exchange, and Thin Persistence features that are the most relevant in high-end Exchange 2010 deployments from an operational efficiency perspective.

These features combine to ensure that HP exceeds the guidelines laid out by Microsoft’s ESRP by optimizing the hardware features of the T800. As a result, the time and effort that administrators need to spend setting them up and then maintaining them is minimized.  In so doing, HP has released an ESRP that targets the high end of mission critical enterprise applications – Microsoft Exchange – comes as close as possible to being a “plug-and-play” storage solution for this type of high end deployment and provides a performance boost that is coveted in every Exchange environment.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 is as mission critical as applications get in enterprise environments. However even Exchange is not exempt from today’s enterprise demands for higher levels of management and operational efficiency while still meeting legacy requirements for availability and performance.

This is what this new HP ESRP provides. By using a reference configuration that takes advantage of the hardware and software features found on the T800 coupled with the functionality already available in HP ProLiant servers and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 itself, HP delivers an ESRP result that exceeds Microsoft’s current guidelines for planning high end Exchange deployments. But maybe more importantly it positions enterprises to meet their growing demands for management and operational efficiency regardless if they choose the HP 3PAR T-class or V-Class systems as part of their high end Exchange 2010 deployment.

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