Make the Trade-up – Not the Trade-off – to the HP 3PAR StoreServ Converged Storage System Part II of II

The promises of storage consolidation and simplified management are attracting many midsized organizations to converged storage systems. But standardizing on a single storage platform can result in unexpected trade-offs – such as their need to compromise on certain features or sacrifice performance. Using the new HP 3PAR StoreServ File Controller, organizations can trade up to the benefits that converged storage systems have to offer without needing to trade-off on either features or performance.

The HP 3PAR StoreServ brings together the best of what both block and file have to offer: block storage services in the form of its 3PAR StoreServ family and file storage services with its 3PAR StoreServ File Controller. By offering them as a single converged storage solution managed from a common interface, organizations achieve:

  • High performance. The HP 3PAR StoreServ is renowned for its performance due to its storage architecture and how it manages data placement within its system. As part of its architecture HP 3PAR gives organizations the choice of using all hard disk drives (HDDs), a hybrid configuration consisting of both HDDs and solid state drives (SSDs) and even offers an all flash memory array in the form of its new HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450.  

To meet the increased performance demands that consolidated environments require as well as to deliver the higher levels of performance available on SSDs, HP 3PAR StoreServ scales up to four (4) controllers in the 7400 and 7450 and up to eight (8) controllers in the 10800 model. In this way there is little risk that an organization’s performance demands will outstrip the ability of HP 3PAR StoreServ to deliver on them.

It further optimizes performance through the use of its wide striping technology. This places small chunks of data across all of the drives in its system to harness their collective throughput. As a final touch, its Dynamic Optimization software ensures the chunks of data are on the right tier of storage. It places frequently accessed data on the most responsive tier of storage while moving infrequently accessed data to slower drives.

  • Capacity optimization. HP 3PAR StoreServ conserves storage capacity through its Thin Provisioning feature. It only allocates as much storage to the application as it actually uses while holding the rest of the requested storage capacity in reserve until it actually needs it.

Even once the capacity is allocated to an application, HP 3PAR StoreServ monitors if that capacity remains in use. Should it be freed up, its Thin Persistence feature identifies the storage capacity that is no longer used by the application and returns it to the available pool of storage.

HP 3PAR StoreServ even takes cares to efficiently manage how much storage capacity is consumed by its replication and snapshot features. They capitalize on the unique methods that HP 3PAR StoreServ uses to provision storage so that organizations may use these features without detecting extra overhead on the system or having to buy extra storage capacity.  

HP pairs these native HP 3PAR StoreServ features with its HP 3PAR StoreServ File Controller. Based on Windows Storage Server 2012, midsized organizations have the immediate assurance that the HP 3PAR StoreServ converged storage system will non-disruptively integrate with their existing Windows environments. They may continue to use Active Directory to manage it, run anti-virus software on it without dedicating a separate server to perform this task and use their existing backup software to create and manage Microsoft VSS snapshots.

Having the HP 3PAR StoreServ File Controller backed by the HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage system also gives them access to levels of performance and capacity optimization that they never before had available on standalone Windows file servers. As Windows file servers likely had internal HDDs or at best direct attached storage, performance should soar once these files are migrated to the HP 3PAR StoreServ File Controller.

The HP 3PAR StoreServ File Controller even enhances some of the native capacity optimization features of the HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage. Windows Storage Server 2012 now ships with its own data deduplication feature that organizations need to keep their consolidated email and file stores in check.

Windows deduplication is implemented in such a way that organizations can first predict what capacity savings they will actually realize in advance of either turning it on or doing any file server consolidations.  It also gives them the flexibility to control when deduplication is performed and on what files. It even takes the unique step of excluding very small files from being deduplicated as the performance hit associated with deduplicating them outweigh whatever capacity optimization benefits that deduplication provides.

Windows Storage Server 2012 also gives midsized organizations access to its advanced file classification capabilities. Using it they may first classify files based on its metadata and then create policies that perform tasks such as managing its retention and placing it on the appropriate tier of storage based on each file’s profile and classification.

Finally, these organizations can manage their newly converged infrastructure through an interface familiar to them: Windows Server 2012. One of the greatest challenges that organizations face today is not a lack of features on the technology solutions that they acquire. Rather it is an inability to take advantage of them due to a lack of knowledge and training on how to implement and manage them.

Since the HP 3PAR StoreServ File Controller is based on Windows Storage Server 2012, they can centrally manage it in the same way as they do any other Windows server. Their familiarity with the Windows management GUI puts them on a fast track toward taking advantage of the features found on the HP 3PAR StoreServ File Controller to include administering both block and file storage services. Using Windows Server 2012, they may assign create file directories, provision volumes at a block level to servers, monitor storage workloads and other tasks all from the same console that they use to manage the rest of their infrastructure.

Time to Trade-up to the HP 3PAR StoreServ File Controller

Today more so than ever before midsized organizations are looking to standardize and consolidate on a single storage solution for their block and file services. As they do so, they also want to make their environment simpler t
o manage without sacrificing either feat
ure functionality or performance.

Midsized organizations want to trade-up – not make trade-offs – when it comes to implementing a converged storage system. Using the HP 3PAR StoreServ File Controller these organizations can achieve this ideal. It gives them all of the performance and features they want in a converged storage system without forcing them to accept the hidden trade-offs that too often accompany the implementation of other converged storage systems.

Part I of this two-part blog series examined why companies now find converged storage systems so alluring but why they are also concerned about some of the trade-offs that they have to make when adopting these solutions.

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