Expanded drive, container support highlight HPE 3PAR all-flash upgrades

All-flash has been a many-faceted boon to the channel, and HPE’s new announcements will add some new opportunities for the company’s partners

Discover_fbLAS VEGAS – Today, at their HPE Discover event, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced upgrades to their HPE 3PAR StoreServ flash portfolio. These include support for new large capacity 15.36 TB and 7.68 TB 3D NAND solid state drives, and the release of a native Docker Volume Plugin for 3PAR.

“This is part of our journey,” said Beth Joseph, Manager, Product marketing for HP 3PAR StorServ. “A year ago we announced the concept of the all flash data centre. What we are finding now is that the adoption is accelerating faster than any of us have thought. So we are introducing some software and hardware features that help customers put more workloads on flash and put it in a smaller form factor.”

“Our support for 15 TB drives is more about the larger theme of the overarching shift and mainstreaming of the data centre,” said Brad Parks, director of go-to-market strategy and enablement for HPE Storage. “This is all about the mainstreaming of flash, and we want to be constantly ahead of the curve.”

While HPE was beaten out by a few days by a competitor who announced their 15 TB support last week, the company believes that they have some unique internal capabilities that enhance their ability to support these large capacity drives.

“3PAR Adaptive Sparing maximizes capacity out of the drive to enable full performance,” Parks said. “This also allows us to drive more endurance into the media.” Adaptive Sparing was developed after the 3PAR acquisition, and came out to deal with the flash market. HPE also is highlighting its 3PAR Express Layout feature, which provides concurrent access from the 3PAR storage controllers to the SSDs, enabling higher throughput.

Joseph said that they expect that the 7.68 TB drives will be more popular out of the gate, because they are half the price, the 15 TB will still have  a solid core market. Moreever, while Parks acknowledged that the 15 TB drives are very expensive, he said they shouldn’t really be considered niche products.

“Even today they are not an extreme niche, because there is a clear market where real estate is at a premium, as well as data centres which need very dense designs,” he said. “Even if it is a niche product today doesn’t mean it will stay that day, because of the curve of data that has to be stored.”

Parks said this expanded drive support will only further expand all-flash’s utility for HPE partners.

“For the channel, flash is the gift that keeps on giving,” he said. “The flash transition opens up doors that haven’t been there with incremental features in the past. Instead, the ability of partner to land and then expand is much like virtualization a decade ago. The opportunity isn’t just in the original sale, but in the way the customer manages and automates and protects those environments. It opens up new business opportunities for the channel, because doing things like data protection and managing backup windows is different in an all-flash world. It’s also a good refresh opportunity for things like old EMC data Domain boxes, or old 4 GB Fibre Channel systems.”

HPE also announced increased support for containers in all-flash environment through the release of an official Docker-Ready Native Docker Volume Plugin for HPE 3PAR StoreServ Storage, available from GitHub, to provide native Docker integration for persistent storage. This native capability complements the Docker-OpenStack drivers HPE already makes available through collaboration with ClusterHQ.

“Container use by developers has a strong relationship to flash,” Parks said. “That’s because with flash you have virtually unlimited performance, so developers now tend to get full versions of database to do development on, which they never got before. The news here today is the native integration with Docker for persistent storage. It mirrors what we have seen in technologies like OpenStack where things start off as separate things, and sharing gradually gets expanded. Shared storage and persistent storage also trail the container wave.”

The plug-in adds the ability to provide persistent storage for containers and enables the use of flash-optimized 3PAR StoreServ arrays as the underlying storage for virtualized or bare-metal container deployments using Docker. This lets containerized applications take advantage of advanced data services data encryption, quality of service, snapshots, replication, and deduplication.

HPE also announced the expansion of the HPE RMC application ecosystem to include Oracle Databases, SAP HANA, and 3PAR File Persona. While expansion of support is usually a minor part of any product announcement, Parks said that for partners, the RMC support is quite significant.

“The data protection conversation for partners is about rearchitecting the data centre,” he said. “RMC is a step up from traditional backup because it’s about ceding control of the data protection conversation to the same person who’s driving the move to the all flash data centre. It’s all about the application.”

7.68 TB SSDs are available worldwide starting June 6, 2016, with a US street price starting from US$20,748. 15.36 TB SSDs will be orderable and shipping in the second half of 2016, with a US street price starting from US$40,000.

The Docker-Integrated Volume Plugin for HPE 3PAR StoreServ Storage will be available in June from the HPE Storage GitHub page at https://github.com/hpe-storage/python-hpedockerplugin.

HPE Recovery Manager Central (RMC) with support for SAP HANA and 3PAR File Persona is currently available worldwide at no additional charge to customers who have an existing RMC licenses and a valid support contract. Licensing for new customers starts at $1000.