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Hugely scalable arrays

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

3Pardata Inc has begun shipping the hugely scalable arrays it unveiled earlier this year, and has named some of its customers and beta testers.

The company has also posted published the results of a benchmark performance test completed to the SPC-1 specification which was developed by the Storage Performance Council.

Five of 3Par's modular storage arrays have been sold to date, the company said, and the largest installation involved over 4TB of capacity and 240 drives.

The buyers included Veritas Software Corp, which bought 3Par's hardware as part of a storage consolidation project and may have been attracted by the density of the 3Par arrays, 3Par hinted. Another was data center operator Raging Wire Telecommunications Inc. 3Par said that Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch have joined the list of beta testers that already included EDS, ATG and Prudential.

3Par claims that its storage arrays offer four times the random IO performance -IOPS - of EMC Corp's top-end Symmetrix array, five times the throughput, twice the storage density, and five times the connectivity. These breathtaking margins between it and the best that the rest of the industry has to offer are the result of a meshed architecture for the controllers in its arrays, and the use of custom ASICs for data moving tasks, which are separate from SCSI command-processing Intel processors.

Unfortunately for 3Par, EMC has not yet deigned to submit any of its hardware to SPC benchmark testing, prompting plenty of speculation from many corners about how badly EMC would fare if it were to do so.

But in the results just published, 3Par's kit outshone the high-end arrays already tested by IBM Corp and Sun Microsystems Inc, at least in terms of benchmark IOPS.

3Par recorded SPC benchmark IOPS of 47,001, in an SPC-1 test aimed at assessing performance in most OLTP-like applications. That hugely outguns the 8,009 SPC IOPS achieved by IBM for its Shark ESS F20, the 15,708 achieved by LSI Corp for its E4600 array, the 24,005 achieved with Hewlett Packard Co's EVA, or the 8,404 Sun pulled on its StorEdge 9910 - a re-badged Lightning array originally made by Hitachi Ltd.

On pricing however, 3Par's benchmark performance was not quite so clearly in front, as according to list price, 3Par charges more than twice as many dollars per IOP than LSI, and slightly more cents per usable MB of storage capacity than IBM. As a start-up however, 3Pardata's list-price may be even less representative than those quoted by established vendors. © ComputerWire

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