Feeds

3PAR revs CTO office for major changes

Two founders to share CTO job

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Comment It starts innocuously enough, but follow this thread and the implications start building up. 3PAR has a new engineering VP.

He is Peter Slocum, and he's got an impressive background with ViVOtech and Brocade in his CV, plus earlier stints at Silicon Graphics, MIPS Computer Systems, and Hewlett Packard. So far, so ho hum. But wait, didn't 3PAR already have an engineering VP? Yes, it was Jeff Price, one of the founders. Here's where it gets interesting.

He's not retiring upstairs to the board. Instead, he's becoming the chief technology officer (CTO) for system design.

Didn't 3PAR already have a CTO? Yes, it did, and still partially has. He is co-founder Ashok Singhal. In fact, the CTO function is being split between the two founders, Singhal's part of it being to look after system architecture. Why has CEO David Scott agreed to divide the CTO function like this?

Here's a potential justification: the 3PAR InServ product is based on up to eight clustered controllers, connected via a proprietary backplane through an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) to each other and to the storage containers. Amongst other attributes of the design, data is split into chunks and these are striped across all the drives, so-called wide-striping, to provide fast access. The InServ arrays have taken a lead in thin provisioning as well as having a very easy to use management interface. 3PAR has steadfastly aimed them at enterprises, competing with EMC's Symmetrix and upper-end Clariion systems as well as IBM's DS8000 and HDS' USP-V for customers needing reliable, fast-access and scalable storage.

It's taken a while but EMC has made lengthy strides to catch up. It's new Symmetrix V-Max has up to eight quad-core Xeon controllers, linked together with the RapidIO interconnect, splitting data into chunks that are striped, and providing thin provisioning.

In broad respects, it's level with 3PAR, and its roadmap extends out to a degree of scalability far, far beyond what 3PAR can offer, with 256 controllers being mentioned. EMC is also ahead of 3PAR with regard to deploying flash solid state drives (SSD) where it's in its second generation and 3PAR has yet to deliver on its intended deployment.

What does 3PAR do now? To my mind it obviously has a near-term roadmap, featuring evolutionary developments of its InServ array hardware and software. But cloud computing ideas are spreading fast, and many of 3PAR's existing customers are already dipping toes in the cloud computing water. This implies that they will need much more scalability, much more resilience, more multi-tenancy, perhaps even higher storage utilisation and, possibly, data deduplication.

An implication of the beefed-up CTO role, with both founders involved in it, is that a major and fundamental review and upgrade of 3PAR's system architecture and products is starting. If this is the case then when might we see results? Watch out for CTO pronouncements and views next year, with possible, '3PAR Trek: The Next Generation' signs appearing in late 2010, early 2011.

But is it the case? 3PAR's VP of marketing, Craig Nunes, dashed cold water on the ideas, saying: "This plan has been underway for more than a year, so it certainly was not in response to the EMC V-Max announcement."

"Jeff has always been critical in the system design aspect of our products. In effect he has been operating in both a CTO role (with Ashok) and a VP Engineering role since the company was founded. ... Now with the engineering function spanning the US (Fremont, CA and Seattle, WA) and Europe (Belfast, N. Ire), the time has come to divide the role."

He does not believe that EMC's V-Max Symmetrix is doing 3PAR-like things with data chunks, saying the idea that: "V-Max offers a chunk-based architecture, ... we believe is substantially off-base. In actuality, we understand that EMC has the same old disk-based RAID level management which is a result of bolting on unchanged Enginuity to its new hardware platform. Underneath it all, like XIV, EMC has missed the utility computing design requirements for (the) virtual data center."

So... there is nothing significant to be read into the fact that 3PAR's two founders are now sharing the CTO role, with one looking at system design and the other at system architecture, just days after EMC launches its Symmetric V-Max. Nothing at all. No siree. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Bitcasa bins $10-a-month Infinite storage offer
Firm cites 'low demand' plus 'abusers'
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.