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HP P10000 storage array more and less than expected

New ASIC, yes; SAS support, no

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HP's new P10000 3PAR Storage System array, announced Tuesday, is both more and less than expected, with a new ASIC but no SAS drive support. Array federation across 3PAR and LeftHand arrays was also announced.

The P10000, or 3PAR V-Class, is a high-end 3PAR array supporting up to 1,920 drives. These are 3.5-inch format Fibre Channel or SATA hard disk drives or solid state drives (SSDs). The SATA interface enables 2TB drive support, while the FC interface supports 100 and 200GB SSDs and 300 and 600GB 15K HDDs.

The drives come in 40-drive enclosures, of which there can be up to 48. There are two P10000 models: the V400 tops out at 800TB using 2TB drives – 400 of them – while the V800 maxes out at 1.6PB. It appears that it is not possible to have a 48-by-40–drive enclosure configuration filled with 2TB drives, as that would imply a maximum capacity of 3.8PB, well above the V800 upper limit.

For comparison, the P9500, OEM'd from Hitachi, supports up to 2,048 2.5-inch drives with a maximum capacity of 2PB.

When The Reg asked the director of product marketing at HP Storage, Sean Kinney, about P10000 capacity, he said: "The HP P10000 3PAR supports up to 1.6PB or 1,920 drives. If a customer wanted a system with all 2TB drives as is suggested here, the P10000 3PAR V800 supports 800 2TB drives. But most customers are really interested in the amount of usable capacity in their storage arrays, not necessarily a raw capacity specification.

"Usable capacity is a better representation of a customer’s total cost of ownership," he said. "With the HP 3PAR family and its thin technologies, Gen-4 ASIC, adaptive optimization and more, it’s a perfect solution for customers who want to maximize their storage capacity."

Not SASsy, but 'SAS-ready'

The host interface is provided by up to 192 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel ports, with 10GbitE and Fibre Channel over Ethernet support to come along at a later date. SAS support will come next year – the P10000 is described as "SAS-ready".

The array has up to eight clustered quad-core controllers, running v3.1.1 of the 3PAR operating system, and a fourth-generation ASIC. The current T-Class and F-Class systems have a gen-3 ASIC.

The gen-4 ASIC can, HP says, successfully consolidate transactional and sequential workloads on the P10000, provide 50 per cent more port connectivity, deliver a 3X increase in sequential workload performance, and auto–load balance all data in the array with a single click. You would do this as new resources, such as drives, are added.

It also provides 2.6 times more bandwidth in a fat to thin volume conversion, detecting and stripping out empty data fields in data volumes imported into the V-Class. 3PAR has also tweaked its ability to reclaim unused and deleted space from volumes with a so-called "nano reclaimation" engine dealing in 16KB capacity chunks.

Lastly, it can do remote data replication, detecting and eliminating unused space in traditional volumes.

HP says the P10000 is better at multi-tenancy – but without providing any details. It also claims that the V-Class is "the most efficient storage in the industry to save millions in wasted capacity costs [and] the most powerful platform for massive consolidation of unpredictable workloads."

Peer Motion

HP has also announced Peer Motion storage array–federation for its LeftHand (VSA and P4000) and 3PAR (V-Class, T-Class, and F-Class) arrays, a capability that federates arrays to provide what HP describes as "distributed volume management across self-governing homogeneous peer systems using native communication between peers". The idea is to start linking multiple storage systems together and have them act and be managed as a single entity.

Workloads will be able to be moved from a busy array to a less-busy array, between any 3PAR arrays, or between any LeftHand arrays – non-disruptively, according to HP – to balance the overall load on the federated arrays.

Incoming application data can be moved to systems with available capacity, which according to HP reduces the need for future storage capacity purchases on the source array. This capability can also be used to move data from an about-to-be-retired array to a new one.

HP says that Peer Motion, with 3PAR arrays, "[a]djusts the RAID level, subsystem failure protection level, drive type, stripe width, or radial placement of volumes to increase data QoS levels and lower capital expenditure on the destination HP 3PAR Storage System seamlessly."

Such data movements have to be initiated by the storage administrator.

Now what?

In due course, we might expect the gen-4 ASIC introduced with the P10000 to be rolled out across the existing T-Class and F-Class arrays.

Our understanding is that the T-Class will be available until December.

Another expectation is that 16Gbit/s FIbre Channel support will be added.

Peer Motion contrasts with EMC's use of the VPLEX product to federate VMAX arrays. Peer Motion is described as data-centre and metro-area federation, whereas VPLEX will encompass inter-continental federation as well. We don't know if Peer Motion is synchronous or asynchronous across metro distances.

HP describes Peer Motion as a DIY facility. We presume that the level of automation and also of management will rise over time.

The P10000 will be available on 29 August and its EMEA list price starts at €200,000. Peer Motion is available as a separately priced option – although prices were not supplied – and HP LeftHand customers with a support contract will be able to upgrade their O/S at no charge to take advantage of it. A system that does not upgrade its software can still be a Peer Motion “source”, but not a “target”. ®

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