HP held their Fall Discover conference in Barcelona Spain, this month. At Discover there were a number of announcements on 3PAR StoreServ and other product enhancements.
New 3PAR StoreServ 7440c, File Persona, and New SSMC
Earlier this year HP announced deduplication on their primary storage arrays, which included 3PAR StoreServ 7450 all flash storage. At Discover, HP morphed their all-flash arrays to a new level of hybrid storage with their new 7440c (“c” for converged) which adds rotating media as an archive layer to support tier-2 storage.
In contrast, to most hybrid storage systems that typically use flash as an extension to cache or as a separate high performance tier, with the 3PAR StoreServe 7440c customers can use rotating media or disk as an archive layer. By doing so, HP 3PAR has added a new and unique capability to the industry hybrid storage paradigm.
HP also announced they were adding unified block and file (NFSv4 & CIFS-SMB2-SMB3) access protocols to their 3PAR StoreServ product family. Now all 3PAR storage offers block, file, object and HTTP in one, storage single system. One of the advantages of the new 3PAR approach to file is that a storage pool can be shared between block and file data. There are no separate volumes, pools or other aggregations of storage that need to be dedicated to file or block. So, with 3PAR, customers can define a single pool of storage that supports both block and file. Thin deduplication for file data will come in a future release.
In addition, the new StoreServ Management Console (SSMC) provides a single UI for all 3PAR storage and a unified look for both file and block. Moreover, the new SSMC has a new UI that looks very much like HP OneView.
New StoreOnce Recovery Management Console (RMC)
StoreOnce RMC can now backup and deduplicate 3PAR StoreServ data directly without having to have data pass through host backup software or media servers. Moreover, StoreOnce RMC combines the advantages of direct connect storage, storage point-in-time snapshots and data deduplication and ties these together into one sophisticated, flat backup solution.
There are two components of this new flat backup solution:
- RMC Snapshot, which takes application consistent 3PAR StoreServ snapshots on a periodic basis, and
- RMC Express Protect, which can copy application consistent snapshot backups off of the 3PAR storage directly to StoreOnce backup storage.
Once the first full backup has been copied, 3PAR SnapDiff technology can be used to create differential only or changed block snapshots on the StoreServ storage. These snapshots are then copied over by RMC Express to the StoreOnce. As such, follow-on 3PAR StoreServ backups complete in the time it takes to create and copy incremental snapshots. For recovery, the SnapDiff backups are actually stored as a synthesized full, deduplicated backup which should improve recovery time.
StoreOnce RMC 1.0 currently runs in VMware vSphere environments and enables VMware administrator to monitor and run their VM snapshots, backup and recovery. You can also use the API to perform these functions. All RMC activities can be controlled within vCenter administration consoles.
Using a combination of disk and flash storage to support both tier-1 and tier-2 data applications is the next step in the evolution of Flash conquering the data center storage. Although, some all-flash array vendors would say this can almost be done today with just flash and data reduction techniques. It’s unclear how archive data is identified and moved to rotating media and just what happens when it needs to be accessed again (jleft on disk or migrated back to flash). But it’s certainly different than dedicated SSD based data, flash based caching or standard auto-tiering solutions available on the market today. As such, 3PAR StoreServ 7440c is a worthy addition to hybrid storage system technology.
As for RMC Express Protect, VMAX3 came out earlier this year with direct backup from VMAX to Data Domain. What HP adds is the ability to use differential snapshots as the source of follow-on data backups, which should speed up backups even more.
In general, HP’s taking 3PAR storage up market with all-flash and now new hybrid storage offerings. Better and faster backup solutions can only help in this endeavor.
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