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HP launches 3PAR StoreServ 20000 flash and hybrid flash enterprise storage arrays

HP replaces 3PAR StoreServ 10000 series arrays with 20000 series featuring upgraded CPUs, controller ASICs and on-drive firmware, plus doubled flash drive capacities

HP has replaced its existing 10000 series 3PAR enterprise all-flash and hybrid flash storage arrays with the StoreServ 20000 series, boosting capacity and I/O performance with double-capacity flash drives plus upgraded drive firmware and controller ASICs.

The two new products are the 3PAR 20800 hybrid flash storage array and the 20850 all-flash array. They both have base capacity of 280TB in 2U of rack space, with the 20800 providing around 2.5 million IOPS and scaling to around 15PB (1,920 HDDs plus 1,024 SSDs) and the 20850 providing 3.2 million IOPS and maximum capacity of 12PB (1,024 SSDs) with throughput of around 75Gbps.

Up to eight 20000 series controllers can be federated to provide up to 60PB of capacity. Connectivity is via Fibre Channel, iSCSI and Ethernet ports.

The 3PAR 20800 and 20850 arrays replace the existing 10000 series 3PAR hardware, which topped out at capacities of 1.6PB and 3.2PB.

The 20000 series features new silicon in controller CPUs, Gen5 Thin Express controller ASICs and flash drive firmware. Flash drives are OEM manufactured for HP and have been doubled in capacity from 1.92TB to 3.84TB. On-drive HP custom firmware integrates with the 3PAR operating system (OS) to help flash efficiency and wear endurance.

HP’s 3PAR arrays are not ground-up designed for all-flash or hybrid flash operations, but its OS and controller ASIC has some flash-friendly features that help reduce wear and provide the fine levels of granularity suited to flash cell block sizes.

Read more about all-flash and hybrid flash storage

The controller Intel CPUs are responsible for the overall management of data flow, while the 3PAR controller ASICs handle metadata offloads from the CPUs and inline data deduplication that HP says can result in reduction ratios of between 4:1 and 10:1. 3PAR Persistent Checksum functionality on the ASIC ensures data writes integrity.

Firmware on the drives – which are consumer-grade MLC (cMLC) – manages striped writes on to drives and is aware of wear on drives and reports it to the controller. HP sales director Clive Freeman said in this way HP is able to “squeeze more capacity out of drives. We did keep 20% overhead to deal with wear but now we can use this space for data.”

With the 20000 series hardware’s boosted drive sizes and capacities, HP claims it can bring the cost of all-flash storage down to around $1.50 per gigabyte, a price level that can allow all-flash operations, said Freeman.

“We think people can now move to the all-flash datacentre using 3PAR arrays that use up to 55% less power and cooling than, for example, EMC Xtremio and VMAX and Pure Storage products,” he said.

HP's 3PAR StoreServ 20000 arrays will ship in August 2015, with prices starting at $75,000.

Read more on Flash storage and solid-state drives (SSDs)

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