By Calvin Zito, @HPStorageGuy
It's pretty bold of me to suggest that HP 3PAR is the best architected storage for VMware - I'm biased and it is bold. But I say this because I think if you're looking at enterprise-class block based storage for VMware, you owe it to your company, your boss, yourself and your budget to include HP 3PAR in your evaluation. But I'm not the only person who thinks this.
HP 3PAR is a natural companion to vSphere
Narayan Venkat is the former VP of Storage Product Management at VMware. Prior to moving to a new company, he said, "... we also started seeing more and more of our clients struggling to realize the full benefit of vSphere because their storage simply couldn’t keep up. We were seeing that legacy storage was presenting bottlenecks that restricted the number of applications that could be supported on host servers—not due to any limitations of vSphere or the servers themselves, but because, when they combined the workloads of multiple applications (each with its own unrelated I/O stream), they ended up with very random I/O patterns that their storage wasn’t designed to handle.
This means that application performance would suffer from increasing VM density, or they would have to trade performance for storage resiliency and availability—which, consequently, became all the more critical as they increased VM density.
Then came a new type of storage that solved this conundrum. From the outset of our partnership, the 3PAR platform has served as a natural companion to vSphere. Throughout this relationship, we have seen each generation of 3PAR array designed from the ground up to deliver higher application performance and support greater VM density on hosts by removing the barriers we had observed with traditional storage." (From Doubling VM Density with HP 3PAR, Taneja Group, March 2012).
Seven reasons HP 3PAR is the best storage for VMware
With my wife enjoying Italy and many of my friends in the VMware community in Barcelona, I had time to put together a list of the seven things that make HP 3PAR the best storage for VMware:
- Wide striping distributes vSphere storage volumes across all array resources, leveraging the system’s fine-grained virtualization to deliver superior performance. Wide striping provides for consistent levels of performance, regardless of the capacity utilization of the array.
- Mixed workload support enables different types of applications requiring both transaction-based and throughput-intensive workloads to run without contention on a single system.
- Mesh-active clustering of controllers distributes and dynamically balances each workload across all drives, nodes, loops, cache, and ports. Each volume is active on every controller in the array at all times.
- Persistent Cache provides resiliency in the event of a node failure by using the high-performance, Mesh-Active backplane to quickly re-mirror write-back cache to other nodes in the system.
- Simplified management reduces storage administration time by up to 90%. Rapid provisioning, autonomic load balancing, and software management products automate repetitive storage administration tasks.
- “Thin-Built-In” ASIC that not only optimizes the capacity of each 3PAR array, but ramps the performance of every feature by streamlining storage transactions that exercise storage system cache and disks. I did a podcast with 3PAR expert "JR" Richardson where he talked about what the ASICS does.
- Integration with vSphere that includes VAAI, VASA, vCenter management, Storage I/O Control and more. If you want to learn more about this integration, here's a technical white paper that gives a good overview and another technical white paper that focuses on performance improvements with VAAI.
- Bonus: Integration within HP Converged Infrastructure around our solutions and tested reference architectures built around HP VirtualSystem, CloudSystem Matrix, and Virtual Connect Flat SAN.
What's it all mean?
Take all of that - and a lot more than I didn't mentions - and you have what I think is the leading storage for VMware. It's what enables us to offer the "Double your VM Density" guarantee - check it out for yourself and see how you can double your virtual machine density.
3PAR's claim to fame was thin provisioning - I have a number of blog posts about thin provisioning as well as the HP 3PAR Get Thin Guarantee.
But again, don't take my word for it - check out the podcast I did with Juan Ramirez, Senior IT director for the Tampa Bay Rays - and why he switched from another vendor's SAN to HP 3PAR.
If you want to avoid the 5 stages of storage grief, add HP 3PAR to your short list for VMware storage. If you're at VMworld, stop by the HP booth, find our 3PAR demo and tell them HPStorageGuy sent you!