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HP 3PAR SPC-1 results put to rest!

Headshot 100X100.jpgBy Calvin Zito, @HPStorageGuy  vexpert 2012 logo.gif



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Greg Schulz is an analyst/author and I got to do a podcast with him a couple of months ago at SNW where we talked about a session he had focused on cloud computing.  He has a new blog he's writing for InfoStor that he's calling Storage Metrics and Measurements that matter.  In his latest post, he takes up the HP 3PAR SPC-1 benchmark results and addresses the question of "did HP short-stroke the SPC-1 results".


I'm happy that Greg wrote an article to clear this up.  There's a bit of background I need to give you here so bear with me.  A few months ago, Jon Toigo wrote a story for Storage Magazine where he wrote, "...I have to chuckle when HP/3PAR carries on about having the fast hand in storage at 400,000+ IOPS. Short-stroking a lot of spindles does buy speed, but at a non-trivial expense in terms of power." (See IOPS per what? for the rest of the article).


Short stroking a benchmark is basically when you throw a lot of spindles at a workload and use a small amount of the total capacity to achieve the results; data on the drives is confined to small physical space so the disk drive heads don't have to travel far to grab the data off the media, reducing disk latency and thus the term short stroking. 


How Toigo came to the conclusion that we were short-stroking is - well - a question for him to answer because I don't know.  If you open the SPC-1 executive summary you'll see that the unused physical capacity is less than 14.5% - clearly not a case of short-stroking.  Jon to his credit did include a post script correction on an unrelated article he did for SearchStorage and also wrote a blog on his site correcting his error.  Unfortunately, not many people saw his blog correction as the question comes up more than in should.   


If you want to see short stroking in action, take a look at the recent SPC-1 submission by NetApp where they had an unused capacity of 43.2%.  The maximum allowed by SPC-1 is 45%.  As I already said, contrast this with the HP 3PAR submission which had 14.54% unused capacity.  I don't know enough about what NetApp did to be sure they short-stroked their benchmark but they sure had a lot of unused disk capacity.  


Anyway, all that said, Greg's blog on InfoStor is worth a look and he has a short follow-up on his blog titled "Give HP storage some love and short strokin".  Virtual man hugs to you Greg!



greg schulz | ‎07-19-2012 03:47 PM

No worries Calvin, thanks for the mention, nice job and congrats to HP/3par for not short strokin on SPC.


Hope all is well, cheers gs

Jon Toigo | ‎07-19-2012 08:44 PM

Hey guys, thanks for mentioning the column.  Not only was the error retracted and regretted in the magazine's next issue, it was also handled extensively in my blog at, for which I received a very nice thanks from HP's savant scientist Paul Haverfield.


The blog is here.


Per Mr.Haverfield, while HP 3PAR does permit short stroking, it did not use this technique in the benchmark -- just 1900 spindles, which represent a lot of watts (my point in the column).


Also, you spelled my name incorrectly.

| ‎07-19-2012 10:06 PM

Thanks Jon - personally, I'd like to see a correction in the original SearchStorage article.  LIke I said, to your credit that you corrected the error but far more people read SearchStorage than your blog or mine so that mis-information is still out there.  And thanks for pointing out the typo - I do know your name.

nate | ‎07-20-2012 07:55 AM

NetApp short stroked in SPEC sfs NFS test too


Usable size - 574 TB

Exported capacity- 288 TB


3PAR has always showed high utilization in SPC results-  the high utilization is(and should be) one of the main selling points.


Though I don't think anything has topped the 3PAR F400 for utilization (unsure why the V didn't at least match the F400).


3PAR V800:

"There was 16,252.156 GB (2.90%) of Unused Storage within the Configured Storage Capacity. The Total ASU Capacity utilized 87.31% of the Addressable Storage Capacity resulting in 33.482.791 GB (12.69%) of Unused Storage within the Addressable Storage Capacity."


3PAR F400:

"There was 0.00 GB (0.00%) of Unused Storage within the Physical Storage Capacity. Global Storage Overhead consisted of 199.071 GB (0.35%) of Physical Storage Capacity. There was 61.203 GB (0.11%) of Unused Storage within the Configured Storage Capacity. The Total ASU Capacity utilized 99.97% of the Addressable Storage Capacity resulting in 6.43 GB (0.03%) of Unused Storage within the Addressable Storage Capacity."



"There was 70,481.804 GB (37.22%) of Unused Storage within the Configured Storage Capacity. The Total ASU Capacity utilized 100% of the Addressable Storage Capacity resulting in GB (0%) of Unused Storage within the Addressable Storage Capacity."

HP should do to NetApp what NetApp did to EMC with SPC-1 - go buy some of those systems and run SPC-1 on them, and drive utilization rates up and publish the results. Netapp did it to EMC on the CX-3(the only SPC-1 numbers released for EMC as far as I know).

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