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Dynamic Workload Acceleration for ProLiant Gen8

 Getting work done is always a customer’s top priority.  Therefore Storage Performance is a driving factor in our Smart Storage designs.


Over the last several years, the bandwidth and throughput of the Memory and Processor subsystems has grown exponentially with advent of additional processor cores, higher bandwidth, more DIMMs, and other advances.  Meanwhile, although storage performance has grown steadily, it has not kept up! 


One example of this performance gap is in the area of database applications.  In order to achieve industry leading benchmark numbers, HP matches a number of hard drives to balance the load of ever-increasing processor and memory speeds.  In the year 2000, we used 180 spindles.  In 2009 we used over 1,000 spindles.  For Gen8, the number goes well past 2,000!


We had to change the game, and that game changer is Solid State.  With Gen8 solid state optimized Smart Array controllers, HP has been able to achieve maximum performance with less than 100 SSDs.





Today’s solid state drives continue to become more affordable and if you consider the impact of fewer devices and corresponding infrastructure, the cost savings in performance applications with solid state is actually much  better than traditional hard drives.


But to date Solid State adoption has been limited by controller bottlenecks as well as cost. 


So removing controller bottlenecks to open up solid state performance was our focus as we designed the Gen8 version of Smart Array.   


And boy did we succeed!  The new Smart Array for Gen8 delivers more than 4 times the IO rate for read operations and more than 6 times the IOP rate for database workloads.  The Gen8 Smart Array with solid state drives is sixty times faster than the previous generation controller with traditional hard drives.


And with industry leading PCI express Gen 3 support, bandwidth is up more than 85%.


When combined with HP’s balanced system architecture of the latest processors, IO technology and HP Smart Memory, your data intensive applications run faster and more reliably than ever.


Yes, Gen8 will be a screamer, and workloads will operate at remarkable levels.  But, beyond performance, storage capacity is another customer pain point.


Storage growth projections over the next several years are astronomical. 


That growth is driven by the explosion of uploads of unstructured data, and the business models that accompany those services such Hadoop which determine which ad should be displayed after “liking” a photo.


With the new ProLiant Gen8 servers, we focused on the need to keep up with that growth.  Many of the Gen8 platforms now have very flexible storage configurations to scale to various capacity points and you will find up to a 50% increase in the number of drives supported per server.  Imagine 36TB of raw capacity in a single 2U DL380.  Or 25 SFF spindles to provide over 22TB of enterprise drive capacity.


But delivering density and performance is only the beginning.  Dealing with that storage density can be even more important.  The new Smart Array for Gen8 has incorporated 10 new resiliency features to focus on density including RAID ADM for 3 drive mirroring, Predictive Rebuild to eliminate fault tolerant downtime exposure windows and rapid initialization to deploy new RAID volumes up to 95% faster.


For years, HP pioneered industry leading battery backed cache technology on Smart Array controllers.  HP’s technology has driven the evolution of battery capabilities and created a tremendous amount of IP including an extensive patent portfolio.


As cache memory speeds get faster and cache sizes get larger, battery technology has been pushed to the limit by ever-increasing energy demands for primary power loss data protection.  With Gen8, HP is continuing its tradition of driving innovation by leading a complete transition to flash-backed cache for all Gen8 Smart Array products.  This enables HP to provide faster and larger caches.  This industry-leading technology also results in a near infinite data retention capability as well as eliminating the issues associated with battery maintenance and disposal.


Smart Management

All of our Smart Storage pieces are tightly integrated with all of the awesome active health management features provided by Gen8 servers.


One of the most visible differences in ProLiant Gen8 is the new Smart Drive Carrier. 


With Gen8 we took the opportunity to bring drive carriers into the 21st century, by moving the customer experience from translating status from a set of LEDs to a more intuitive ICON based display…And it looks very cool!  


The Smart Storage team monitors every case of a customer’s server going down due to storage events EVERY DAY.  During these regular reviews, we observed a couple cases every week where someone around the world had removed the wrong drive and lost data unintentionally.


We take data loss VERY seriously.  So we asked:  What could we do to help?


The Smart Drive Carrier now includes a Do Not Remove icon to help customers “Choose Wisely” so that the wrong drive will never be removed again.


The carrier has many other capabilities including verification that the drive is genuine HP equipment.  This ensures that our customers have the comfort of knowing that HP is protecting them.


In addition, the new Smart Carrier collects telemetry data which is tied closely to active health to help identify issues rapidly when they occur.


Another point I’d like to talk about is the Smart Data Services that HP has delivered with its Gen8 storage products.  These services lay the groundwork for HP’s storage to dynamically accelerate workloads and protect your data using integrated smart analytics and workload-aware intelligence.  This HP unique technology distributes intelligence throughout the server platform so that the storage system can dynamically identify workloads and optimize performance throughout the system.


This capability orchestrates optimizing performance throughout the storage, memory and network systems.


With Smart Data Services in place, you’ll benefit from great new innovation such as the SSD wear gauge that predicts the lifespan of SSDs as well as future solid state acceleration technologies that dynamically optimize the performance of your local and external storage.


I am very proud of the great storage innovation that the HP team has delivered with our Gen8 products.  We are excited about the great benefits that our customers will realize.  The best news is that this is just the beginning.  With HP’s fully integrated Smart Storage capabilities in place, we have much more to come.


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