Flash with class: Why HPE continues to lead in flash storage

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise has again been named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Solid-State Arrays, published August 22nd. According to Gartner, “Solid-state arrays have matured beyond performance-oriented workloads, and the benefits are now compelling for all primary storage plus old and new unexpected workloads.” With several mature options to choose from, it’s now more important than ever before for customers to fully understand the differences between leading vendors and their various offerings.


Gartner Magic Quadrant for Solid State Arrays, August 2016 (1)

Gartner defines a leader in this space as a vendor that demonstrates “a clear understanding of market needs; they are innovators and thought leaders; and they have well-articulated plans that customers and prospects can use when designing their storage infrastructures and strategies.”

Thanks Gartner, we appreciate the recognition as a leader. I agree, and I’d like to add some reasons of my own for thinking that HPE is a leader in flash storage.

1. We deliver enterprise-class storage solutions. When you think of flash, the first thing you think about is speed. The speed – or more accurately, the low latency – of a flash array is what drives improved application response times. Latency has as much to do with how the array is architected as it does with the physical flash storage media. HPE 3PAR flash arrays are designed to optimize flash performance at multi-petabyte scale, providing a distinct advantage over storage arrays in which flash capabilities were simply added to an architecture originally designed around spinning disk.

But it's not enough just to be fast. An enterprise flash array should provide enterprise-class data services like high availability and replication features to ensure that data is consistently available. 3PAR arrays give customers quad-controller scalability along with a fire-tested set of replication options, including synchronous/asynchronous replication, 3-site replication with zero data loss, and active-active failover.

To be enterprise-class also means offering Tier-1 data services you can depend on to keep your data center running smoothly. HPE 3PAR offers these services, including business app integration, seamless data mobility between storage assets, end-to-end persistent checksum to preserve data integrity, and the most robust QoS (Quality of Service) in the industry to support multiple workloads (and the only QoS in the industry that offers latency as a threshold).

Flash as a media is ready for the enterprise, but not every flash array is enterprise-ready. HPE 3PAR flash arrays deliver enterprise-class performance and resiliency that can help you differentiate your business.

2. Getting more than you expect. Data is at the heart of the idea economy. The ability to accelerate how data is stored, analyzed, protected and used can create a competitive advantage. Many of our customers have found that flash storage provides performance headroom that can open up opportunities that were never imagined in their original business case.

For example, one of the unexpected benefits of flash is that it can reduce backup times by up to 90 percent. That’s what happened at Alcoa. They didn’t buy flash to improve their backup window, but they achieved that result along with the expected application performance boost. Alcoa has also seen a reduction in the number of Help Desk calls related to performance, reducing support costs and freeing up storage team members to spend more time on value-add activities. (Check out this video featuring Mike Abram, Alcoa’s Director of Data Center Infrastructure, discussing this and other benefits of flash.)

You could also find with flash that because admins need to spend 50 percent less time tuning a database, they’re freed up for more value-added activities. How about rather than keeping prod, dev, and test copies of data spread across three different SANS, with all the overhead that implies, you can now keep them on one SAN because of performance headroom. Plus with quality of service software you can assure that test or dev only gets a portion of the performance resource, protecting the service level for production. And since they’re on one SAN, you can leverage capabilities like snapshotting and other technologies that wouldn’t be available if the data copies were physically separated.

3. Our customers are making huge strides with flash. HPE’s consistent strategy has been to simplify storage with systems optimized for all-flash, and software-defined storage deployed as a data fabric across form factors. Customers have responded positively, with HPE being the only major vendor to gain share in each of the last two years2.  All-flash storage has enabled business transformation and even new lines of business for many of our customers.

One customer example is SOCAN. Every time a Canadian teenager (or their parents) streams Taylor Swift’s latest song, a transaction record is passed to SOCAN, the non-profit association responsible for managing artist royalties in Canada. SOCAN has been around for over 90 years, and for a large part of their history they’ve been analyzing performance on radio and television stations. With the advent of digital streaming, the sheer volume of information has escalated exponentially.

To manage this onslaught of data, SOCAN recently moved their transaction data from legacy disk storage to solid state arrays. The move allowed SOCAN to continue meeting its processing SLAs and grow capacity, without growing the IT budget. It also opened up new business opportunities – empowering SOCAN to leverage their core skill of analyzing large volumes of data, to open several new lines of business. While I can’t share the specifics, I can tell you that their investment in flash storage has paid off several times over.

As flash storage technology becomes ubiquitous, its performance characteristics will open up possibilities that are not available with disk storage, the same way ubiquitous internet and mobile technologies opened the door of opportunity for companies like Uber and AirBnB. As you transition to flash, you might want to ask yourself: “Now that we have flash, what other business opportunities are possible?”

Continuing to lead

The industry is rapidly approaching a tipping point where the all-flash datacenter we’ve been talking about the past few years will become a reality. That doesn’t mean that tape or disk storage are going away, but it does mean that for active data – the majority of I/O that you do – the default storage option will be flash. And it means the major focus for innovation in storage will be in all-flash arrays.

HPE continues to lead that innovation with ongoing updates to the HPE 3PAR flash portfolio, including persistent storage for containers, unified storage enhancements, flash-integrated data protection, and the world’s most capacity-dense all-flash system3.  With the introduction of new 7.68TB and 15.36TB 3D NAND solid state drives (SSDs), HPE 3PAR supports up to 24 petabytes of usable SSD capacity in a single system4.  New and existing customers can choose from different SSD drive types and sizes to optimize deployment flexibility.

All-flash storage has enabled business transformation for many of our customers, and HPE’s focus on speed, affordability and enterprise-class data services has led to rapid growth for the 3PAR family of all-flash arrays. We’re proud to be recognized as a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for Solid-State Arrays, and look forward to continuing to provide innovations that will help our customers reach and exceed their business objectives.

Learn more about HPE All-Flash and Hybrid Storage here.

View other 3rd party accolades for 3PAR All-Flash Arrays here.

Get the complimentary Flash Buyer’s Guide here.

1This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from HPE. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

2Based on the Q1 2016 IDC WW Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker for External Storage (entry, midrange, and high-end flash; hybrid, and HDD storage systems). “Major storage vendor” refers to the top 6 vendors as ranked by market share.

3Based on publicly available information for currently available single-system storage arrays based on currently available usable capacity.

4Maximum capacity support using 8TB drives as of 2H2016

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