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HP delivers all-flash 3PAR storage array

Rather than build an all-flash array from the ground up or buy a startup that already has done that, Hewlett-Packard (HP) is offering its existing storage arrays with all solid-state drives (SSDs) as a high-performance option.

HP this week started shipping an all-SSD version of its 3PAR P10000 Storage System. This follows HP’s launching of an all-SSD version of its LeftHand iSCSI SAN in February.

The 3PAR all-flash system holds 512 SSDs, which can be 100 GB or 200 GB single-level cell (SLC) drives. That would make the maximum capacity 1 PB of flash with a fully loaded 200 GB SSD system. HP said the pricing for such a system would “depend upon the configuration.”

HP did disclose a starting price of $350,000 for an all-SSD P10000. That includes 16 100 GB drives for 1.5 TB of capacity, two controllers and drive chassis and six 4-port 8 Gbps Fibre Channel adapters.

3PAR has supported hybrid flash systems mixing small amounts of SSDs with hard drives since 2010, before HP acquired the vendor.

HP this week also announced the HP Smart Cache for ProLiant Gen8 servers. Smart Cache is server-side caching similar to PCIe cards from Fusion-io and EMC’s VFCache. HP will also have software that places hot data on SSD drives. When used with 3PAR storage, Smart Cache will copy data from the 3PAR arrays to the Smart Array Cache on a ProLiant Gen8 server for increased performance.

Smart Cache is an alternative to Fusion-io cards, which HP also sells with its servers. Smart Cache is expected later this year.

Like most storage vendors, HP’s flash strategy will likely evolve. Its rival EMC also has all-SSD options for its storage arrays and acquired all-flash array startup XtremIO earlier this year, although it won’t have an XtremIO system in the market until next year. Many storage insiders expect all the top vendors will eventually have all-SSD systems built specifically for flash, and there is no shortage of startups they can acquire to get that technology.

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