The HP 3PAR Architecture
This white paper provides an overview of the HP 3PAR Utility Storage Architecture, including hardware and software. HP 3PAR Utility Storage is a new category of storage systems that enable organizations with multiple lines of business, departments, or customers to securely consolidate storage assets and centralize information for enterprise-scale applications. Incorporating a tightly tuned system of software, hardware, and mission-critical service, the HP 3PAR Architecture delivers a modular, highly scalable solution that helps companies reduce storage infrastructure complexity.
IT managers today face ever-evolving IT requirements. They need to leverage business information, consolidate storage assets, and support measurable service levels while dealing with the old problems of mushrooming corporate data and a shortage of skilled storage specialists. Traditional storage solutions have not effectively adapted to the new IT requirements that have evolved over the last decade. As a result, companies have had to add layers of hardware and software to meet their needs-a costly and complex proposition.
IT managers need a solution that can bring simplicity and efficiency back to the storage infrastructure. Enter HP 3PAR Utility Storage.
HP 3PAR Utility Storage is the leading utility storage platform, a new category of storage systems that enable organizations with multiple lines of business, departments, or customers to securely consolidate storage assets and centralize information for enterprise-scale applications.
HP 3PAR Utility Storage incorporates a tightly tuned system of software, hardware, and mission-critical service. The advanced HP 3PAR Architecture delivers a modular, highly scalable solution that helps companies reduce storage infrastructure complexity. In fact, it is capable of delivering many times the performance of market-leading monolithic and modular storage architectures at a fraction of the cost and without any of the complexity.
The HP 3PAR Storage System family is the hardware foundation of HP 3PAR Utility Storage. Unlike modular and monolithic (or cache-centric) storage arrays, HP 3PAR Storage Systems utilize a cluster-based approach. The modularity of the system delivers a single storage platform that scales continuously from the very small to the very large and offers complete fault tolerance of both hardware and software.
HP 3PAR Software, with the HP 3PAR InFormŽ Operating System (InForm OS) as its foundation, is the intelligence behind HP 3PAR Utility Storage. The HP 3PAR InForm OS has advanced capabilities that provide:
Fine-grained virtualization and "wide striping" capabilities that deliver massively parallel performance levels as well as the flexibility to configure various levels of service
Industry-leading, pioneering thin technologies for efficiency and capacity reduction
Sophisticated resiliency features to protect against hardware, software, and site failures
Uncompromising security and secure segregation to protect against unauthorized access and provide a foundation for meeting regulatory compliance
Automation/mobility to eliminate manual, repetitive, and error-prone administrative tasks and provide autonomic storage and server provisioning
This white paper provides an overview of the HP 3PAR Architecture, including hardware and software.
HP 3PAR Architecture
The HP 3PAR Architecture, the foundation of the HP 3PAR Storage System, combines best-in-class, open technologies with extensive innovations in hardware and software design. Each HP 3PAR Storage System features a high-speed, full mesh, passive system backplane that joins multiple Controller Nodes (the high-performance data movement engines of the HP 3PAR Architecture) to form a cache-coherent, Mesh-Active cluster. This low-latency interconnect allows for tight coordination among the Controller Nodes and a simplified software model.
Within this architecture, Controller Nodes are paired via Fibre Channel connections from each Node in the pair to the dual-ported Drive Chassis (or Drive Cages) owned by that pair. In addition, each Controller Node may have one or more paths to Hosts (either directly or over a Storage Area Network). The clustering of Controller Nodes enables the system to present to Hosts a single, highly available, high-performance storage system.
Volume management software on the Controller Nodes allows users to create Virtual Volumes (VVs), which are then exported and made visible to hosts as Logical Unit Numbers (LUNs). Within the system, VVs are mapped to one or more Logical Disks (LDs), which implement RAID functionality over the raw storage in the HP 3PAR Storage System's physical drives (PDs). Because the cluster of Controller Nodes presents itself to hosts as a single system, servers can access VVs over any host-connected Fibre Channel port-even if the physical storage for that data (on the PDs) is connected to a different Controller Node. This is achieved through extremely low-latency data transfer across the high-speed, full-mesh backplane.
The HP 3PAR Architecture is currently available in four different HP 3PAR Storage System models to meet customer scaling requirements: the HP 3PAR T800, T400, F400, and F200 Storage Systems. These models accommodate up to eight, four, four, or two Controller Nodes, respectively. The mid-range F-Class storage systems (F400 and F200) are a scaled-down implementation of the same architecture as the high-end T-Class storage systems (T800 and T400). Examples in this paper are based on the specifications of the T800.