3PARdata is a storage systems provider known for thin provisioning, that is, the creation of virtual volumes bigger than the actual disk space in use by a volume. Although other vendors deal in thin provisioning as well, 3PAR makes the automatic, on-the-fly expansion of volumes simple to set up. In a new software release, 3PAR has added two new features, Dynamic Optimization and Remote Copy, to its InServ Storage Server.
Dynamic Optimization allows you to change the RAID level and other volume attributes on the fly without interrupting access to data. This means that a volume can be converted from RAID 10 to RAID 50 to expand the size of the volume for a given number of disks used, or changed from RAID 50 to RAID 10 to provide additional redundancy if required by a new service level agreement. It’s easy to do: I was able to change a 10TB volume from RAID 10 to RAID 50 in a matter of a few minutes, while data continued to flow.
Radial placement, or specifying on which part of each disk the data for a particular volume is stored, is another attribute that can be changed on the fly. This means that you can limit a volume to using only the outer edge of each disk, for example, to maximize performance. You can also move a volume from one type of disk to another or change how much cache, how many processors, or how many spindles or ports the volume will use.
Remote Copy, with many-to-one support, allows you to set up data replication at remote sites using IP rather than requiring dark fiber for a Fibre Channel-based system. The many-to-one feature allows remote replication from several InServ systems to a single remote backup storage facility.
3PAR InServ Storage Server
Cost: Starts under $100,000 with capacities from 6TB to 384TB
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