3Par Monday unveiled a new line of midrange storage servers based on a quad-controller architecture. The company said the new arrays offer greater throughput, capacity and require less power than its previous midrange offerings.
3Par said the new InServ F-Class Storage Servers can be clustered for greater performance and offers features and benefits typically associated with high-end arrays while carrying an starting $80,000 price tag usually associated with midrange products.
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The InServ F-Class arrays include four controllers -- unusual for midrange Fibre Channel arrays, analysts said. Rick Villars, an analyst at IDC, in Framingham, Mass., said the midrange storage market's traditional dual-controller array architectures that had "not changed in more than 15 years."
"The quad-controller, Mesh-Active architectural shift announced by 3Par is long overdue for midrange storage," Villars said. "It's great to see them bringing these features to the midrange market during these difficult economic times." The upgrade improves the efficiency and simplifies the administration of midrange systems, he added.
Unlike the dual controller midrange arrays -- where each LUN (or volume) is active on only a single controller -- 3Par's so-called Mesh-Active architecture allows each LUN to be active on every mesh controller in the array, thereby delivering more load-balanced performance, 3Par said. Thus the new F-Class array can save money by allowing users to purchase up to 50 percent fewer arrays while increasing capacity utilization and reducing power use and cooling requirements, the company added. Fewer servers also means that companies need less floor space to run them, it said.
The new F-Class arrays also feature the 3Par's Gen3 ASIC, which processes data and metadata independently in different processor and memory subsystems within the controllers, eliminating the impact that sequential work loads (like data mining or backups) can have on transactional work loads such as databases, the company said. Most legacy midrange arrays must be deployed for either transactional or sequential work loads -- a limitation that further encourages legacy array sprawl. F-Class arrays from 3Par also support virtual domains, a type of storage hypervisor that allows users to create hundreds of virtual arrays, each with secure management domains for different departments or user groups, and thin provisioning, which further reduces power, cooling and floor space requirements. The F-Class array also supports what 3Par calls "Fast RAID 5," which delivers performance within 9 percent of RAID 1 to midrange users.
The F-Class arrays run the same InForm Operating System used on the company's high-end InServ arrays. "With the InForm OS, 3Par customers have been able to reduce administration time by up to 90 percent by eliminating tedious manual capacity planning," the company said in a statement. "The InForm OS offers instant, application-tailored provisioning through fine-grained virtualization, intelligently and autonomically managing provisioning to simplify storage administration."
3Par InServ F-Class Storage Servers are now available.