Monday, June 25, 2007

3PAR: Reversal of Fortune

Last weekend, while browsing my archive on the mobile drive, I came across a text file with interesting quote. I don't know who said this and where it was published. But the timestamp on text file shows August 2002.
3PAR won't make it as far as BlueArc did, but will mostly likely fail for many of the same reasons. A box is a box is a box...."What's the price per megabyte?"....This is unfortunate, but what customers really want and need is faster, better, cheaper storage WITH integration with all the other pieces of the SAN and applications. Building a bigger, faster box takes a while. Certifying and integrating useful applications, host support, switch support and the ENDLESS list of combinations with this and HBAs takes a LOT longer. Not to mention costly and engineering-intensive real-world performance testing to prove it really is better.

As with many things, if it's not faster, cheaper and better, there isn't much motivation for large customers to take the risk; especially in this climate.
Write a comment or send me an email if you know the origin of above quote. Update: Anonymous comment pointed to B&S Message Board as the source of the above quote.

Five years later, I don't know about BlueArc but 3PAR seems to be on its way to becoming a successful established subsystem vendor.

At SNW, I heard praise for 3PAR by several customers who were using 3PAR subsystems and also prospects who were in evaluation phase. What was surprising that not one of them mentioned much-hyped thin provisioning to be the primary reason for selecting 3PAR. All pointed out the 3PAR volume manager and striping of data across available disk resources being the primary reason with comments like "HP EVA like capabilities in 3PAR go far beyond EVA."

Both, 3PAR marketing at SNW and CEO David Scott in Byte & Switch, seem to be highlighting thin provisioning as the main reason for their success in highly competitive subsystem market with very conservative large enterprise customers. Is it really so?

What are your reasons for selecting or not considering 3PAR subsystem?


  1. Andi, that comment came from a B&S board, back in 2002. Times have changed quite a bit since then for sure.

  2. Thanks for the info on the source. I updated the original post.

  3. i am a tech architect with a leading ASP. amongst other things we provide fully manged oracle apps hosting.

    anyway around a yr and a half back we made a big investment in 3PAR (previously EMC was our SAN vendor - we still have a lot of EMC storage unallocated though). anyway, prior to 3PAR, we were mounting partitions on Netapp filers.

    what you say about the reasons for 3PARs popularity are very true - thin provisioning, cheap storage, better margins for us, etc.

    however the other day i spoke to one of our oracle tech leads (they are the guys who make most of the configurations on oracle app servers). he started with "3PAR is BS!" he continued that one of the major problems faced on 3PAR was that of oracle DB cloning. what used to take 15 mins on Netapps, now takes close to 4 days!

    he's the 2nd OTL in my company who mentioned this same thing (although obviously it is the oracle DBAs who perform the cloning). apparently it is a known issue.

    not sure what to make of that - just thought i'd mention it to give the post some more clarity :)

  4. Anonymous,

    Thanks for your comment. I would like to learn more about your experiences. If interested in sharing, please get in touch with me.



  5. I found this very interesting do we know if this know problem has been resolved yet If so was it an issue on the storage end or was it a DB issue.