Monday, July 09, 2007

3PAR: System Design. Part I

One of the core features of 3PAR, in my opinion, is System Design that facilitates scalability, availability, performance and ease of use. As posted in my previous blog entry, Craig Nunes mentioned two key attributes of their system design, scalability and clustered modular architecture.
… our customers have taken great advantage of the scalability of the array. The clustered, modular architecture eliminates the price premiums of the monolithic arrays and scaling complexity of modular array architectures.
Another reader mentioned two key benefits of 3PAR system design, the performance and ease of use, similar to what I heard from several users and evaluators of 3PAR at SNW. The data is spread across every spindle, up to 2,560 drives, and workload is spread across all active/active controller nodes. The LUNs are built from available raw disks with little need for pre-planning, pre-configuration of disk/parity groups or deciding on what disk spindles to use.
3PAR Utility Storage product brief also gives some insight in to the system. I know the brief is a marketing spin but I am working on getting more technical details from 3PAR.
Central to the design is a high bandwidth, low-latency backplane that unifies …, … modular and upgradeable components into a highly available, … automatically load-balanced cluster.

A full-mesh, … passive backplane provides a dedicated … data path between each and every 3PAR ASIC, one of which resides in every 3PAR Controller Node.
Physical disks … are divided into uniform 256-MB chunklets. Chunklets from across the system are then automatically selected and grouped to meet user-defined levels of performance, cost and availability (varying such parameters as RAID type, drive type, radical placement and stripe width).

Customers can non-disruptively alter a volume’s underlying RAID protection level, drive type, stripe width and/or radial placement.
In my next post, I will dig deeper in to 3PAR system design, hopefully with some help from 3PAR and their customers so that I don’t need to make up stuff.

1 comment:

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