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HP 3PAR Case study with my organization

Stella & Dot HP 3PAR Case Study

Stella & Dot HP 3PAR Case Study (click to download)

Stella & Dot relies on HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage

"Highly reliable HP 4-node storage architecture supports over 30,000 e-commerce Independent Business Owners worldwide"

This is also available on HP's case study website

I have had this blog since July 2009, and I don't believe ever once have I mentioned any of my employers names. This will be an exception to that record.

HP came to us last year when we were in the market for their 3PAR 7450-all flash system. There was some people in management over there that really liked our company's brand and I'm told practically everyone in 3PAR is aware of me. So they wanted to do a case study with the company I work for on our usage of 3PAR. I have participated in one, or maybe two 3PAR case studies in the past, prior to HP acquisition. The last one was in 2010 on a 3PAR T400. That particular company I was with had a policy where nobody with less than a VP title could be quoted. So my boss's boss got all the credit even though of course I did all of the magic. Coincidentally I left that company just a few months later(for a completely different reason).

This company is different, I've had an extremely supportive management for my entire four years at this company and the newest management that joined in late 2013/early 2014 has been even more supportive. They really wanted me to get as much credit as I could get for all the hard work I do. So it's my name all over the case study not theirs.  It's people like this that more than anything keep me happy in my current role, I don't see myself going anywhere anytime soon (added bonus is the company is stable and I believe will have no trouble surviving the next tech crash without an issue since we aren't tech oriented).

Anyway, the experience with HP in making the case study was quite good. They are very patient, we said we needed time to work with the new system before we did the case study. They told us take all the time we want, no rush. About 8 months into using the new 7450 they reached out again and we agreed to start the process.

I spent a couple hours on the phone with them, and exchanged a few emails. They converted a lot of my technical jargon into marketing jargon (I don't actually talk like that!), though the words seemed reasonable to me. The only thing that is kind of a mistake in the article is we don't leverage any of the 3PAR "Application Suites". I mentioned this to them saying they can remove those references if they wish, I didn't care either way. At the end they also make reference to a support event I had with 3PAR five years ago which was at the previous company, and they credited HP for it when technically it was well before the acquisition(told them that as well, though seems reasonable to credit HP to some extent for that since I'd wager the same staff that performed those actions worked at HP for a while anyways, or maybe they are still there).

I would wager that my feedback into the benefits I see with 3PAR are probably not typical among HP customers. The HP Solutions Architect assigned to our account has told me on several occasions that he believes I operate my 3PAR systems better than most any other customer he's seen, that made me feel good even though I already felt I operate my systems pretty well!

On that note, our SaaS monitoring service Logic Monitor is working with me to try to formalize my custom 3PAR monitoring I wrote (which gathers about 12,000 data points a minute from our three arrays) into something more customers can leverage, and if they can get that done then I hope I can get HP to endorse their service for monitoring 3PAR because it really works well in general, and better than any other tool I've seen or used for my 3PAR monitoring needs at least.

3PAR 8000 & 20450

I'm pretty excited about the new 8000-series and the new 20450 (4-node 20k series) that came out a few days ago. I would say really excited but given 3PAR's common architecture, the newer form factors were already expected by me. I am quite happy that HP released an 8440 with the exact same specs as the 8450 (meaning 3X more data cache than the 8400 and more, faster CPU cores), also the 4-node 20450 has the same cache and CPU allocations per-node that the all-flash 8-node 20850 has. This means you can get these systems and not be "forced" into an all flash configuration, since the 8450 and the 20850 systems are "marketing limited" to be all flash(to make people like Gartner happy).

TechOps Guy: Nate

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  1. Did you get any traction with Logic Monitor and your custom monitoring? I ask as we recently became a 3Par customer are also a Logic Monitor customer. Would be cool to see what you have it collecting/monitoring.

  2. I just asked them a few days ago they haven’t spent any time on it yet. I am happy to give the scripts to you if you want to play around. They are certainly rough around the edges but do work fine for me.

    here are the LM templates for one of my arrays(so you can see all of the data points that are monitored and what graphs would be available).

    I don’t collect data directly from the arrays from LM, my scripts run on another system, collect the data and massage it into a format that is easily read by LM(before LM they would massage the data to be piped into rrd files so cacti could read them). Because I have multiple arrays being monitored via a single host I am currently using/needing dedicated templates for each array (other than the template name they are identical). Currently gathering roughly 2400 data points/minute from my 7450, about 7600/minute from F200 and almost 1900/minute from 7200.

    As far as I know there is no way to easily export dashboards from LM, most of what I monitor is via the custom dashboards, though creating the custom graphs is really easy in LM.

    The main weak point in my scripts is they don’t handle removing things well(they just keep monitoring things that were removed). So if you do a lot of adding and removing volumes or renaming volumes etc it may not work too well without modifications. For me the bulk of my stuff is generally just adding volumes over time, every now and then I manually nuke the data for deleted volumes so the scripts stop feeding that data to LM.

    I’ve been managing these scripts for about 7 years now, though for the most part they run themselves, very little overhead on my part.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I’ll check it out.

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