HPE 3PAR vs. Pure Storage

An all-flash rumble

The growing demands of the digital economy have made investing in enterprise storage solutions an ongoing struggle for businesses of all kinds. Today, we’re going to look at two of the big players on this stage: HPE 3PAR and Pure Storage.

Both of these products are incredibly similar, but there are some vital differences that you need to understand. Everything you need to know to make the right choice is right here. So, let’s get started.

HPE 3PAR

HPE was part of HP until 2015 when it split and set its sights on dominating the enterprise storage market. 3PAR became their flagship product, standing alone until the addition of Nimble in 2017 — one of the most widely recognised enterprise storage solutions on the market right now. Of the two, 3PAR is the heavy lifting, enterprise-focused, all-flash solution but both products deliver all-flash and hybrid options.   

3PAR has impressive performance stats — HPE believes it’s best suited to businesses that have very demanding storage needs and have the ability to invest in an expensive solution. There are more cost-effective 3PAR versions available as well, which are hybrid arrays. However, for the purpose of this article and the nature of Pure Storage, we’ll primarily look at the all-flash variety.

Before it was acquired by HPE, 3PAR was already known for delivering top-quality storage that businesses could depend on. Now it can call upon the massive power and experience of HPE to provide a solution that can compete with some of the biggest names in the industry. This includes cross-pollinated tech like InfoSight, the industry-leading storage management software pioneered by Nimble.

Pure Storage

When it comes to all-flash arrays, you can’t really progress the conversation without talking about Pure Storage. The company has been around since 2009 and all of their energy has been directed towards flash. For many, the company is the benchmark for all-flash systems — delivering speed, power and data efficiency.  

Pure Storage offers many different all-flash arrays and the performance on each of them is right up there at the top of the charts. It’s hard for anyone to really match what they can do performance-wise, but this comes at a cost; it’s very expensive. Both 3PAR and Pure Storage are focused on a very similar market — companies with money to spend on solving very demanding storage requirements.

Although expensive, Pure Storage has made significant investments in deduplication and advanced compression technology to bring down the cost per functional terabyte of their solutions. But, if you look at like for like costs, Pure is one of the most expensive solutions money can buy.

All Pure Storage products use the Purity operating system which delivers a very smooth experience. It’s intuitive, optimised for Pure Storage hardware and easy for anyone to use.

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Pure Storage vs. HPE 3PAR: A Battle of All-Flash Titans

So, if both options are all-flash arrays, then how do they differ?

Both products use all-flash SSD (solid state drives) to make them far quicker than typical HDD. A lot of businesses are moving towards SSD because of how much quicker it is. All-flash environments make it very easy to access all of your data and share it between different sources. Plus, they tend to use less power because they’re typically smaller than other options. All-flash also simply takes up less physical space.

The power differences between these two are slight. But, the edge probably has to go to Pure. If you compare the market stats, Pure Storage really leads the pack. With a 10:1 total efficiency that doesn’t impact on performance, Pure Storage is definitely something you can rely on.

However, 3PAR is considered a market leader in its own right. They also provide auxiliary functions like automatic provisioning, which lets users start very small and scale their way up at a rate that suits them. 3PAR also uses hardware-accelerated deduplication and compression, which helps to boost efficiency and make the entire system more organised.

In total, 3PAR can offer storage savings of up to 75%. This is already impressive, but the figure is made even better when you see that the provisioning runs at 800% the speed. You can integrate it with existing storage hardware, and it’s so easy for you to do.  

HPE 3PAR vs. Pure Storage: Software Management Details

We’ll admit, it’s difficult to really compare both of these enterprise storage options as they are very similar. They’re both all-flash arrays, which means they use similar technology and have the same benefits. But, when you dig a little deeper, you find that the main differences between the two lie in their storage management software.

3PAR is part of HPE, meaning that it can call upon technology from across the ecosystem — most notably Nimble and its cloud-based management system, InfoSight.

InfoSight is widely recognised throughout the industry as one of the best storage management platforms out there. It collects all the data from your network and taps into machine learning to help analyse everything and decide on the best reactions. In fact, it can even be configured to carry out automated actions that solve common problems or put safeguards in place to stop issues from coming to the fore.

If you’re not impressed, then you should be; it’s a phenomenal system that’s proven to make your entire data storage solution much more reliable. HPE claims that InfoSight can resolve 86% of your storage-related problems. The result is less downtime for your business, and far fewer operational costs as well.

Pure Storage products run on the Purity Operating Environment. The company markets this as next-gen data storage software that’s designed for the Pure Storage family. While it doesn’t offer the same machine-learning experience as 3PAR and InfoSight, it’s certainly nothing to be scoffed at. In fact, when compared to any other management system, we’d probably be saying it comes out on top.

Purity uses REST APIs to help integrate with third-party hardware — which means it can also integrate with VMware virtualised platforms. It lets you have consistently low latency, along with impeccable data protection. There’s a resilience to this management system that’s said to lead to an uptime of 99.9999%.

Summary: 3PAR vs. Pure Storage is a Dual Between Pure Power and Storage Management

When you look at both products, it’s clear that they tick many of the same boxes. But, their main differences lie in the unique selling points they possess. With Pure Storage, it’s definitely a case of power and efficiency over everything else. This is where they set the standards and rule the market; they can’t be touched.

On the other hand, we have HPE 3PAR and its fantastic storage management software solution that is attached to a hardware system that is almost as good as Pure Storage. They benefit from being able to use Nimble’s technology and rely on the InfoSight management system — dramatically reducing downtime and providing predictions to protect against threats, and has the benefit of hands-off management.

InfoSight also delivers a great cache based operating system called CASL (Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout) that optimises storage performance in hybrid environments. If operating a hybrid environment, this is a great benefit.   

Although his whole article has been focused on all-flash capabilities, your desire to operate a hybrid system might be the big deciding point between which of these investments is right for you. Remember that 3PAR also deliver hybrid arrays, and your ability to seamlessly link your 3PAR system with cheap Nimble hybrid arrays is a selling point for many.

Fundamentally, if you need raw power and supercharged compression — Pure Storage is the solution for you. If you are more interested in a management system that makes your life easy and provides the flexible ability to integrate your high-end, all-flash investments into a hybrid storage environment, 3PAR and InfoSight have the solution for you.  

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Troy Platts

Troy has spent over 20 years helping organisations solve their data, storage and compute conundrums. He is a regular speaker at vendor events and spends any free time he has keeping abreast of advances in data platform technologies. He also makes a mean curry.

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