Last week, I outlined where the various enterprise storage vendors stood on the key question of whether flash memory is a cache or a disk. In that article, I noted that 3PAR is notably absent in the enterprise flash world. In fact Mark Farley, 3PAR blogger extraordinaire, recently made it sound like 3PAR would sit on the fence for a good while longer, even comparing flash with optical technology (ouch!)
Well 3PAR is on the fence no longer. Marketing VP, Craig Nunes, has informed Chris Mellor of The Register that 3PAR will use flash as “tier-0” storage in their InServe arrays. It is not clear how the company will integrate flash with their current strategy of wide-striping data across as many spindles as possible, but their post-RAID virtualized architecture ought to be able to make excellent use of the performance that flash drives bring, provided they have automated block-based tiering. And answering my question from the other day, 3PAR is definitely in the “flash is a disk” camp.
This is not an official announcement, and no dates or suppliers are given beyond the promise that the InServe is ready to handle FC SSD drives today. I look forward to Marc’s take on this!
Update: Marc’s response was sort of a non-response. He admits that SSDs are on the radar but insists that they’re not on the release roadmap, denies that there is “some sort of like weird greco wrestling match” between him and Craig Nunes (boy, that’s a relief!), and promotes 3PAR’s Dynamic Optimization technology, which I wasn’t aware of. I’d like to hear more, Marc!