HPE StoreVirtual 3200 Storage

Exclusive: HPE makes high availability storage very affordable for SMBs

Editor's Choice
Price
£3,500
  • Remarkably good value; Easy wizard driven deployment; Five 9’s availability; Highly scalable
  • Not yet supported by OneView

Software-defined storage has traditionally been beyond the means of SMBs but HPE's StoreVirtual 3200 appliances aim to put it well within their budgets. This new family has been built from the ground up to provide an affordable solution with five 9's reliability and looks to have achieved this eminently as our review system has a starting price of around 3,500.

This 2U appliance has dual active/active controllers each powered by a 64-bit, 6-core ARM CPU. These are partnered by 8GB of NVDIMM cache memory with integral battery backup modules.

Along with SAS 3 support, each controller has dual Gigabit iSCSI data ports to which you can add port expansion cards. Our system includes dual 10GbE SFP+ ports per controller with room for a second card alongside. 

HPE offers quad Gigabit cards and has recently released a copper 10GBase-T variant. You can also choose dual 8/16Gbps Fibre Channel port cards but these don't support storage scale-out.

The new web console for the SV3200 is nicely designed and easy to use

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Scale-up and scale-out

The appliance is available with 12 LFF or 25 SFF SAS 3 hot-swap drive bays. The controllers have SAS 3 expansion ports and a single system supports three additional LFF/SFF disk shelves for a maximum supported scale-up capacity of 288TB. 

For iSCSI models, you can scale-out with a second SV3200 appliance to support up to six disk shelves. HPE offers plenty of storage options as you can choose from 15K and 10K SAS 3 drives plus 7.2K midline drives and add SSDs when the mood takes you.

With SSDs in the mix, you can take advantage of the StoreVirtual Active Optimisation feature which enables transparent auto-tiering across two levels. It automatically moves hot data to the SSD tier in near real-time and requires an Advanced Data Services Suite license which costs around 2,500.

The suite license also activates the asynchronous remote copy and synchronous multi-site stretch replication features. The former replicates thin provisioned snapshots across local and remote systems while the latter mirrors volumes across a multi-site SAN.

The configuration wizard sorted out the physical RAID arrays for our SSDs and hard disks

SVOS and deployment

Each controller runs HPE's StoreVirtual Operating System (SVOS) which provides all storage clustering services and fault tolerance. The 3200 is designed to be deployed in minutes and the new OneView-style web interface presented us with a deployment wizard on first contact.

This handled securing admin access, setting up a data network, creating a management group container, naming the storage pool and assigning virtual IP addresses. We also enabled the passive support option which allows authorised HPE representatives to receive alerts, monitor system health and provide remote support.

Fault tolerance starts at the controller level where their associated drives are placed in hardware RAID arrays with SVOS supporting RAID levels 10, 5 and 6. This is all taken care of by the wizard which chose the best RAID settings based on our collection of SSDs and 15K SAS drives, created four arrays and bonded the 10GbE ports on each controller.

HPE's AASM and Authentication Console are required to take app-aware snapshots on Windows hosts

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Network RAID

Network RAID comes into play when you create a virtual volume. It stripes data across the entire storage pool so it is always available should a disk, physical RAID array, network connection or controller fail. 

As the SV3200 comprises two storage nodes, your choices are limited to Network RAID0 or RAID10. Selected during volume creation, the former merely stripes data and is best suited for testing or apps that require high performance whereas the latter provides mirroring for greater levels of redundancy.

Other features available during volume creation are thin provisioning and an option to create multiple volumes all with the same settings. We could also permit volumes to be included in the Active Optimisation data tiering although if the license is applied later on, the controllers must be rebooted for it to take effect.

OneView users are out of luck as none of the StoreVirtual family is currently supported by HPE's central management solution. We were advised that the next release of OneView will support StoreVirtual VSA and 4000 platforms with the SV3200 as a follow on.

We could keep a close eye on performance for each storage controller 

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Servers and snapshots

Individual servers and server clusters are declared to the SV3200 by logging them into its global iSCSI portal using the virtual IP address. They appear ready for action in the console and selected volumes can then be exported to them with read-only or read-write access. 

The system supports 2,048 snapshots which we ran on-demand on selected volumes and scheduled to occur as often as every 15 minutes. Snapshot rollback is simply as we chose the volume to be recovered, logged off all initiators, selected a snapshot from the list and a few seconds later our 35GB of deleted data had been recovered.

To use HPE's application-aware snapshot manager (AASM) on our Windows hosts required us to install this app locally and use the StoreVirtual Authentication Console to create a management group authenticated to a user defined on the SV3200. AASM can then be selected during the snapshot creation process and when run, it quiesces VSS-aware apps prior to taking a snapshot.

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Conclusion

The SV3200 is ideally suited to budget-conscious SMBs that want a highly available and expandable storage solution at an affordable price. Along with a simple deployment, we found the new web console very easy to use and packed with data protection features. Another bonus is the SV3200 can link up with HPE's SV3000 File Controller appliance so you can present unused capacity for standard file sharing services.

Verdict

HPE hits the spot for value making the SV3200 a great choice for SMBs that want a highly available software defined storage solution with plenty of room to grow

Chassis: 2U rack

Storage: 25 SFF hot-swap drive bays

Power: 2 x 750W hot-plug PSUs

Cooling: 2 x hot-plug fan modules

 

Dual hot-plug SAS3 controllers each with the following:

CPU: 64-bit 6-core ARM

Memory: 8GB NVDIMM with BBU

Array support: Hardware RAID5, 6, 10; Network RAID0, 10

Data ports: 2 x Gigabit; 2 x 10GbE SFP+ (max 4)

Expansion: External SAS3 port

Management: Web browser

Warranty: 3 years limited NBD

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