3PAR puts a new twist on thin provisioning

Posted on October 13, 2009

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By Kevin Komiega

-- In an effort to keep thin provisioned volumes thin over time, 3PAR today released four new technologies designed to lower the costs associated with storage capacity over time.

The new software products include 3PAR Thin Conversion, Thin Persistence, Thin Copy Reclamation, and Thin Reclamation for Veritas Storage Foundation, and are all based on 3PAR's Thin Engine technology and the ASIC technology in the company's InServ Storage Servers.

The first step in the 3PAR storage diet is the use of Thin Conversion, which works with system hardware to detect allocated, but unused, capacity to free empty space as volumes are migrated from legacy storage to the InServ platform, effectively reducing the amount of capacity required to store data.

Once volumes have undergone the so-called "thinning" process, keeping them thin can be a difficult task, according to Craig Nunes, 3PAR's vice president of marketing. The next steps involve keeping storage requirements in check with the Thin Persistence and Thin Copy Reclamation software.

Thin Persistence detects and reclaims unused space associated with deleted data, while Thin Copy Reclamation performs a similar function by reclaiming unused space from virtual copy snapshots and remote copy volumes on the InServ platform.

Nunes calls the Thin Persistence software "capacity liposuction for thin volumes."

"Some file systems aren't friendly to thin provisioning. Consistent growth over a period of time is good, but a lot of environments have transient data that is not well suited for thin provisioning. Using Thin Persistence keeps thin volumes in those environments thin over time," says Nunes.

The fourth and final piece of the thin puzzle is Thin Reclamation for Veritas Storage Foundation. The software is based on an API co-developed by 3PAR and Symantec and allows Veritas File System, part of Veritas Storage Foundation, to talk to the InServ platform and reclaim space associated with file deletions.

Nunes says the Thin Reclamation for Veritas Storage Foundation software allows InServ arrays to use file system-level information to reclaim unused space within thin InServ volumes over time.

3PAR Thin Conversion and Thin Persistence are licensed separately from the InServ hardware platform. The Thin Persistence license also includes Thin Reclamation for Veritas Storage Foundation. Thin Copy Reclamation is available at no extra charge as part of the InForm Operating System Version 2.3.1.

Related articles:
New 3PAR arrays offer hardware-based thin provisioning
3PAR ships quad-controller array
Analyst View: Do you need thin provisioning?


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