by Brian Beeler

Huawei OceanStor Dorado V3 Overview: Flash Native Storage

Huawei launched their OcenStor Dorado V3 last fall during their HUAWEI CONNECT annual event in Shanghai, China. We were on hand for the launch and were able to learn first hand of Huawei’s vision for the next generation of SSD adoption in the enterprise. Huawei describes this as the fourth generation of flash storage, where all flash arrays are not only able to take full advantage of SSD media to deliver excellent latency; they’re also able to leverage data reduction technologies to ensure cost-effective capacity delivery targets are made in a relatively small rack footprint.

First though, a step back. Huawei is obviously well known in China, where they hold the top market share in storage revenues and capacity. Huawei is also a significant player in Europe, where they have major operations in Germany, contributing to a top 5 status globally in unit shipments While these are important growth areas, Huawei also sees much promise in North American markets. We’ve engaged with Huawei many times in the past, reviewing both SSDs and the Dorado 2100 G2 a few years back. What we find interesting is they’re one of the few storage vendors that are highly vertically integrated; Huawei makes their own SSDs for instance, circumventing the typical need to dual source drives for their arrays and giving them more control in drive design and firmware development. None of this has happened overnight, Huawei has been investing in research and development since 2005 giving them 12 years of experience with flash storage. A diversified technology base and product portfolio attests to Huawei's commitment to developing solutions based on all flash media to satisfy the mission-critical requirements of the enterprise. 

OceanStor Dorado6000 V3

OceanStor Dorado V3 specifications:

  • Model: OceanStor Dorado5000 V3 | OceanStor Dorado6000 V3
  • Storage Processors: Multi-core
  • Max Number of Controllers: 16
  • System Cache: 256GB to 2,048GB or 512GB to 4,096GB | 1,024GB to 8,192GB
  • Supported Storage Protocols: FC, iSCSI, InfiniBand, HTTP, and FTP
  • Type of Front-end Ports: 8Gbit/s, 16Gbit/s FC, 10GE iSCSI, and 56Gbit/s InfiniBand
  • Type of Back-end Ports:
    • SAS3.0 (single port 4 x 12 Gbit/s)
    • PCIe 3.0 (two ports 8 x 8 Gbit/s)
    • SAS3.0 (single port 4 x 12 Gbit/s)
  • Max. Number of Front-end Ports (per Controller): 12 | 28
  • Max. Number of SSDs: 800 or 200 | 2,400
  • Supported RAID Levels: RAID5, RAID6, and RAID-TP
  • Maximum Number of Hosts: 8,192
  • Maximum Number of LUNs: 16,384
  • Storage Management Software:
    • DeviceManager
    • eService
    • UltraPath
    • BCManager
  • OS Compatibility: AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, Linux, and Windows
  • Supported Virtualization Environment Software:
    • Huawei FusionSphere, VMware, XenServer, Hyper-V, and other virtualization platforms
    • VMware VAAI, VASA, SRM, and Hyper-V and other value-added features
    • Integration with vSphere and vCenter

OceanStor Dorado5000 V3

With the evolution of flash come new technologies specifically designed to increase the effective capacity of flash-based systems. All data reduction technologies are not created equal however. We’ve seen this first hand in our evaluations as even today, many arrays we test show excellent performance numbers with these services disabled, then proceed to nosedive by as much as 70% once space efficiencies are turned on. Sure, the enterprise gets the benefit of increased capacity, but at a severe performance cost, one that is exacerbated under heavy load. This behavior flies in the face of the promise that flash brings the datacenter, especially as more workloads are consolidated onto all flash primary arrays. 

Huawei claims excellent system latency when deduplication and compression are enabled. With a R/W 70/30 mix with 100% random workload and compression and dedupe enabled, Huawei sees a .5ms latency (within the testing application). What’s interesting is the latency doesn’t budge when snapshots are turned on and the system reaches 80% utilization. Letting customers enable data services without losing performance is a critical component to the TCO calculation.

To further bolster the TCO claims, Huawei guarantees a 3:1 data reduction guarantee with only compression and deduplication enabled. When layering in thin provisioning and snapshots, Huawei feels the scales tilt more than 3:1 in most enterprise scenarios. One of the key benefits of data reduction is the shrinking footprint in the data center. Finally many of the TCO benefits of flash are truly attainable as systems even from just a few years ago can be condensed substantially. It's not uncommon to take a rack of HDD or hybrid storage and condense to less than 6U in a well-designed all flash array.

While Huawei certainly faces challenges in breaking into North American markets, the updated Dorado flash arrays hold a great deal of potential. We’ve already reviewed the prior gen array and several of Huawei’s home-grown SSDs. We intend to do deeper dives into their storage systems to further explore the performance and data services offered as we expand our coverage.

Huawei Storage

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