To a lot of people, especially those who are unfamiliar with the storage industry, one of the obvious questions is "Who are these people and where did they come from?"
The answer is that the company was formed by a group of server-cluster engineers from Sun and has been around for over a decade developing and selling large scale storage products designed for something that used to be called "utility computing" seven years ago, but today is just called "the cloud".
We've been very successful with our cloud strategy and have 7 of the top 10 IAAS (infrastructure-as-a-service) customers as clients. 3PAR products work very hard in the background for a lot of household-name customers. Most people don't know or care.
However, cloud industry vendors know 3PAR because they are also very heavily involved with those same customers, competing with their own products. They see our storage systems in those large data centers and our customers tell them that they need to make sure they work with us. There's nothing unusual about that sort of thing, but we definitely are a player.
Here's what we do very well:
- Handle mixed workloads in multi-tenant environments. That means we can service a wide range of applications concurrently from multiple servers (or virtual servers) concurrently. If you are a cloud service provider and you need to have the confidence that your infrastructure will deliver consistently - even if your business changes radically - 3PAR is a very safe choice.
- Operate efficiently at high utilizations. Most storage in the world today is underutilized, which gets under people's skin because there is a high cost associated with that. 3PAR has led the industry with thin storage technologies that started with our implementation of thin provisioning many years ago and has been recently enhanced through thin reclamation, thin conversion and thin persistence software features. Again cloud service providers need to keep the cost of their operations under tight control.
- Give administrators the highest levels of automation. Administrative work on storage has historically been difficult and time consuming, which has been problematic for cloud service providers who have to be able to increase and reconfigure resources to meet fast-changing business demands. 3PAR storage lets system administrators make adjustments more quickly and confidently.
The thing that we didn't completely understand at 3PAR was how quickly the onset of the virtualized data center was going to tilt the storage world in our direction. 3PAR storage systems are based on a highly advanced, granular storage architecture. It's not always the easiest thing for people to understand because it is so different than any other vendor's architecture. However, people familiar with virtualized server features have a much easier time understanding how our technology works. There is nothing like a terrific, relevant analogy for explaining how your different widget works.
3PAR is a relatively small company, competing with much larger companies who use the benefits of their size, global reach and service organizations against us every day in sales opportunities. It hasn't been easy, but we've continued to grow our business in a very hotly contested arena where our competitors like to position us as the "small, new company" Storage purchases in this market are high stakes and careers can be made or lost on the right decision. We certainly don't win all the deals we are in, but we very seldom lose on technical merit. Usually it's because we are lesser known or because we can't match the service offerings of our larger competitors.
It appears that some of those variables will be changing for us relatively soon.