3PAR has rolled out software for divvying up its high-end disk arrays logically rather than physically.
The company says its Virtual Domains technology enables customers of its InServ Storage Servers to consolidate applications onto fewer storage devices by using the arrays' capacity more efficiently.
An InServ array can be divided into as many as 2,000 domains, each managed by its own storage administrator and assigned to specific host computers and users. This capability allows a business to share a single 3PAR array and isolate applications for specific business units securely from one another.
Virtual partitions can be dynamically resized based on business need. They support 3PAR's thin provisioning, in which storage is over-allocated per application and shifts based on application needs.
In 3PAR Virtual Domains, each partition can be firewalled from others. Virtual Domains can be created and managed via policies set by the storage administrator. They can differ too in their composition -- for instance, a virtual domain created for a database application could consist of primary Fibre Channel storage and secondary, less expensive archival storage, while a domain for front-office applications could consist of only less expensive secondary storage.
3PAR's Virtual Domains compete with hardware partitioning capabilities in arrays from EMC, IBM and Hitachi Data Systems. 3PAR's ability to dynamically change the size of a virtual domain is less wasteful than hardware partitioning, which is not as flexible, according to 3PAR.
3PAR offering starts at US$1,500; a typical installation of 100 drives with 10TB of storage sells for US$10,000 to US$20,000.
3PAR, which was founded in 1999, filed for an IPO in August.