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back to article HP gives retooled low-end SAN boxes a virtual touch

Hewlett-Packard has reworked its low-end storage line to make some new systems more virtualization friendly for SMBs and remote offices. The fresh StorageWorks MSA2000 SAN storage systems will be a direct replacement for the existing MSA1500cs and MSA1510i systems. And like their predecessors, the 2U arrays come in either Fibre …

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Pirate

Late to market, short on the specifics

I'm comparing this to the Dell-EMC AX4-5

That has dual active controllers, scales to 60 drives, already has 1TB drives.

The MSA2000 has active passive controllers, scales only to 48 drives and still hasn't got 1TB drives qualified.

I have to conclude that this is not a net new design, but a warmed over version of the MSA1000->MSA1500 product, unlike the AX4-5.

No, before you ask, I don't work for HP or EMC.

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Happy

RE: Dell-EMC AX4-5

The 1TB drives you mention are SATA, not SAS, so a bit limiting for those customers interested in performance rather than cheapness (then again, it is Dell). Dell hasn't even got 300GB 15K disks for the AX4-5s, which have been available in the MSA range for a while. And capacity for only 64 redundant hosts? Looks like the MSA2k is twice as capable there, then. I haven't seen the full spec for the MSA2k yet so I'll have to take your word on the active-passive controllers, but then the EMC salesgrunt keeps telling me the MSA1k is only active-passive when I have configured one running active-active in an hp-ux ServiceGuard cluster, so I expect you may be wrong there too.

Of course, if you want to go to 60 disks, my own advice would be an EVA and have the possibility to scale to eighteen disk shelves and eight ports.

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Stop

MSA == Junk

I hope that they fixed the biggest gripe that VM users have with the MSA series: its maximum of two (yes, 2) hosts using any single LUN simultaneously. This effectively limits the size of an attached VM cluster to two physical servers. HP's compatibility guide for the MSA1x00 even explicitly specifies a limit of two servers with the latest active/active firmware (7.0).

Oh, and their implementation of active/active consists of spreading the LUNs across controllers, which you get to configure manually in the ACU. LUNs cannot be served by both controllers simultaneously; instead, a controller handling a request for a LUN for which it is not configured must forward the request through an internal connection to the other controller.

If HP managed to remove both of those ugly hacks in the MSA2000, then I'll have to give it some consideration, as I really really really want to kick our MSA1500 to the kerb.

Stop. Hammertime.

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Happy

@Matt

Your EMC sales grunt is correct - the MSA1K is active-passive. Your HP_UX servers may be active-active in your cluster, but the storage you're clustering on has controllers that can only operate in an active-passive manner. Fortunately because you only have a couple of servers on the array, you're unlikely to see a degradation of performance.

For 60 drives, an EVA is not a cost-effective option versus the AX4-5 from EMC - it's in a mid-range price bracket. HP's MSA2K and EMC's AX4-5 are at low-end price points.

Regarding drive sizes, the MSA2000 is also SAS/SATA backend and therefore it will not be supporting 300GB 15K SCSI drives. HP has switched this from a SCSI to a SAS/SATA backend. It will likely have the same industry standard 400GB 10K drives or 146K 15K drives as the EMC model - and yes, ultimately 1TB SATA drives. Unfortunately as the product has been pre-launched and is not actually available to purchase for another month, there's no way of confirming this.

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Happy

RE: @Matt and MSA == Junk

"Your HP_UX servers may be active-active in your cluster, but the storage you're clustering on has controllers that can only operate in an active-passive manner" - if it wasn't active-active it wouldn't cluster under ServiceGuard. Let me see now - I can see down both paths to the LUNs from both servers - sounds pretty active-active to me! Especially as I had to upgrade from the active-passive firmware to version 7.0 which is explicitly for active-active. Don't tell me, you have a new definition of active-active that only covers kit with an EMC badge on.....

As for the 2 hosts per LUN limitation, just create a LUN for each VM. I've created Integrity VMs and given them 10GB LUNs across a RAID5 set, it's easy! Since it is a function of the MSA and not tied to the OS, I assume you could do the same for VMware if you had a clue. I didn't have a reason to share the LUNs, but I've never had to other than when I played with ServiceGuard between two VMs (hey, it was a slow afternoon, we were bored!). As I have colleagues that seem happy running large VMware farms on MSA I assume they just had better training than you.

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MSA2000

Well I am not a fan of the MSA1000/MSA15x0 for a VM environment having worked on a couple but then it is a 7 year old design.

But the cache mirroring sounds like a step forward for true Active/Active.

I am a little disappointed that there is no mention of using the MSA70 shelf with 2.5" disks, but maybe that announcment will come later, for now this looks like a promising box at a reasonable price.

The AX4 is nice but not supporting Mirrorview or SANCopy on the iSCSSI version and no VMWare certification yet for the iSCSI AX4 with VI 3.5 are both issues for me.

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Anonymous Coward

Fujitsu Siemens FibreCAT systems

have had all of this for a while, including free snapshots. And last time I checked they were cheaper, too. It seems strange that HP is so far behind.

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