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Hewlett-Packard StorageWorks MSA1000 Small Business SAN Kit

StorageWorks MSA1000

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For this test, I chose to use our faithful old Compaq DL-580 server with four 800-MHz processors, 1 GB of memory and a fresh build of Windows Server 2003. The test system arrived at NWC's Green Bay, Wis., Real-World Labs® in the form of an immaculately packaged cardboard monolith; and though the setup took somewhat longer than the advertised 35 minutes, the SAN went together in a little over an hour--what I'd consider record time for an FC installation.

I took the time to read the simplified instructions to envision how difficult it would be for an FC newbie going through the same process for the first time. I found the physical build quite simple, and the kit came with rails and templates for racking the main drive subsystem and FC switch. For storage, our test system came with four 72.8-GB/10,000-rpm drive modules that snapped in place in minutes. This left only the final steps of inserting the HBA card in our test server, connecting the server, switch and storage with the provided cables, and powering up.

HP and company did a fine job of making the process relatively painless for Server 2003 installations. All necessary device drivers and management tools are provided on a single setup disk, though I found that the simplified documentation and setup wizards included are targeted primarily at Windows Server 2003 users. HP also includes drivers and support applications for Windows Server 2000, as well as an alternative installation routine for Red Hat and SuSE Linux. The three SAN-management tools included as part of this Small Business Solution are HP Storage Manager, HP Switch Manager and an express version of QLogic's SANSurfer, which serves as the simplified/centralized management interface for the SAN environment under Windows Server 2003.

During installation, the software wizards guide the new user through the most difficult parts of the FC SAN configuration process, automatically creating domains, zones and World Wide Names for the attached devices. Optimized to take advantage of Server 2003's VDS (Virtual Disk Services), the software seamlessly handles basic storage concerns like LUN discovery, formatting and masking. It also provides the platform for advanced storage features, such as RAID stacking and the ability to dynamically grow and shrink LUNs.

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