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HP Refreshes MSA

Hewlett-Packard has upgraded its Modular Smart Array (MSA) series of low-end SANs, in a move that rounds out a flurry of SMB releases by big storage suppliers.

Like its predecessor MSA1000, of which HP claims 120,000 have shipped worldwide, the MSA2000 comprises iSCSI and Fibre Channel in a single- or dual-controller array. Each box can also serve NAS heads directly or through a gateway on a server (an HP ProLiant, of course).

What's new in the MSA2000? Here's a list:

  • SAS backend. By replacing a SCSI disk interface with a SAS backend, HP enables the MSA2000 to support both SAS and SATA drives in the same enclosure. Capacity has also gone up from 12.5 Tbytes per array to 36 Tbytes. While HP uses 750-Gbyte SATA drives today, the vendor promises 1-Tbyte drives "soon." These will boost the overall capacity of each box to 48 Tbytes. Each MSA2000 array also supports up to 64 hosts via Fibre Channel, compared to a total of 20 FC-linked hosts before.
  • 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel. The MSA2000 also supports iSCSI, which is still relegated to 1-Gbit/s, though a dual-controller setup can serve two 1-Gbit/s ports at once.
  • LUN enhancements. Each MSA2000 sports 256 LUNs, versus 32 in the former series. "The increase was driven by the needs of virtual server environments," says Charles Vallhonrat, manager of MSA marketing for HP. LUNs also can expand to 16 Tbytes, versus a former limitation of 2 Tbytes -- a feature Vallhonrat says is crucial for archiving.
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