Around the Storage Block

5th Generation of MSA Doubles Performance for Same Cost


Last week, our HPE Storage news went out ahead of Discover in Las Vegas which starts in just a couple of days. As we always do when we have a lot of news, we have detailed blog post to cover each part of the announcement. Before I talk about the latest MSA, I want to list the posts we have so far on the news:

So with that summary, let's look at the new MSA. 

Did you say double the performance at the same price?

Yes, that is what I said. The fifth generation of the MSA is the MSA 2050 and MSA 2052. Basically, we've upgraded the MSA 2050 MSA 2052 blog.jpgMSA controllers with faster processors and more controller cache and the results are really impressive. The maximum performance of the MSA 205x is double the previous generation MSA 2040 and 2042. But even more impressive is that the price is about the same as the previous generation - so double the performance at the same price.  

Fast facts about the MSA

Over the life of the MSA, we've shipped over 500,000 arrays.  500,000!  And it is the number one entry Fibre Channel SAN array for 8 years running.

There are two products:

  • The MSA 2052 is essentially a bundle that includes 2 800GB SSDs, all of the MSA Advanced Data Services, and 512 snapshots and remote snapshots.
  • The MSA 2050 is the same controller but doesn't include any SSDs. It does include the MSA Advanced Data Services with the exception of performance tiering and it also doesn't include the 512 snapshots or remote snapshots but all can be added in the future as needed.  
  • The MSA 2052 with SSDs and the all-inclusive software is a 40% savings over buying an MSA 2050 and adding the SSDs and software. So clearly if you know you want the software and SSDs, take advantage of the MSA 2052 bundle.  

Here are a few more really fast facts:

  • The MSA 205x converged SAN Controllers support 8 or 16Gb Fiber Channel or 1 or 10GbE iSCSI.  If you know the MSA, you probably noticed that SAS host connection isn't an option. All I'll say is stay tuned. 
  • Both large form factor (FF) and small form factor (SFF)  enclosures are available. You can start small and scale to 96 LFF drives or 192 SFF drives. The LFF enclousure holds 12 drives while the SFF enclosure holds 24 drives. 
  • There lots of drive options. LFF mixed use SSD, 15K HDD, and 7.2K MDL SAS. SFF mixed use SSDs, 15K and 10K HDDs, 7.2K MDL SAS, and 7.2K or 10K self-encrypting drives (SED). 
  • The services included with the Advanced Data Services are thin provisioning, wide-striping, redirect on write, SSD read cache, and automated tiering
  • With MSA 205x, only virtual disk groups are available. Virtual disk groups is a feature that is part of the Advanced Data Services; with the MSA 204x and MSA 1040 as well but you had the option to use linear disk groups with those MSA models. The MSA 205x only offers virtual disk groups. 

Watch the MSA family page for the MSA 205x details which should be there shortly. I especially recommend you look at the QuickSpec. 

Chalk it up!

Yup, you guessed it. My ChalkTalk is a great overview (if I do say so myself) of the MSA so check it out. 

Lastly, Tim Peters, VP and GM of SMB Solution posted an article on our server blog that gave his perspective on this new generation of the MSA so check that out too. 

1 Source: IDC WW Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker, 4Q16, based on vendor revenues.

About the Author

CJZ Headshot fixed 150 x 150.jpg

I'm Calvin Zito, a 34 year veteran in the IT industry and have worked in storage for over 25 years. I am a seven-time VMware vExpert. As an early adopter of social media and active in communities, I've blogged for 9 years. You can find me on Twitter as @CalvinZito. If you don't follow me on Twitter, do it now! You can also contact me via email

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About the Author


I have worked at HPE since 1983, all of it around storage but 100% focused on storage since 1990. I'm expanding into other areas of focus at HPE like HPE GreenLake, compute, containers, AI, and more. I blog, create videos, and podcasts to help you better understand HPE Storage. Find my podcast at