Around the Storage Block

New HPE MSA entry storage innovation: More affordable flash storage and richer solution integration

See how HPE is leveraging investments in our MSA flash-enabled arrays to raise the entry storage bar for companies with a range of budgets and end-to-end storage needs.

HPE MSE etnry storage_flash_blog.jpgThe news just keeps getting better and better for small and medium-sized businesses looking for affordable entry data storage. That’s because solutions that incorporate flash-enabled arrays are getting more powerful and easier to manage.

We continue to evolve HPE MSA Storage in ways that bring your business greater speed, higher availability and more flexibility. Let’s take a look at some of the new additions to the portfolio designed to enable you to get more from MSA.

Proven entry storage with an enterprise-class solution ecosystem and new capabilities

HPE MSA Storage is by no means new to the entry storage party. For nearly two decades, we’ve enhanced and improved the HPE MSA product line. Just last year, we delivered the fifth generation of the MSA 2000 series with the flagship MSA 2050 and MSA 2052 models, doubling performance while keeping the same price as previous generation. Today, with more than half a million units deployed, HPE’s MSA is the industry’s leading entry FC SAN Array and has been for 8 years running.*

So what’s new with MSA?

HPE Storage File Controller: Enabling best-in-class block and file data services

Take any HPE MSA storage array—MSA 1050, 2050 or 2052—and attach our new HPE Storage File Controller to create one efficient solution for file and block data services that treats HPE MSA 2050_front bezel.jpgboth your structured and unstructured data with the care it's due. With rich file data services and flexible configuration options, you can now enhance and extend your SAN investments with the HPE Storage File Controller by leveraging unused capacity from your MSA array for Windows-based file shares. The HPE File Controllers can be deployed in traditional or clustered configurations for high availability. The HPE Storage File Controller makes an excellent addition to predominately Microsoft-based file environments, especially those with aging file servers.

HPE and Zerto: Delivering hypervisor-based replication

HPE and Zerto, an award-wining provider of cloud IT resilience solutions, are joining forces to deliver you an always-on experience that provides a near-synchronous continuous availability solution, complete with workload mobility and multi-cloud agility. 

In terms of availability, we’re talking about the replication of MSA or enterprise arrays into an MSA array for disaster recovery (DR)—with very low recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives. This gives you a way to use lower-cost storage for enterprise storage DR, which in turn improves TCO. You can use the HPE MSA and Zerto replication solutions to boost application and data workload mobility between two HPE MSA arrays and/or to other HPE storage arrays. Departmental applications and workloads running on MSA can also be replicated into your primary data center or replicated into the cloud without risk.  For more on this solution, download the new HPE MSA and Zerto technical white paper on hybrid cloud replication.

MSA 1050 platform: Getting a performance bump with new V270 firmware release

Through a new firmware update, the budget-optimized HPE MSA 1050 is receiving more than a 30% bump in random read-and-write performance. This is a great new benefit if you’re using using flash media in the MSA 1050 platform. The new V270 firmware release is available now for both new and existing MSA 1050 arrays.

New I/O workload graph: Making flash and hybrid arrays easier to use

We’ve included a new I/O workload graph in the MSA management console, giving your users the ability to visually see what impact the SSD tier is having on the I/O processing of applications hosted on the array. As various applications create “hot spots” within the array at various times in the day or week, MSA ‘s automated tiering engine moves the hottest blocks or data to the fastest tiers of media (typically SSDs) in real time. The new I/O Workload graph provides users with insight into this dynamic, making the tool very useful when you’re working to maximize the I/O benefit from small investments in flash media.

LDAP support: Simplifying user authentication

We have incorporated LDAP support in the MSA 1050/2050/2052 models with the V270 firmware release. Once user groups are configured on all MSAs in your organization, users can be authenticated on any MSA through the Active Directory.  This enables you to centralize authentication rules and simplify access to the correct users who may have credentials for multiple MSA systems.

Encrypted SSDs: Enabling deployment of hybrid SSD/HDD solutions

While not important to all users, MSA supports encrypted MSA 2050 solutions via the use of SED HDDs and local key management capabilities inside the MSA array. We recently added support for two SED SSDs (800GB and 1.6TB capacity points). So when you are required to implement encrypted solutions for various compliance reasons, you now have the ability to deploy a hybrid SSD/HDD solution.

A quick lesson on the benefits of HPE MSA

Whatever your industry, having sufficient, reliable storage resources is critical—especially with the growing use of server virtualization, which requires centralized, shared storage. 

HPE MSA entry storage_education use case.jpgOne customer, Longview Public Schools in Washington state, demonstrates how flash-ready HPE MSA storage meets the ever-present need for reliability, capacity and performance. A couple of summers ago, the district bought one HPE MSA SAN Storage array with a total capacity of 28.8 TB to support its three-host Hyper-V cluster. Dan Jones, technology specialist at Longview Public Schools, offers insights on the MSA deployment.

 “We’re primarily an HPE shop, and we appreciate HPE reliability,” Jones says. “There was some early debate about whether to go with an MSA or a bigger HPE 3PAR StoreServ Storage array. But for the district’s needs, the HPE MSA system was the right solution with the right capacity at the right price."

Jones notes that the district started off with the standard storage tier, with spinning drives in the chassis. When the district decided to add a second chassis with a shelf to house more than the initial 24 drives supported by the MSA base system—to support virtualization of its Microsoft Exchange server environment—it chose to define a high-performance tier.

“. . . for the district’s needs, the HPE MSA system was the right solution with the right capacity at the right price.” –Dan Jones, Technology Specialist, Longview Public Schools

It bought four 1.6 TB SSDs and invested in automated performance tiering software that utilizes a real-time I/O engine to intelligently position data on the most appropriate tier of storage based on data access patterns. The software’s thin provisioning allocates physical storage resources only upon consumption by an application for greater capacity efficiency, while the SSD read caching option improves random read performance by allowing an SSD to be utilized as an extension of the MSA’s controller cache.

“The performance tiering solution has really worked out well for us,” Jones says. “We’ve done some live migrating of VMs and it has worked flawlessly.”

Read the complete case study for more details.

Learn more about how HPE MSA Storage brings affordable flash power to your business.  

*Source: IDC WW Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker, 4Q16, based on vendor revenue

Meet Around the Storage Block blogger Chris Powers, Vice President Collaborative Platform DChris Powers_HPE Storage.pngevelopment, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Storage and Big Data Division. In his more than 25 years of experience in the data storage industry, Chris has experience in a broad range of roles spanning finance, strategy development, operations, product development, product management and P&L responsibilities. His experience spans across a broad range of technologies including disk and tape drives, high-end and entry disk arrays, storage networking, tape automation and library products. Chris has extensive experience in successfully developing and managing complex global development and operational partnerships across the value chain.

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