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MSA2042 connect a P2000 to it

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MSA2042 connect a P2000 to it

Hi all


I need some help here.


We use VMware and we have 30VM's.

1 x SBS 2008 (DC, File Server, Exchange is stopped since we moved to office365 and Wsus is off)

1 x SQL Server

1 x Application Server

1 x VoIp Server

1 x Firewall

25 x Win7 client workstations (simple 3gb ram 2 vcpu 64GB disks thin provisioned)


We currently have a MSA P2000G3/FC iscsi LFF that has on it

8x600GB 15K SAS (Raid 10) for VM's

3x3TB 7.2K SAS (Raid5) for Data (no DB's or anything, just file serving)

3 HP servers (2xDL80G9, 1 DL380G6) are connected to it with FC 8GB Cards and all working fine. All 3 servers are basic with no special raid controllers in them and they just have a system disk.


What we want to do is to make the whole system a bit faster as matter IOPS. We found after extensive reading that the best value for money for our needs is to do SSD Caching and to achieve this we have 2 Scenarios since ALL Flash is too expensive yet.

In both scenarios, we don’t care for the current data since when this will happen we will do backup and recreate all the raids etc. and all the Vcenter config also. Basically, it will be a clean install in all servers and restore of VM's.


  1. To upgrade to MSA2042 SFF that includes 2x400GB SSD and that MSA will connect the P2000 as disk enclosure and it will see the disks on it and control them. Then we will setup the SSD's to do Caching and the overall speed will be improved. All the host will connect to 2042 and disconnect from P2000. Off course we will also gain all the virtualization benefits that the new MSA generation has.


  1. To upgrade the Servers. Each server will get the latest Raid controller from HP (all 3 will get a P840/4GB) and 1 x 400GB SSD with HP SmartCache enabled. The 600GB disks of the MSA will go to the 3 servers (we will buy additional 1 x 600GB so each server will get 3 x 600GB in raid 5).
    The 3TB disks will stay to MSA and maybe we will add more disks 3TB to it if we need more file space.


So, the question is if anyone can help... between the 2 scenarios in our mind the 1st solution is better because we like the NAS side of things and the ability that in a failure of a host (scenario 2) we will be able to run the VM's that the problematic host had to the other 2.  Also we can add more hosts to it as we grow.
Off course if the MSA fails then all 3 servers will go down but since 2010 we had the P2000 we never had any kind of trouble and it was rock solid except that we changed in all this years 3 disks that went off. Also, we do daily backups of everything (offsite also) so in a total loss we can do a full restore under 6 hours.


Another thing that puzzles me in the technical document of the MSA2040/2 is that it says that it can have the P2000 as enclosure (which is what we want to do in 1st scenario) but it cannot use the SSD drives for other reason as simple disks, in specific it says, "When using the P2000 G3 Storage Enclosure with MSA 2040 controllers, you will not be able to use SSD drives or have some of the performance benefits of the MSA 2040 Storage Enclosure."

What that really means? if that means that if I connect an SSD in the P2000 it cannot use it as Cache which is logical, or that means in general no matter where the SSD is putted in 2040/2 or P2000 it cannot use it as Cache? if the 2nd is true then our whole planning in scenario 1 is pointless.

Some expert guidance or opinion is needed here :)


Thx in advance



Athens - Greece


Acclaimed Contributor

Re: MSA2042 connect a P2000 to it

The P2000 itself does not support SSDs at all.

The P2000 is available with FC, SAS and iSCSI connectors, even a mix of FC and ISCSI. There is also a P2000 disk chassis with I/O modules only (no controllers), used as an extension.

You need such extension chassis if you want to increase capacity, you cannot "daisy chain" two P2000 disk arrays (or newer models).


If you use SAS connections, only a few specific HBAs are supported, they cannot use their own cache.


All the details here:


Hope this helps!

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Re: MSA2042 connect a P2000 to it

Thank you for the detail. If I understand your request, you are trying to decide betwen:

1) Upgrading the P2000 to MSA 2042 (or replacing the P2000 with MSA2042)

2) Beefing up the local storage in the servers and using them without the MSA

Either option is fine but, as you pointed out, there are disaster recovery benefits with using the MSA as shared storage with the ability to vmotion VMs between hosts and use VMWare HA feature.

So, for the sake of this discussion based on the information you've provided, let's assume you are looking to do the following:

1) Move to a current MSA model with caching and/or tiering. You don't care about any of your existing data, you simply want to be able to use your existing 11 x LFF SAS drives and rebuild a new MSA system with virtualized storage, tiering, and caching.

In this case, I would:

a) Purchase an MSA 2052 with the desired support and SFPs (do you need 1GB RJ45 SFPs?)

b) Configure the MSA as desired

c) Move your drives over

d) The MSA 2052 would ordinarly recognize your data but will not support it in this case because you are using Linear volumes. So, since you don't care about the data anyway (as you mentioned), blow away and reconfigure your disk groups, volumes, and restore data

e) Since you such a limited number of disks, you'll need to carefully plan your pool assignments. If you wanted to do tiering, rather than caching, then all your disks would need to be in the same pool to effective use the limited drives you have. In this case, one controller will essentially be serving up all the data and the other would be a failover. If you had a lot of disks, you could spread it out a bit more. This likely won't be a performance issue with your configuraiton. If you truly want to do caching, you have some more flexibility because you could assign the NL and 1 SSD in one pool and the 15K and SSD in another pool.

f) consider purchasing at least one more 3TB drive and using it as a spare. You are asking for some trouble by using RAID5 on NL disks and having no spare. RAID6 is recommended on NL disks due to lower MTBF and longer rebuild times.

At the end of the day, you could also look at purchasing controllers (and maybe advanced data service licensing) and upgrading your P2000 shelf. However, chances are you might be out of warranty on your P2000 and just buying a brand new empty shelf might be the cleanest and most cost effective way to deal with this. There are lots of variables here and way more questions and answers that should be shared than can be efficiently communicated over a message board. I would suggest working with a qualified HPE partner (VAR) in your area who has Solution Architects on staff who can take some time and really dig into your requirements so that you get the most cost effective solution and don't have any surprises.

I work for HPE. The comments in this post are my own and do not represent an official reply from the company. No warranty or guarantees of any kind are expressed in my reply.

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Re: MSA2042 connect a P2000 to it

Thanks for the replys guys

Dear Mike i will go to solution 1 i think since i feel better as i explained with the MSA so i plan to do this.
Also with the MSA i gain 4 x 10GB iscsi ports for future Hosts if i need to but i want to ask something here also. In the P2000 since i have connected hosts with the FC connection i am unable to share the same luns with iScsi ports of it.. the 2042 can do that? to connect hosts with the FC ports and simultaneously the same luns to be shared also with the iscsi ports?

I am reaching the bellow after consideration and help from you guys.

1. I buy an MSA 2042 SFF with 4 x 8GB FC Tranceivers, the model is i believe the Q0F72A  that has the Tranceivers Build in(for the 2052 i dont have yet price in Greece but i had read the specs and i dont believe i need the extra IOPS that it gives which basically is the main difference from the 2042.. also i dont know if it can connect a P2000 as Disk Enclosure to it).

2. I connect the Current P2000 with the MSA2042 without moving any of the disks. The 2042 will be the Master and all my hosts will connect to it.

3.  I Buy 1 more 3TB disk but instead to declare it as a spare i will just do Raid 10 in the 4x3TB disks since the 6TB that i will get is total fine as file server space and with this i will gain more speed and maybe 2 disks loss(offcourse in the same raid0 group). With this adition the P2000 will be totally full offcourse.

4. I format everything using the new Virtual Pools system.

What i dont know is if Tiering is better than ssd Caching. From what i see with only 2x400GB ssd's maybe the best option is to go with SSD caching for my environment with the 30vm's that i explained above.

For the future i think if i need more space i will buy a 2700 and i will throw 6TB disks on it and if i need speed i just buy SSD's and i put them in the 2042. 

Everything is fine with the above?



Re: MSA2042 connect a P2000 to it


The MSA 2050 series will eventually replace the 2040 series so they should be roughly the same cost. 2050 series is not considered a higher level model (though does have some improved specs) but rather the next lifecycle generation.
I'm not sure when they will be available in Greece. However, if all you can get is the 2040 series and you need to act quickly, then that is fine. You'll have many happy years on the 2040 series.

The MSA 2040/2050 series has four available ports per controller. A host should always be hooked to at least one port on each controller for failover capability. This gives you a maximum of four connected hosts (in a direct connect scenario). Obviously, many more hosts when using Ethernet or FC switches.
You can make two ports on the controller be iSCSI and two be FC (mixed) if you wish. Of course, you can also do all four ports as the same protocol. You can only present a volume to ports belonging to the same protocol type. So, a single volume is presented to iSCSI or FC hosts but not both.

You cannot directly attach a P2000 controller shelf to a MSA 2040 series controller shelf. You would first need to replace the controllers with Disk I/O modules. If you have a LFF shelf then the disk IO module is part number AP844B and you'll need two along with two SAS cables. If your P2000 base shelf is a SFF shelf then you cannot replace the controllers with disk I/O modules and you'ld need to buy a new drive enclosure shelf instead.

Finally, regarding tiering vs. caching; performance benefits depends on your specific workloads. Tiering affects reads and writes, caching affects reads. So, heavy read workloads do well with caching. If you have tons of archival data then tiering can make sense because all your stale stuff can eventually make its way down to NL disks and you grow capacity by adding NL. No data is ever pinned to caching disks so no need to protect it. Hence, a minimum of 1 per pool can be used. Data is pinned in tiering so you need to protect it. Therefore, a minimum of 2 SSDs per pool (in RAID1). In your case, if you are going to use tiering, just place all your disks in the same pool since you don't have that many.

Best of luck!

I work for HPE. The comments in this post are my own and do not represent an official reply from the company. No warranty or guarantees of any kind are expressed in my reply.

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Re: MSA2042 connect a P2000 to it

Dear Mike

Thx for everything, your posts cleared everything for me.

I will ask for a price to 2052 SFF model (Q1J03A) even though i dont find a concrete answer that i can connect to it with the same way a P2000 G3 but i suppose it will.

I have the P2000 LFF model so i will buy 2 x disk IO modules AP844B to it and i will be fine and as i see them are very cheap.

As for the tiering from what i had read its better for my environment since its mixed use but i have 1 last question and i promise i will not bother again :-)
This has to do with the Final disk configuration
I will have 8x600GB SAS in Raid 10 and 4x3TB MDL in Raid10 also so after i will create the raids (both as Raid10) then enable the tiering and in settings i declare 
The 2 SSD's in raid1 as Performance tier (Owner A or B)
The 8 SAS in raid10 as Standard tier (Owner A controller)
The 3 MDL in raid10 as Archive tier (Owner B Controller)
Then i create a Disk Group of everything and automatic tiering will do its magic, correct?

Is there any point to devide the groups from performance point of view between the 2 controllers or the above examble is my best case scenario? meaning for examble the 8 SAS to 2 raid 10 partitions each one with 4 disks and each one assigned in different controller?

Really thx for everything.


Re: MSA2042 connect a P2000 to it


No problem :)

Sounds like you are coming up with a good plan. Tiering only works within the same pool. So, in your case of limited disks, you'd want to create a RAID1 SSD virtual disk group assigned to pool A (and controller A), a RAID10 SAS virtual disk group assigned to pool A (and controller A), and a RAID10 MDL virtual disk group assigned to pool A (and controller A).
Spreading out your disk groups amongst the two pools (and thus controllers) is a general best practice for getting the best possible performance. However, you'd need a minimum of two more SSDs to create a RAID1 performance tier for pool B. Even then, now you only have 4 SAS and 2 MDL disks ever handling a request in a given pool. Of course, I can't be 100% sure, but I think your configuration would be best served by dumping everything in single pool. Controller A will be the only one working however, controller B will be available in a failure (as long as each host is connected to each controller). With your disk config, I think you have plenty of controller headroom so as to not really see the benefits of spreading out over both pools/controllers.

A couple final notes:
1) Direct Connect
I know you said you were doing FC direct connect now and considering iSCSI direct connect.
I'm finding mixed info, at this time, as to whether it is officially supported. HPE SPoCK indicates iSCSI direct connect is not supported and web searches indicate that it is VMWare themselves who don't support iSCSI direct connect. I can't find anything definitive but am leaning towards it not being supported at this time (even though it may tecnically work).

2) Converting your shelf/moving drives
Consider the following PDF

Note the table on page 4. The MSA 2050 discontinues support for a lot of older hardware. Without extensively digging into this more, I am afraid that you may run into issues with your older drives or enclosure on an MSA2050. At best, you might be able to move your drives into a new MSA 2050 enclosure but you'd need to compare against the table.

Now, note the same document for upgrading to MSA 2040 series at

I think you'll see that you'll have a much smoother experience trying bring older hardware over to an MSA 2040 series array. So, sorry for the initial recommendation to try MSA 2050. If this were net new then MSA 2050 would be best bet. Upgrading, MSA 2040 series will be a better bet for your use case.

Best wishes. 

I work for HPE. The comments in this post are my own and do not represent an official reply from the company. No warranty or guarantees of any kind are expressed in my reply.

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Re: MSA2042 connect a P2000 to it

Dear Mike

Thank you. 
After reading the upgrade path pdf that you linked i see also that the P2000 is not supported but i see that all 6G sas disks and 6G MDL disks are also not supported. This is pretty bad from HP side since i only have 11 x 6G disks but i suppose many have a ton of 6G disks.

Offcourse a solution is to buy a D2700 or 2050 enclusure (HP dropped also the 1040/2040 enclosure support) but i am not really sure if the 2050/2 will be happy to see them in there... there must be a clarification from HP side on this and the product is really new to have huge info online.

I think i am finished... if the 2052 with a D2700 enclosure can get my old 6G msa disks i will proceed like this, if not i will go to 2042 even though i always want to go to latest product but this is a risk i dont wanna take.

Thank you for everything 


Re: MSA2042 connect a P2000 to it

Chris, the 6G SAS drives will be your limiting factor as they are not supported in the MSA205x in any enclosure. As long as your drives are SAS, and not SATA, you should be good to go on the upgrade to MSA 204x.

Good luck on your project.



I work for HPE. The comments in this post are my own and do not represent an official reply from the company. No warranty or guarantees of any kind are expressed in my reply.

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Re: MSA2042 connect a P2000 to it

Well i dont give up yet for the 2052...

I will ask for official answer from HP because im not convinced yet. 
The D2700 enclosure that is supported from 2050/2 accept only 6G disks (i suppose you can put 12G disks there and the enclosure will not have problem but its useless), so how the 2052 sees this disks?. Imagine also someone who has an array of P2000 with 7 enclosures full of 6G SAS disks and wants to upgrade the Control System to 2050/2 then HP kicks them? i dont believe that and never HP done that.

In my mind 2050/2 supports fine the 6G disks in an enclosure i just want an official HP answer on this

If i get an anwer i will reply here.