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MSA2000i vs Lefthand SAN

Occasional Contributor

MSA2000i vs Lefthand SAN

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

we are currently in the process of evaluating different solutions to renew our internal IT server and storage infrastructure. Apart from Dell and IBM offerings we are wondering if there are arguments pro/contra going for either one of the Lefthand Starter SANs or the MSA2000i from HP in combination with a C3000 blade center.

As I see it, the Lefthand SAN is more advanced offering a better upgrade path in the future (I have seen the flash movie on the website) but what does it do better right now compared to the MSA2000i. Especially when comparing management features (LUN Management) or performance.

For instance, the MSA 2000i seems to offer more features ( I can combine different raid levels on one shelf for instance) and can be outfitted with 450GB 15krpm SAS drives manually. The Lefthand SANs on the other hand, seem to be only available in very rigid fixed configurations (Starter SAN, Virtualization SAN) and don´t even seem to offer RAID6, at least I have not found any info on things like raid levels, mixed SAS/SATA drives etc.

Also, in what way are the Starter SANs limited ? They have a Windows Solution Pack for 10 servers included. Does that mean I can only operate 10 servers with a Starter SAN ?

Thanks all for your input and advice !

Occasional Visitor

Re: MSA2000i vs Lefthand SAN

Hi, unfortunately the information on the lefthand website can be a bit confusing or out of date, but don't let that put you off, talking to and getting a visit from their sales people is worth the time to help explain these sort of things.

For example the 10 Server limit on the solution pack refers to version 6 or less of their software, from version 7 up there is no limit.

As to the raid levels, the physical units are preconfigured as raid 5 but the network raid level is configurable by you for each volume you create, so even at network raid 0 you are protected from a single drive failure in each unit, while at level 2 you are protected from an entire unit going down etc.

As to the virtual and starter san, these again are more a guideline than actual fixed shipping batches, you can have as many units as you need with different speed drives across the SAN. So 2 SAS units for high speed access and 2 SATA units for high capacity but slower storage if you want.

Again the sales people will discuss this and what layout you need with you.

In case you haven't guessed I am a Lefthand customer so I can only give you a viewpoint from that side but we have been very happy with the system so far and like yourself looked at other systems as well when deciding.
Trusted Contributor

Re: MSA2000i vs Lefthand SAN

First I'll disclose I work for the LeftHand division in HP StorageWorks, so to be fair I'll just bullet points to help clear things up and try not to give you a sales pitch.

-Raid 6 is supported in all LeftHand P4000 Nodes
-The "SANs" are pre-configured versions of our system that fit many customers, but you can ala cart any configuration you want together if the "SANs" don't fit your profile.
-P4500 nodes do support 450 15K SAS drives, that is what the "Virtualization SAN" comes with too
-You can't mix different drive types in a single 2u chassis, but you can mix different drive types the SAN easily, a common example is a cluster of SAS nodes, and a cluster of SATA nodes in the same SAN.

I hope that answers some of your questions.
Adam C, LeftHand Product Manger

Re: MSA2000i vs Lefthand SAN

I have worked with both the MSA2000i and the Lefthand. As for ease of use I prefer the Lefthand, their interface is far superior than the MSA, and much easier to figure out.

Lefthand SANs do offer the RAID 6 on the modules as well as what they term as "Network RAID" which is where they replicate the data across the various modules. This allows the modules to withstand a single drive or even a single module failure.

Lefthand also includes RemoteIP copy which is where you can replicate your data to an offsite Lefthand SAN.

When asked to compare the two the MSA2000i is a starter iSCSI whereas the Lefthand is an advanced iSCSI SAN.

My 2 cents!
Occasional Contributor

Re: MSA2000i vs Lefthand SAN

Hi guys,

sorry for my late reply and thank you very much for all your answers. I still have some follow up question:

<<-The "SANs" are pre-configured versions of our system that fit many customers, but you can ala cart any configuration you want together if the "SANs" don't fit your profile.
-P4500 nodes do support 450 15K SAS drives, that is what the "Virtualization SAN" comes with too>>

Does that mean that I can have the Starter Sans with 450GB drives as well or not because everything that people will tell me is that the Starter Sans are with 300GB drivers and Virtualisation Sans are with 450GB drives.

One other question that came up was if I can have those Sans in a single shelf configuration. For instance the Virtualisation SAN comes with 2x12 Drive shelfs obviously. But I do not need 2, I just need one. Can I get one or can I use both shelfs for 2 different customers or are they bound together forever ? :-)

As for the remote copy feature: Will this allow me to just copy one snapshot or one LUN or volume to a second SAN over WAN or does this always mirror one complete SAN ?

Thanks for your time and effort !

Re: MSA2000i vs Lefthand SAN

Pre-configured in the sense that most people purchase 2 of these so let's sell them as a bundle. I don't think that buying hem and reselling them to 2 different customers is what they have in mind with that.

The way that the Lefthand model is setup there is an advantage to having more than one module. The biggest is the 2 way replication which is network mirroring. Everything that is written to module 1 is also written to module 2 so if you lose one module you are protected. Sure you can buy 1, but you can also get 3 or 4 or 5 or more.

You don't have to buy the bundles you can purchase individual modules and purchase as many as you want / need. Then you can choose what drives you want and everything else.

RemoteIP is based on the volume. So you can choose which volumes you want to use Remote copy with. How it works is take a snapshot of the volume and replicate that snapshot to the remote site over the WAN. It works really well and is a great value.
Occasional Contributor

Re: MSA2000i vs Lefthand SAN

Hi Jason,

thanks for clearing this up for me. I was just wondering why my dealer so far has tried to sell me the standard double SAN configuration instead of a single one although I specifically wanted a SAN with 12x450GB drives and not a network raid array.

Respected Contributor

Re: MSA2000i vs Lefthand SAN


Likely the reason your reseller was encouraging a 2 module solution is that it best leverages the replication (read fault tolerance) features that attract many people to the Lefthand product line.

The good news is this:

1) All the lefthand products are completely modular, so if you want to start really small (like your 1 unit of 12x450GB drives) you certainly can. All the products are offered ala carte. However there may be some price benefits and extra features (3 year warranty, and training credits) to the bundles, plus the advantage of having the replication/fault tolerance right out of the gates.

2) Integrating additional modules in the future (like you need more IOPS, capacity, or additional replication/redundancy) can be easily added without disruption to production use of the SAN. ie: the lefthand cluster of modules can dynamically expand as you add more modules.

3) There are no licenses to buy. there's no upcharge of extra software to purchase to take advantage of clustering multiple modules, snapshots, or replication. All the SANs come with all the features - even the virtual storage appliance (VSA).

As you may have guessed (and full disclosure) I am an HP/Lefthand reseller. Please post again if you need any additional clarification.

Occasional Contributor

Re: MSA2000i vs Lefthand SAN

Hi again,

thanks for the update. In the meantime I have discussed this in more detail with my dealer. At least here in Austria it seems to not be possible for a small company like us to tailor a Lefthand SAN for special purposes, it is either a Virtualisation SAN with 450GB discs or a Starter SAN with 300GB discs.

What I did not understand so far but was made clear to me now is that a Lefthand SAN is actually nothing more but a HP server with a special OS running on it. So if I buy just one, I don´t get any redundancy on the controllers, thats why they are sold by the double apparently. But this design does have a small flaw in my opinon, it needs double the discs for full redundany so instead of getting 24x450 GB of capacity with the Virtualisation SAN, I am actually only getting 12x450GB (minus 2 for RAID6).

This makes Lefthand much more expensive unfortunately.

OTOH, my dealer told me that it is now possible to get the Lefthand OS only so we could run it on one or two blades and combine that with cheaper DAS storage like the new MSA 2000 G2.

This could put it into the same ballpark as a San Melody solution. Any opinions on Lefthand vs San Melody ?

Thanks for your help so far !