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HP gives retooled low-end SAN boxes a virtual touch

MSA line gets makeover

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Hewlett-Packard has reworked its low-end storage line to make some new systems more virtualization friendly for SMBs and remote offices.

The fresh StorageWorks MSA2000 SAN storage systems will be a direct replacement for the existing MSA1500cs and MSA1510i systems. And like their predecessors, the 2U arrays come in either Fibre Channel or iSCSI flavors.

The MSA2000fc provides the 4Gb/s Fibre Channel route, while the MSA2000i model does 1Gb/s iSCSI. Both systems support a mix of up to 12 3.5" SAS and SATA disk drives. Three additional drive shelves can be added for a maximum of 48 drives and 36TB of capacity. Later on, 1TB drives will be supported to boost the max storage to 48TB.

To appeal to the virtualization crowd, the MSA2000 line supports up to 256 LUNs (logical unit numbers) over the MSA1500's wimpy 32. Customers will also find a larger cache as well as cache mirroring.

According to HP's MSA product manager Charles Vallhonrat, the arrays have browser-based management software baked-in. The storage manager uses the same software used by HP BladeSystems, which Vallhonrat reckons will help administrators hit the ground running. And while there aren't additional licensing fees for adding new systems or storage — some data security features will cost you.

Snapshot capabilities are being added for the first time to the MSA lineup, and will be sold via a tiered licensing structure. Customers testing the water can buy a "my first snapshot" package that allows for 8 snaps total. The package can be upgraded to a full option that allows 64 snapshots. Clone capabilities will also be a premium extra.

The systems will start shipping in March. The base price for a single controller iSCSI system with no drives is $4,999. A Fibre Channel system adds a $1,000 premium to the price. ®

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