It'll all end in tiers: HP tosses small biz another 3PAR-flavored bone

Data tiering and virtualisation come to MSA array land

MSA 1040

HP is adding some 3PAR-class storage services to its MSA entry-level arrays: automated data tiering, virtualisation and thin provisioning, and more, all via a firmware update. This continues a steady upgrading of MSA functionality.

The MSA 2040 model is getting:

  • Archive tiering that shunts cold data from fast SAS drives to lower-cost midline SAS drives. It’s automatically included.
  • Optional performance tiering that dynamically promotes data from disk to flash.
  • Flash acceleration that comes with an SSD Read Cache into which the controller promotes data based on a predictive algorithm to boost read access by up to 70 per cent.

The MSA 1040 and 2040 will both get thin provisioning, simplified volume expansion and rebalancing, automated capacity reclamation with thin-aware host systems such as Linux and Windows and VMware and Hyper-V. They also get wide striping to bring more spindles into play and so increase performance. There are better snapshot facilities and a better web-based GUI.

HP’s Simply StoreIT channel programme has been enhanced as well.

HP is trumpeting that, in the second quarter of 2014, world-wide FC-attached MSA storage revenue was up 45 per cent year-on-year. Recent NetApp results were affected by poor low-end FAS2000 sales, which may be a coincidence. Perhaps HP is going to start making a better showing in IDC’s quarterly Storage Tracker. That would be welcome news.

MSA 1040

MSA 1040

The new MSA 1040/2040 firmware is being gradually rolled out, and is expected to be generally available from HP and its resellers in December. Performance Tiering for the MSA 2040 is priced at $3,999, but MSA 2040 customers get other new firmware features at no charge. However, MSA 1040 customers will need to upgrade their firmware and buy the MSA 1040 Advanced Virtualisation Upgrade to take advantage of the new features. This upgrade is priced at $3,500. ®

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