HP MSA gets SSD support

Hewlett-Packard upgrades its entry-level SAN array, giving HP MSA some SSD support, a new controller and 4 TB hard drives.

Hewlett-Packard is bringing solid-state drives (SSDs) into its entry-level Modular Smart Array (MSA) platform.

HP today launched the MSA 2040 with a new high-performance controller, SSD support and 4 TB hard drives. HP claims 370,000 MSA systems are deployed worldwide. Dot Hill supplies the MSAs to HP through an OEM deal. The 2040 is the fourth generation of the MSA platform.

Brad Parks, HP's senior marketing manager, said the new controller and SSDs enable the 2040 to run four times as fast as previous MSA arrays. "This new controller can keep up with the SSD performance with an entry-level SAN price point," he said.

Pricing begins at $11,470 for a dual-controller MSA 2040.

The MSA 2040 also supports 16 Gbps Fibre Channel switches, with eight ports compared to four on the previous arrays. It also has twice as much cache per controller, at 4 GB. The MSA 2040 supports 196 drives with no limit on how many SSDs can run in the array. The 2U system also supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

Russ Fellows, senior analyst at Evaluator Group, said the major changes are the SSD support, the number of ports and amount of cache. The changes make for a significantly faster performance, he said.

"We've tested it against the previous-generation system and the top competitors, and the performance is better. It's faster. It has more IOPS and more throughput," Fellows said. "It also has a larger cache. You also can take the drives from all the systems from the third-generation systems and put them into the fourth generation and still have the same volumes and data."

Fellows said the MSA system is one of the few on the market that supports 2.5-inch 15,000 rpm drives because "if you want performance, you go to the SSDs. Also, there are very few entry-level products that support SSD, but that is starting to change. NetApp has SSDs in its entry-level 2000 series product."

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