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HP MSA platform gets a jolt of flash tiering, caching

HP adds real-time tiering and flash caching to its Dot Hill-sourced MSA arrays for SMBs. The HP MSA arrays have been enhanced with wide-striping and redirect-on-write snapshots.

HP has upgraded its entry-level MSA Storage systems with sub-LUN tiering and a solid-state drive (SSD) read cache, as well as enhanced snapshots and thin provisioning.

The HP MSA platform consists of the 2040 and the 1040. The 2040 scales to 576 TB of hard-disk drive capacity with expansion drives, and also supports SSDs. The 1040 scales to 192 TB of hard-disk drive capacity with no flash support.

The new performance tiering for SSDs is on the MSA 2040 only and automatically moves data to flash based on I/O performance patterns. The 2040 also has a new SSD read cache, which is a predictive algorithm that dynamically extends controller read caching to improve read I/O performance. The read cache is designed for read-intensive workloads such as Microsoft SQL and Exchange, and Oracle Database.

"The read cache is the easiest way to start the flash game," said Britt Terry, HP's worldwide product marketing manager for the MSA line. "It starts with 200 GB SSDs and then as random reads move into the controller, we'll promote those into the SSD cache. We are in real-time. Every five seconds, we look at pages that we promote or demote based on access patterns."

Much of the HP MSA platform's technology comes from OEM partner Dot Hill, which earlier this month, rolled out new management software with enhanced caching and real-time tiering across SSDs.

The MSA 2040 and 1040 have been upgraded to support thin provisioning via T10 UNMAP, a SCSI command used to reclaim space from blocks deleted by a virtual machine, operating system or application.

The HP MSA arrays have been enhanced with wide-striping and redirect-on-write snapshots.

The upgrades are available through a firmware release, scheduled for general availability next month. The MSA 2040 firmware release is free, but the SSD tiering is an optional feature that costs $3,999.

HP MSA 1040 customers must purchase an Advanced Virtualization Upgrade for the new features. The upgrade costs $3,500.

Next Steps

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