HPE MSA (modular smart array), formerly HP StorageWorks MSA, is a series of storage appliances, from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, a product line built for a modest budget, available as the HPE MSA 2052 hybrid flash array, the HPE MSA 2500 SAN...
HPE MSA (modular smart array), formerly HP StorageWorks MSA, is a series of storage appliances, from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, a product line built for a modest budget, available as the HPE MSA 2052 hybrid flash array, the HPE MSA 2500 SAN storage appliance, and the MSA 1050 SAN storage.
We utilize the HPE MSA as the SAN of our VMWare ESXI infrastructure in both our main office in NY and our disaster recovery site in New Jersey. We utilize the fiber channel configuration of the MSA, both connected thru a fiber channel switch and also directly connect to the MSA. The business problem it addresses is a full redundant SAN solution for our infrastructure. Ensuring business-critical applications remain operational if there are any hardware issues with the MSA. This is achieved with the dual controller configuration as well as having multiple host bus adapters. Giving us redundancy for controller failures and HBA failures.
The HPE MSA gives us the flexibility to determine the RAID configuration of the array so we can maximize its storage capacity.
The HPE MSA's dual controller configuration allows us to upgrade the system's firmware without incurring downtime in our infrastructure. We can upgrade each controller on the array without affecting the LUNS provisioned to our VMWare ESXi environment.
With the flexibility of the configuration, we can utilize either a direct connect setup, utilizing a fabric switch, iSCSI, or a direct SAS connection.
HPE's support is excellent. Troubleshooting issues and part replacements are easy and engineers are readily available to work on issues.
Collecting support logs from the HPE MSA could be better. It takes a long time to collect logs, sometimes so long your login times out.
The HPE MSA could have a better management GUI. The layout of the menu, having the navigation buttons all around the edges is odd. It would have been better if it was in just one location.
The drive type and capacity options available can be better between the small form factor and the large form factor. We would have liked better options in the future.
The HPE MSA is best suited for basic SAN requirements. Having dual controllers provides redundancy and allows for firmware upgrades without incurring downtime to the environment. It provides enough IOPS for most workloads be it VMWare or servers requiring storage. For applications such as MS SQL or Exchange, other SAN solutions would be better. Plus the lack of storage snapshot capabilities is also a detriment to the product line. Lack of any reporting capability is also an issue especially when determining workload capabilities.
A positive ROI of the HPE MSA is the ability to configure the RAID set of the array to our requirements. We can maximize the storage capacity of the array improving our ROI.
The flexibility of configuring the HPE MSA is another positive ROI. In our production environment, we can use a fiber channel switch while in our DR office none of that redundancy is required so we directly connected that MSA to our VMWare servers.
HPE's support is another positive ROI. We have been able to connect with support right away to troubleshoot an issue. Part replacement is also excellent, ensuring our HPE MSA is not in a degraded state for long.
The HPE MSA's architecture is rock solid, there have been minimal issues with the hardware, besides the rare time that an SFP has gone bad and needed to be replaced. We've had no issues that brought down the MSA.
The dual controller configuration of the HPE MSA trumps the Synology DiskStation's single controller configuration. For that alone, I would select the HPE MSA. Without that setup, any controller issue or firmware upgrade is disruptive to the systems the SAN is providing storage to. Furthermore, HPE's support is better than what Synology currently provides. The lack of phone support on Synology's part slows down the troubleshooting of issues compared to HPE. Furthermore, HPE's engineers are able to do a remote session and can work on the problems directly compared to Synology's support.
We are using the MSA for disaster recovery. It holds all of our replication VMs and gives us the ability, with the help of VM software, to roll over to the replication cluster in order to bring our systems back up in the event of a disaster at our primary data center.
The MSA is perfect for Disaster Recovery, but I wouldn't advise using it for production. Production is best left to flash storage and not spinning disk. I think the MSA would be appropriate for a test or sandbox network for testing and training as well. The storage is cheap and it is functional.
The MSA is much cheaper than a Nimble. Spinning disk storage is much cheaper than flash storage. Just know that you are going to get what you pay for. The MSA doesn't stand up to what the Nimble can do, but at the same time, it works really well in disaster recovery scenarios.
Network Technician and the IT Project Manager take care of the MSA. If you are familiar with other HP storage products, this should be an easy transition for you. If you haven't used an HP storage product in the past, there will be a bit of a learning curve, but it isn't to hard to pick up on.
It is a functioning Replication system for us and checks all the boxes that the auditors are looking for. Further, it is inexpensive and the storage we purchased was cheap. HP has a good reputation in the industry that plays into the decision also.
HP Storageworks MSA provides our company with affordable, flexible and reliable storage for our medium size systems. HP support and quality are good, and this decision has proven to be a good one for our users. Availability, scalability, and affordability are higher and reliability has been excellent.
Reliability - Very reliable. Great uptime and few issues.
Affordability - Great price/quality balance.
Scaleability, aimed at SMEs this serves our 400 server, 4000 user base, 50 TB storage well.
Support - HP quick and effective to sort out issues.
Firmware upgrades. We have had major issues on two occasions, causing extended downtime. HP was quick to help and resolve, but I am not sure why our simple implementation caused an issue that should have been picked up by testing prior to release. Once was bad, twice painful. The end result is that we purchased a unit solely to test firmware upgrades on, not really great for us!
Support life span. Units go end of life support after around 4 years, a little too short for us.
We had tried Dell's solution but found it to be similar in price to HP and with very poor support and some performance issues. We also compared with some other vendors but ended up choosing HP due to reputation and wide user base.