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Enterprise Computing: New HP Arrays – Updated

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Today HP will announce two new storage arrays.  Although taken from different product families, the hardware will be branded in a consistent manner, demonstrating HPs desire to bring together a range of storage technologies they’ve purchased over the last few years.

P2000 G3 MSA (Modular Smart Array) System

TSA - P2000_LFF

P2000 Large Form Factor

I’ve not been a particular fan of the MSA devices, as I’ve worked mainly in large organisations where scalability isn’t delivered by point solutions.  However for SMEs, the new P2000 MSA seems to offer a lot of features for a small price point.  The new device provides 8Gb Fibre Channel, 1Gb iSCSI, up to 64 snapshots plus the option to replicate to another similar P2000 array.  Both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives are supported, by Small Form Factor and Large Form Factor models respectively.  Arrays can scale up to 57.6TB with SAS drives and 192TB with SATA.

Surely I could replace my existing storage arrays with this kind of scalability I hear you say!  Well yes and no; low cost may appear to mean high value, however it depends on whether this kind of array provides the specific features you require.  Whilst the P2000 offers hardware RAID, and component redundancy, the additional features of the P4000 may be more appropriate. features you care about, for example, component redundancy, RAID, automated drive sparing, multi-pathing and so on.  If these options aren’t high on your list, then the P2000 could be for you.

P4000 G2 SAN Solutions

P4300 G2

P4300 G2

The P4000 devices are rebranded LeftHand networks hardware, technology acquired by HP in October 2008.  Probably the most interesting feature of this release is something called Network RAID.  Rather than offer simply RAID within the controller, multiple controllers can be connected together and offer continuous access in the event of a single device loss.  While this isn’t a new feature, the difference in this release is a move on from simply offering RAID-1 protection to another device to providing RAID-5 availability.  This means if you’ve planned a sensible configuration, loss of a single array wouldn’t be an issue.  However you’ll need to purchase 5 arrays to get you started.

Clearly the P4000 is a step up from the P2000 MSA array, by offering RAID protection and component redundancy.  You get what you pay for in this world, so the P4000 comes in at a higher price point than the MSA device. 

It’s good to see some standardisation of the technology HP have acquired over recent years.  Key to this though, is the ability to offer consistent management and where possible keep terminology consistent too.  For those customers purchasing one or two similar devices from the range, then consistent management may not be an issue, however if you’re looking to deploy multiple tiers of storage across your organisation, even the ability to report consistently across all devices is a must.

I look forward to getting a chance to see this technology close-up and to provide more in-depth reviews if possible.

** Note this post has been amended after it was highlighted that the P2000 does in fact offer redundancy and RAID protection as standard.  Thanks to HP and others who pointed this out **

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
  • http://www.chriscowley.me.uk Chris Cowley

    The MSA is a re-branded Dot Hill 3xxx Titanium. I have one I am testing right now, and it seems excellent.

    Unfortuately my account manager will probably not appreciate me discussing prices, but it a lot less than HP.

    What I especially like is that the CLI can be used non-interactively very easily, so it is proving very simple to integrate with Icinga.

    Also, the performance is excellent – I have seen the 24 bay SFF chassis hit 18Gb/s. Sadly I will not get tht sort of performance until we upgrade our SAN :(

    nb I am not affiliated with Dot Hill in any way, I am just a prospective buyer who is so far very impressed!

  • John

    From what I’ve heard the HP LH network raid 5 is a fixed 3+1 stripe, at least initially, so requires 4 nodes minimum. Network raid 6 is 4+2 requiring 6 nodes minimum at this point. Obviously both provide much higher capacity utilisation than simple node mirroring. Plus MS VSS application aware snap integration out the box, at no additional cost.


  • http://www.brookend.com Chris Evans


    I clearly wasn’t listening on the call last week, thanks for the correction.


  • Warren Reid

    Hi Chris,

    Your review reads as though the new MSA P2000 does not include features such as component redundancy, RAID, automated drive sparing, multi-pathing etc. which it does?


  • http://www.brookend.com Chris Evans


    Thanks for pointing out the mistake – duly corrected.


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  • Mohammed

    will, i’m comparing now the P2000 SFF G3 with the P4300 G2, P4300 G2 it seems more expensive than P2000, but i’m looking for your recommendations? which product do you recommend if you have the following application must be running and available:
    1- SQL2005
    2- Exchange 2007
    3- DC and AD
    4- CITRIX
    5- ERP (MS Dynamics)
    6- IIS (web server) ?
    please help me?

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