The HPE MSA is a block storage system aimed at the entry market with multiple protocol connectivity. The HPE MSA family has several models, including the 1050 and the 2050 or 2052, with the older 2040 model still available. The system can be configured with Fibre Channel, SAS, and iSCSI connectivity with dual controllers and a single controller option on the entry 1040 model. HPE’s MSA is an entry-level system that supports many advanced features such as VMware integration, remote replication and support for all SSD configurations often found only in higher end systems.
The entry level model of the MSA family is the MSA 1050, which supports fewer host ports per controller, less cache, less capacity, a slower processor and fewer supported features. The MSA 2052 is physically identical to the 2050 model, but includes SSD drives, support for 512 snapshots, remote replication and a license for performance tiering.
HPE sells the MSA systems packaged with servers as a part of many solution offerings. There are a number of configuration and capacity scaling options and a wide range of disk drives supported. HPE Insight Control may be used to complement the MSA’s web based GUI for management.
The HPE MSA is used in both direct attach and SAN environments for scale-out storage designs, remote enterprise locations or for small and mid-size businesses. The storage system is used as part of solution offerings such as Exchange servers and other specific applications.
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The HPE MSA has a long history as an entry-level storage system, primarily sold with Proliant servers. The current 2050 (and 2052) generation has evolved significantly with many advanced features and very high performance for a system targeted at a low-price entry system. The addition of more ports, faster FC connectivity, faster controllers with larger cache along with support for SSDs all help maintain the MSA 2052s strong heritage for performance, reliability and ease of use in the entry level marketplace.
With continuing the 1050 at nearly the same entry price with fewer features, less performance and less capacity leads to some confusion for customers. There is also some overlap with the HPE Nimble systems. The MSA is sold as an independent storage system but is more often seen packaged with a server sale.
Despite overlaps and the fact that the MSA is a different architecture with different embedded software from other HPE systems, Evaluator Group believes the MSA will continue to be enhanced and offered as the lowest cost HPE storage system.