Hewlett-Packard Co. is updating its shared storage product lineup for the small and mid-sized business (SMB) market with a performance-boosting firmware update and a new way to connect the hardware to a network.
Two of its shared storage arrays, the MSA 1040 and 2040 models, are getting a free firmware upgrade that is available to download from HP’s support sites as of Tuesday. The new firmware is about more than just fixing bugs or ensuring compatibility with newer software – it’s intended to result in a performance boost of up to 45 per cent.
The improvements come in the firmware’s ability to contextually move data to storage that is “hotter” (used more often) or “colder” (used less often) based on the application making use of the data, explains Vish Mulchand, senior director of product management and marketing at HP. For example, a database application that requires data be read often and at a fast rate will use SSD storage as often as possible instead of traditional spinning-disc storage.
“As we get a better understanding of how people use the product and get some data back, we can make some improvements,” he says. ” We have software tools that understand how workloads are affecting the array. Based on those workloads, the array can be optimized.”
HP released the MSA 2040 array to market in December 2013 and followed it up with the MSA 1040 array, a lower-cost option, in June 2014.
“This gives us some new expansion against the competitive space,” Mulchand says. “We’ll see expansion against Dell, IBM, Netapp, and EMC … there may be places where customers are not using shared storage, and this gives them an option.”
In addition to the new firmware update, HP will also be releasing a new version of the 1040 array that is attached to the network via a serial attached SCSCI (SAS) connector.
“That gives you a lower price way to share storage,” Mulchand says. “If you have a small number of hosts, it gives you a lower cost.”
So while the HP MSA 1040 SAS array has a higher sticker price of $7,560 compared to the $6,500 for the same array with an ISCSI connector, SMBs won’t have to buy an additional fibre channel at a cost of thousands more dollars. The direct connection to the network could also lead to performance boosts, Mulchand says.
The MSA 2040 is priced at $11,848 and the firmware upgrade for both arrays is free of charge.