HP MSA 2000/Dell MD3000i Storage Questions


I'm looking at the HP Storageworks 2000 series units and was wondering if anyone who has used these could answer a few questions:

1. The HP MSA 2000sa is a SAS direct attached unit, what does this mean exactly? It sounds like you attach your servers to this unit with a SAS cable and provide storage to the servers through a direct connect 3Gbps link, is that correct?

2. Can you still do iSCSI with the sa unit or do you have to use the HP MSA 2000i unit for iSCSI?

3.  In situations where I might want to direct attach a server AND do iSCSI what is recommended?

4. The Dell MD3000i SAN comes with a remote technician that helps with initial config, does anyone know if HP is doing this with their MSA 2000's ?

5. Anyone who has had experience with both the Dell MD3000i and the HP MSA2000i units - can you please provide sopme feedback on which you prefer and why?

These questions stem from me thinking about implementing two ESX servers as well as having one physical SQL server attached to shared storage.

thanks all,
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1. MSA2000sa is SAS attached storage directly up to 4 servers (single path) or max. 2 servers with multipath with failover support (if you use MSA dual controller configuration), It's connected direct to HBA in server via SAS cable  (for example HBA HP SC08Ge). Maximum teoretical speed of actual SAS devices is 3Gb, SATA 1,5Gb

2&3. if you have to use HW iSCSI target as MSA, you have to use MSA2000i not MSA2000sa, but you can configure server with attached disks from MSA2000sa as iSCSI target (software iSCSI target, native supported for example in Linux)

4. I think that HP provide remote support too. Also is available onsite installation service as Carepack
5. I have experince primarily with MSA2000fc, MSA2312fc, MSA2012sa from HP.

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MSA2000 is now at generation 2 and the MSA2000sa G2 (MSA2312sa or MSA2324sa depending on whether you want LFF or SFF disks) has 4 host ports per controller so you can have up to 4 servers (or 2 blade enclosures) connected in a multipath configuration. The SFF disks are the same as the dual-ported SFF SAS disks you get for Proliant servers; LFF are not compatible with any server disk bays. There are 4 3Gb lanes per host port so bandwidth is actually 12Gb.

Being modular you can replace the sas controllers with fc or iSCSI ones but you can't have one of each.

I prefer the MSA but that's partly because we're an HP house, HP staple the bottom of the boxes the LFF disks come in which is a pain when it comes to folding down the cardboard. The MD3000 is made by LSI I think, the MSA is made by Dot Hill.
SchnizzleAuthor Commented:
Hmm interesting.....so you could for example have a HP c3000 (shorty) blad enclosure hooked up to the MSA2000sa G2 and provide the blades with some excellent storage throughput, more so than if you went iSCSI - am I correct? what would be the benefit of going with iSCSI MSA over this setup?

If you go blades there's really no benefit of using iSCSI. You put SAS switches in bays 3 and 4 of Shorty if you want redundant paths to the storage, each blade gets a dual channel P700m SAS HBA that connects to the switches (only 2 lanes to each but that's still 6Gb per path) and maybe use a an extra LAN switch and dual channel mezzanine NIC if you want LAN redundancy.

It's a bit more expensive though because the P700m/256 costs more than the NC326m that you would use if you were using iSCSI and the blade SAS switches cost more than LAN switches but at least you can plug a tape library into the SAS switch.

I haven't had one to play with yet but I bet it's much easier to setup boot from SAN than it is with fc or iSCSI.
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