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Demartek Evaluation - HPE MSA 2040 in a Mixed Workload Environment

February 2016

Enterprise computing hardware can be expensive. Mitigating this cost has been a large part of the trend to increasingly virtualized computing environments. Hardware vendors recognize this and understand that customers often want to have the ability to run multiple applications on a single piece of hardware, such as a storage array, rather than buying multiple devices, each dedicated to a single purpose. Hard disk drive (HDD) only arrays can have trouble supporting diverse workloads with differing I/O patterns without requiring a lot of drive spindles. This often results in short-stroking (data written only to the outer sectors of the disk’s platters), significantly over-provisioning the number of drives, wasting a good deal of the drive space to keep IOPS and bandwidth up, whereas a single solid state drive can deliver the IOPS and bandwidth of an entire shelf or more of HDDs.

HPE’s MSA 2040 array is a flexible hybrid array ideal for small and medium businesses seeking to cut costs through application consolidation. Understanding that these businesses demand the same return on investment as large enterprises, HPE offers upgrade options to the MSA 2040 by allowing customers to convert an all HDD array into a hybrid array by replacing some of the HDDs with solid state drives (SSD) to accelerate performance without adding expansion shelves. With the addition of a customer-defined number of SSDs, the array can be configured to accelerate read performance with an SSD read cache, or read and write performance with HPE’s Performance Tier performance tiering solution.

HPE commissioned Demartek to evaluate the suitability of the MSA 2040 to support a mixed application workload in a VMware vSphere environment, configured in a 16Gb Fibre Channel (16GFC) environment. Running common applications like Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL Server, SharePoint, a web server and an SMB fileserver simultaneously we compared the performance of an array with all HDD storage to that with an SSD read cache and an SSD Performance Tier configuration.


Evaluation Series: HPE MSA 2040 Flash Upgrades

Recently Demartek evaluated the HPE MSA 2040 with Flash Upgrades for different types of workloads. The workloads tested and their results are available at these links:


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