Kathy Gibson reports – Reliable storage solutions are critical for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

MSA storage from HP Enterprise (HPE) lets business partners offer them a cost-effective and reliable solution that can scale as needed.

This is the word from Jonathan Tooke, business development manager: data and storage solutions for UK, Ireland, Middle East and South Africa at HPE, speaking at an HPE/Pinnacle webinar on entry-level storage

He explains that HPE’s MSA is a mature product that offers affordable entry-level storage that is the starting point for customers looking for entry-level SAN.

In fact, the MSA line-up can cater to enterprise customers as well in certain use cases. And it scales up into other HPE products when needed.

“We have sold over 100 000 of these units worldwide, particularly in the SME market space,” Tooke says. “So we are seeing momentum here, which we want to continue driving with Pinnacle.”

In September 2020, HPE launched its sixth generation of MSA into the market, which Tooke describes as a natural progression of the product line, with consistent  messaging around simplicity, affordability and flexibility.

“Gen 6 gave HPE the opportunity to add the new features and functionality that customers want going forward. It is a new architecture for the new decade.”

MSA Gen 6 delivers better performance, availability and support, and manageability, he says.

In terns of performance, Tooke points out that the new line-up is built for speed, boasting improved system performance as much as 50% higher than MSA Gen 5. In addition, HPE MSA Tiering v2.0 allows for automated performance tiering.

When it comes to availability and support, MSA Gen 6 has next-generation protection, offering a  significant improvement to traditional RAID technology including up to 25-times faster rebuild performance. And the MSA Health Check tool is a powerful utility to that maximises customers’ MSA array availability.

Manageability is improved with Storage Management Utility v4, step-by-step guided workflows, and a simplified dashboard that offers at-a-glance storage management.

For business partners, MSA offers them a golden opportunity to address the SME market with a compelling storage offering.

“The biggest opportunity for MSA is the SME market – in fact, it’s our bread-and-butter,” says Tooke, who goes on to explain why it is so popular.

“The MSA solution delivers proven simplicity, amazing performance, affordable flash acceleration with tiering 2.0, and seamless cloud-based data protection.”

Not only is MSA affordable, easy to deploy and manage for SMEs, it can also be used for distributed storage at branch sites.

Tooke believes HPE’s MSA offering is well positioned in terms of the competitive landscape.

When comparing with competitive products, Tooke advises that resellers question what is included in the price – “because with MSA, there are no catches like support after the fact”.

MSA is committed to the entry-level storage market, he adds, which is not always the case with competitors. “You need to ask other vendors about the product lifecycle.”

Plus HPE has a roadmap of value-add features, with MSA on the path to HPE Infosight. “When it comes down to it, many customers just want a reliable SAN,” Tooke points out. “And most of the players in the market can offer that. But HPE goes above and beyond, bringing mid-market features into the SME space. Performance aside – which goes without saying – we are able to offer value-added services like support and manageability.”

It’s this high level of value-add that means partners can be comfortable offering the HPE MSA solution, he says. And, because customers will appreciate the performance, reliability and simplified manageability, partners are well-positioned when it’s time to scale up.

In conclusion, Tooke says that, with HPE MSA, customers can avoid unplanned downtime, enjoy an advanced signature detection engine, use services hosted in the cloud, generate automated reports, get next-step guidance and experience greatly improved customer support – all without the need for a support contract.

Plus, HPE offers enablement in the form of sales and technical resources. And soon Pinnacle will be able to offer HPE partners the FlexOffers programme that will let them give customers tailored configurations at competitive prices shipped directly from distribution inventory. “So you can make a bundle specific to the customer at the right price point,” Tooke says. “This will be a real game-changer.”

With trade-in and HPE financial services available, HPE storage solutions are more affordable than ever before, he adds.

And customers can try before they buy, with either a physical proof of concept, or a virtual one that partners can organise with HPE.

Neo Mabotja, storage business development manager: South Africa at HPE, expands on the trade-in programme, explaining that customers can trade in old infrastructure against new HPE storage solutions, realizing monetary returns while gaining new storage.

This is a great opportunity to refresh old and aging infrastructure, applicable to entry level and primary storage.”

Mabotja points out that customers can get as much as $20 000 cash back, depending on the actual terabytes they are trading in on their old infrastructure and the new terabytes they are acquiring.

Good news for partners is that the closing date for this offer has been extended from 30 April to 30 October 2021.

Mabotja also outlined the HPE Engage and Grow storage incentive, under which users are eligible to earn 1% of net value of Nimble and Primera products.

Pinnacle distributes the full stack of HPE storage solutions in South Africa.

Jeremy Lichtenstein, solutions architect at Pinnacle, invites business partners to contact him to find out more, sign up, or to register for any of the incentive programmes.

Pinnacle also also assist resellers with a free infrastructure assessment of their customer’s environment to help them make an informed decision on their next hardware refresh.