Why you need to plan for all-flash storage tomorrow
Hard disks have had a fantastic run by any measure, happily spinning in datacentres across the globe. However, it is likely nearing its conclusion, at least for most primary data storage use cases. There is no denying that flash media is on its way to becoming the dominant technology in primary storage, especially with the performance and bottom line benefits it offers.
According to the IDC EMEA Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker for the third quarter of 2016, the value of the external storage market in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa fell to $418.8 million. On the other hand, flash storage systems have registered an impressive double-digit growth in this quarter, accounting for over 60% of the total market share.
IDC also claims that accelerated growth in cloud adoption and performance-hungry workloads are driving businesses towards flash storage technologies. There is strong evidence behind IDC’s claim. As this pace of change continues to gain momentum, it is time to dispel any residual myths and misunderstandings revolving around flash once and for all.
Myth #1, Flash is not relevant to business
The modern enterprise needs to work quickly with near real-time data, making flash a realistic choice to achieve the required levels of performance.
Many information intensive organisations are already making extensive use of flash to extract the maximum performance from their IT investments. Flash enables the kind of data agility that is central to the operations of these businesses. Furthermore, flash also has a positive impact on the bottom line.
Put simply, the move to flash is just too logical and attractive. We are entering an era where storage will be software-defined, flash focused, automated and simpler to manage. This will unlock a world of opportunity for businesses, and turn IT from an operational necessity into a strategic function.
Myth #2, Flash is expensive
Businesses can achieve a significantly lower total cost of ownership with flash, once data reduction, compression and de-duplication, reduced maintenance, simplified administration, power and cooling are taken into consideration.
Enterprise Strategy Group compared the total cost of ownership of traditional hybrid storage arrays, dedicated flash and disk-based systems, with a mixed workload storage consolidation on all-flash array for a mid-sized software development company.
The study found that consolidating traditional storage deployments dedicated for production, development, test and virtual desktop infrastructure operations on all-flash array resulted in 3.8 times reduction in total cost of ownership over a period of five years. This delivered an average annual storage total cost of ownership savings of $561,000.
There is more to the enterprise use of all-flash storage arrays than just total cost of ownership and operational expense. Working on the financial aspect simply removes a reason to not consider the change.
Myth #3, Flash wears out quickly
Flash has no moving parts. Physical wear and tear is a key cause of failure in traditional disk. In stress tests, the failure rates of flash disks are much lower.
The wear and tear on flash media is often due to the development of hotspots, the physical locations on the drive where data is repeatedly written. Today, flash drives are constantly monitored and proactive steps are taken to prevent the development of hotspots.
With these workload management improvements, reduced mechanical failure rates, and improved durability, flash drives actually have superior physical life that spans over the mechanical hard disk drives they are displacing.
So, flash has a clear path to own the future of data storage. Earlier, businesses questioned why flash? Today as they face the digital future in 2017 and beyond, the more relevant and urgent question has become, Why not flash?
There are no longer any financial or practical reasons for businesses to shy away from the technology, and the performance benefits flash offers are now more relevant than ever.
- Hard disks have had a fantastic run by any measure spinning happily in datacentres across the globe
- Flash enables the kind of data agility that is central to operations of these businesses
- Businesses can achieve significantly lower total cost of ownership with flash
- Consolidating traditional storage deployments on all-flash array resulted in 3.8 times reduction in total cost of ownership over five years
- In stress tests the failure rates of flash disks are much lower
- We are entering an era where storage will be software-defined, flash focused, simpler to manage
- Modern enterprise needs to work quickly with real-time data making flash a realistic choice to achieve required levels of performance
Dan Cobb at Dell EMC explains why flash technologies may be the road map forward into tomorrow’s storage devices. This blog may have been edited for style and conciseness.