Why Flash, Why Now? 5 Factors to Consider
For a long time one of the biggest barriers keeping many organizations from embracing flash-based solid-state drive storage (SSD) technology was dollars and cents. Companies couldn’t justify the expense of ditching entrenched, digital storage platforms – such as hard disk drives (HDDs) – in favor of speedier alternative like flash.
But then a few things changed. For one, the cost of flash storage per GB started to drop, which caught the attention of many. Possibly even more important was companies’ computing needs began to evolve. This lead to a call for higher-performance storage solutions and just like that, flash started to look like a much more interesting option.
Time to switch?
So is now the right time for your organization to make the leap from traditional storage over to flash? Here are five key factors to consider:
- Speed is undoubtedly one of the top selling points of flash-based SSD. Next generation all-flash storage arrays can produce consistent, sub-millisecond performance with tens of thousands – sometimes as much as hundreds of thousands – of input/output operations per second (IOPS). In fact, throughput numbers are generally only limited by line rate and host performance. This means employees are also able to spend more time working with mission-critical data and less time waiting for machines to put up, data to transfer etc. Those productivity gains are an often-overlooked, but important, element to factor in when assessing the need for a storage upgrade. Some solutions also offer features like data deduplication and compression.
- Of course, any conversation about storage has to touch on capacity. That’s one area where flash has traditionally lagged behind HDDs in the past. However, recent innovations in the field have minimized the gap between the two platforms. In storage arrays that are equipped with data deduplication and compression, the logical capacity will far outweigh the physical capacity. While flash continues to play catch up, experts have pointed out that flash tech is progressing at a much faster rate than traditional storage, so that may not be true for long. Recent flash releases include innovative features such as giving organizations the ability to scale out not only capacity but performance as well, potentially up to 1.5M IOPS for larger arrays.
- Size matters in terms of storage but it’s not just about capacity. In recent years, data centers have had to expand in order to continue to meet the ever-increasing volume of data companies were being expected to manage. Traditional storage methods can take up significantly more room than their flash-based counterpart, leaving companies scrambling to find the floor space to house those units. Case in point, there are flash platforms which provide similar capacity and cost per GB as their HDD counterparts, but take up four times less space. Not having to worry about accommodating additional storage arrays allows companies to focus on growth where it really matters.
- Most companies are feeling the pressure to go green and flash storage can play a role in that effort. Often that pressure comes from environmentally-conscious customers, but there are internal concerns to consider, as well. For example, even though corporate budgets may not be as tight as they once were, that doesn’t mean companies are looking to throw money away on inflated utilities costs. Flash storage can use 1/16th of the energy needed to operate HDDs. Flash draws less voltage and because it generates less heat, it also require less cooling. All that can add up to a nice chunk of savings each month.
- Ease of use is another element which tips the scales in favor of a flash array. Most flash arrays require very little administration overhead and they tend to be more straightforward when it comes to configuring them. In fact, newer arrays often have a data protection scheme already pre-configured on them right out of the box. That saves on time spent considering what RAID protection to use for application profiles. Also, since most data services are always on, flash arrays contain fewer knobs and dials, so there’s less of a learning curve for IT pros when they first make the transition.
Weighing how much value your company places on those elements is the first step towards determining which storage option is the right fit for you. Arraya Solutions can help audit your storage situation and find the platform that best meets your individual needs.
Not ready to make the full leap to flash? Hybrid options which allow companies to get the best of both worlds are also worth investigating.
To learn more, reach out to your Arraya Solutions sales rep or visit www.ArrayaSolutions.com.