From All-Flash to Flash-for-All

|May 31, 2016 0
Has Flash hit the sweet spot finally? Is the spinning disk technology getting less attractive as Flash touches some ideal price and performance thresholds?

Subu Ramakrishan

Smartphone Revolution has changed the perception about cell phones, as they are being used by literally everyone. A decade ago, cell phones were not affordable, being around US $2000 and above, excluding air-time. Most of the users were big companies and well-heeled individuals, but the situation is not the same anymore.

Paradoxically, it has to do less with the capability of the Smartphone, and more to do with the cost factor. It wasn’t until handsets hit that all important price/performance ‘Sweet Spot’, when they started to have mass appeal.

A sweeter spot for Flash

The same situation is being noticed to happen in the world of Data Storage. Flash technology is hitting its ideal price and performance threshold, similar to the traditional spinning disk storage technology, which is now starting to look less attractive. Though spinning disks have come a long way in terms of performance, allied technologies such as de-duplication and compressions have pushed back the frontiers even further. However, it is clear that the sheer overhead of keeping data on spinning drives is starting to add up and the response times are getting better.

Flash was considered as an expensive solution to storage challenges, but is now entering its own ‘Sweet Spot’, as costs are reducing. Today, companies are increasingly moving to flash-based technologies to create faster, more responsive IT environments. Flash as a technology has matured and has become affordable, companies are able to economize their IT budget.

Perfect Timing

The time is ideal for the Flash Technology market, as organizations are constantly looking for innovative ways to design their storage solutions, where the role of Flash is becoming pertinent. Gone are the days when the question was about ‘All-Flash’ model, today organizations are accepting the fact that ‘Flash for all’ is utmost for all applications.

All applications, high-performance computing and online transactions demand a combination of finest performance with low latency, that hard disks drives or hybrid storage are not equipped to deliver. Flash allows to leverage the full potential of data reduction services through compression and de-duplication, delivering tremendous scalability, while lowering costs simultaneously.

Flash is no flash in the pan

IT Landscape of 2016 claims that Flash has made its presence. It is no longer a distinct technology that companies implement on a case-by-case basis. As a technology, Flash is the first choice, for the organizations, for a host of applications, as the price barrier is lowered.

With a full portfolio of optimized flash solutions bound together by a software-defined approach to storage infrastructure, customers now have the ability to optimise solutions for a particular set of use cases while getting the power and efficiencies of common management, workflows and policies across their infrastructure

In the current scenario where the market is fast-paced, disruption or loss of competitive advantage has become unpleasant for any organization. Thankfully, the latest generation of ‘Sweet’ Flash solutions is here to make the situation right.

An exception that proves the rule

Companies take initiatives to architect and program own flash modules, as it helps to meet customer demands for high performance solutions to deliver predictable sub-millisecond response time, while being cost effective.

Customers have become flexible to advanced features and selectable data services like inline data deduplication and compression, quality of service, thin provisioning, snapshots, replication and data encryption. They are open to turn on and turn off features including inline data deduplication, compression and set QoS based on application requirements to achieve optimal performance and space efficiency.

Flash-driven developments enable customers to realize an average of 5:1 more effective capacity and optimize data reduction rates with performance through optional de-duplication tuning. This can help save space by allocating capacity on demand with thin provisioning technology.

(Subu Ramakrishan is Business Director – Platforms & Software, Solutions & Products Group at Hitachi Data Systems. Views expressed here are of the author and CyberMedia does not necessarily endorse them)

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