Solid-state flash has arguably been the biggest disruption to hit storage since the original advent of shared storage arrays. Today’s storage is collectively carrying the baggage of decades of specialization to spinning hard drives. Flash storage is a lot more affordable and plug-and-play compatible, making it an excellent solution for companies of any size. In the decade ahead, flash memory will push hard drives out of the latency path of performance intensive applications. In fact, according to Gartner’s June 2015 Magic Quadrant for Solid-State Arrays report, by 2019, the solid state array (SSA) market is expected to grow approximately five times in revenue from the $1.43 billion in 2014. Moreover, by 2020, the percentage of data centers that will use only SSAs for primary data, instead of hybrid arrays, will increase from approximately 0% today to 25%.
By unshackling your applications and data from mechanical disk, you can achieve realtime analytics, richer OLTP, virtualization of performance-intensive applications, greater consolidation or any combination thereof. Here are some of the key reasons to make the switch to flash storage:
- Improved application performance
One of the greatest benefits of all-flash storage is performance. Flash easily delivers 10X the performance of hard disk drives, allowing you to accelerate your applications whether that is processing more data transactions per second or dramatically reducing the time required to run batch processes. This in turn leads to increased performance and a competitive advantage for the business. For example, all-flash storage is:
- Helping hospitals improve healthcare services, enabling doctors to focus on patient care;
- Making manufacturers more productive, enabling advanced yield analytics and real-time supplier integration;
- Driving disruption of traditional education, offering more immersive and responsive online learning experiences to students;
- Helping e-commerce companies improve conversion rates and reduce abandoned shopping carts;
- Enabling financial services providers to build complex analytical models in minutes instead of days or hours;
- More Affordable
One of the biggest roadblocks to widespread adoption of flash was the cost – traditionally, the price of flash was about $30-100/GB as opposed to the $5/GB for disk based storage. As a result, it was only the large companies that could afford flash. However, thanks to the use of consumer grade MLC flash in combination with advanced software to process enterprise workloads, today, flash storage costs about the same if not less than traditional disk storage, making it a viable option for SME’s too.
- Responsiveness for a digital economy
The real advantage of flash storage is consistent sub-millisecond latency, making every
application more responsive. So although most IT environments and applications will benefit from an all-flash storage array, it will be those that require high performance and low latency that will see the biggest improvement in their operations. Virtualised servers and virtual desktop environments require high performance despite very randomised workloads, which an all-flash environment is the perfect solution for. Reduced latency has been cited by Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Walmart as the key to prolonging customer engagement, increasing sales, and raising user satisfaction in today’s digital economy.
- Operational simplicity
Flash can greatly simplify application administration and storage operations by significantly reducing, and in many cases eliminating, configuration tuning and tweaking. Adopters of flash reclaim hours of staff time that can be reinvested and applied to strategic initiatives that advance the business.
- Accelerate next-gen initiatives
CIOs seek to gain a competitive advantage with initiatives that often include security, mobile, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things. Flash provides the foundation that ensures next-gen initiatives will run as well in production as they do during the pilot and testing phases.
- Data center efficiency
Flash consumes a fraction of the power and rack space compared to disk storage. By adopting flash, data centers achieve resource efficiencies that allow them to host more IT services and store more data well into the future. Moreover, today’s storage arrays are a 5-year investment including commissioning, use and migration at end of life. Moore’s Law is driving exponential increases in workloads so the storage being deployed today needs to be able to sustain workloads from servers and applications in 2020. Existing disk-based technology will not be able to meet that future requirement for capacity, power consumption or performance. Flash is the only existing technology that can do this.
All-flash storage is a next generation infrastructure technology that can provide a competitive advantage for your entire company – it has the potential to unlock a new level of employee productivity and accelerate your business by reducing the amount of time spent waiting for databases and applications. The performance and efficiency of flash storage makes it ideal for simplifying today’s IT challenges and provides the highest level of assurance with IT modernization initiatives – including cloud, mobile, big data analytics or the Internet of Things.
Rupert Brazier, Country Manager – RSA at Pure Storage.