The Evolution of Enterprise Flash

In a recent article, Forbes declared Flash memory as 2011’s Technology of the Year. Indeed, Flash is a hot topic these days in both consumer and enterprise markets. Flash is one of the most impactful enabling technologies we’ve seen in years. It is truly changing the performance capabilities and economics of storage, which is leading to alternative uses cases and new deployment models for Flash in the enterprise.

EMC pioneered enterprise Flash in 2008 when EMC Symmetrix emerged as the first and only enterprise storage system with integrated Flash drives. This ground-breaking innovation defined a new tier of storage and started EMC on a path of Flash leadership in the enterprise.

In 2009, EMC introduced Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools (FAST VP) for EMC Symmetrix—the industry’s smartest, most efficient, fastest, easiest and most affordable automated tiering solution in the market. This technology revolutionized the way storage is managed, ensuring that the right information is in the right place at the right time and cost. FAST VP changed the economics of both Flash technology and enterprise storage.

EMC enhanced its FAST software suite in 2010 with the introduction of EMC FAST Cache for EMC CLARiiON storage arrays (and subsequently for EMC VNX systems in 2011). This innovative technology acts as an I/O turbo-boost for customers’ busiest workloads by allowing Flash drives to be used as an extension of cache capacity, resulting in a significant increase in performance for all read and write workloads. FAST VP and FAST Cache together are a powerful combination—unmatched in the industry—that provides optimal performance at the lowest possible cost.

hand-lightningAnd now, with the introduction of the server Flash caching technology EMC VFCache earlier this week, EMC has extended its leadership in enterprise Flash yet again by being the first to introduce software IP with PCIe Flash technology to meet high performance needs with intelligence and protection. VFCache dramatically accelerates read operations by reducing latency and increasing throughput. As an extension of the FAST architecture, VFCache facilitates an end-to-end data tiering strategy to optimize application capacity and performance from the storage to the server. This latest addition to EMC’s Flash portfolio now provides EMC with the most comprehensive set of enterprise Flash solutions of anyone in the industry.

Without question, Flash technology is the future of the data center. And with our proven track record, EMC understands Flash technology in the enterprise better than anyone. As EMC has done in the past, we will continue to evolve with our customers to ensure integration of Flash in the most cost-effective manner—when and where appropriate.

In 2008, Joe Tucci said, “The one thing that will change the storage industry more than anything else over the next 10 years is the advent of Flash technology.” It has been a thrill to see this change in action over the past four years, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

About the Author: Mark Sorenson