Why There’s More to Flash than Speed and Performance

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Flash storage is rapidly becoming a mainstream technology. So much so that Gartner analysts predict one in four data centers will move all of their primary data over to flash within the next five years. No spinning disks.

When we think of flash our minds jump quickly to speed and performance. These have been considered the primary benefits of replacing disk-based storage with flash ever since it first hit the market. It’s essential for customer-facing and time-sensitive applications that simply have to be always available and super responsive.

But it’s time to shift the conversation beyond performance because flash has so much more to offer. This includes a range of built-in data services like deduplication, encryption, replication and thin provisioning. Beyond the growing appetite for raw speed, it’s these services that will change the cost equation and deliver the agile data center your business needs to meet rapidly evolving customer expectations.

Rethinking Storage Costs
The cost of flash storage is falling when compared to the same volume of spinning disk. That’s because all-flash arrays can store six-times more data than traditional storage systems, which IDC analysts estimate will reduce your costs by up to 80 per cent over three years. Smart technologies like compression and deduplication mean you can store data more effectively and efficiently than ever before. Your cost per gigabyte drops dramatically as a result because you can store so much data on the same device.

The improved efficiency delivered by these data services also has a positive impact on workload density. Deploying all-flash arrays greatly reduces your storage footprint, which means you’re able to store much larger volumes of data in the same amount of space. This reduces operational costs while delivering corporate social responsibility benefits. No spinning disks generating heat means they don’t need fans to cool them, which translates into reduced power usage, reduced power bills and greater environmental responsibility.

Delivering Greater Agility
Start-ups like Airbnb and Uber, which have been built on next-generation mobile applications, are forcing large enterprises to rethink the customer experience. To be successful in this world, your business needs to get its innovations to market more rapidly than ever before. Once these new applications are launched, they must be iterated quickly and efficiently in response to ongoing customer demand for new features. In traditional enterprise environments, making these changes could take weeks or months. Flash has ripped up the rule book.

Let’s say you have a large, customer-facing application you want to make changes to. Using flash you can run off 20 copies of it without taking up any additional capacity. Developers can work on those in parallel without impacting performance. The new version of this application gets into the hands of your business users and customers much more quickly. A large enterprise that took a month to do testing when updating its website can now complete the same task within hours because of improved access to performance and capacity.

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About the Author: Shane Moore