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Flash in a flash - HDS

We ask Saravanan Krishnan, Senior Director, Storage Platforms & Solutions Business, APAC, Hitachi Data Systems, on his view of the company's Flash value proposition.
 
Data&StorageAsean: All Flash or Hybrid?
Saravanan Krishnan: Both can have a place in a data center but we believe that a hybrid array, with tiering software, provides more versatility and better overall economy.  As data ages and is infrequently accessed, it may not be appropriate to store it on flash.  The ability to automatically move older data to either a lower cost tier within the array or to an archival system will provide an optimized cost structure.  
 
However, there are use cases where tiering is not really necessary and an all flash array works very well here.  An example of this might be a video surveillance facial recognition system where the data, all of the data, needs to be queried for matches at the fastest possible rate.
 
Data&StorageAsean: What’s truly unique about our Flash offering?
Saravanan Krishnan: Hitachi engineers designed our own flash devices which carry more than 60 patents.  The key innovation here is the micro controller on board our flash modules.  This quad-core ASIC enables hardware offloading of flash storage functions which allows the I/O path to optimize bit transports.  These functions include wear leveling, block and page remapping, compaction of 0 or 1 write streams, garbage collection and more.  Our storage systems also have a flash optimized operating system which recognizes I/Os to flash devices and gives them higher thread counts and faster internal movements.  In fact, the flash optimized software can double the performance of a system.  
 
The proof of our capabilities came in the recent world record results we achieved in a Storage Performance Council benchmark test (SPC-1).  Our VSP G1000 was the first storage system to reach more than 2,000,000 IOPS.  Even at this massive IOPS load, the average system response time to an I/O request stayed under 1 millisecond.  
 
Data&StorageAsean: Are IOPS everything? What else should people consider when selecting our Flash Storage?
Saravanan Krishnan: Well, response times are also very important.  This is particularly relevant at high IOPS loads.  If the storage system isn’t capable of maintaining fast response times at peak periods, then the application users won’t see the speed of flash.
 
Besides performance and automatic tiering, we also believe that robust data protection is also critical.  Applications that require the highest performance usually need maximum uptime.  So the fault tolerance of a system needs to be evaluated as does its ability to failover in the event of a localized outage.
 
Another point to consider is scalability.  How well does a flash system perform as more capacity and more IOPs are added?  If the ceilings are low, then more and more point solutions will need to be deployed which leads to higher costs and more administration burdens.
 
Data&StorageAsean: Is there any customer type that your Flash Offering is not suited to?
Saravanan Krishnan: We specialize in designing systems for the highest scalable, data availability and performance levels.  If the environment requires flash capacity that is fairly small in size, not expected to grow rapidly and can tolerate an outage, then we may not have the optimal solution.
 
Data&StorageAsean: What’s your target market in South Asia?
Saravanan Krishnan: Our flash customers are mainly large and enterprise account who deploy our flash solutions as part of an integrated strategy for delivering IT services within their organizations.  They range across industries from financial services to retail to e-commerce to telecom to transportation and many more.  We shipped nearly 100 petabytes of flash capacity last year so we are clearly a leading player in this market.

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