Businesses today need IT to deliver everything better and quicker, to continue to drive down costs. All Flash Storage arrays are one such technology that certainly meet the needs of “better and quicker” but on the surface it is not always easy to see if flash drives down costs. It is very important to see how decisions about flash storage versus traditional disk storage affect the business. With regards to making this assurance, how can the company make sure they're getting the most out of every penny spent?
Enterprises are incorporating and implementing new applications to driving new business requirements on an increasingly regular basis. These applications are built around social media, mobile computing, big data and analytics as well as cloud environments, all of these tend to be hosted on a virtual infrastructure.
These new apps show altogether different IO profiles from client server environments and subsequently requires new innovations and design. Today’s storage infrastructure must support hundreds of thousands of IOPS at sub millisecond latencies. The hard disk drives (HDD) based storage of the earlier days was supporting, most of the time, not as much as a tenth of that. Because of these new performance necessities, the utilization of flash storage media has become a key requirement for big business’s IT frameworks. All flash arrays (AFA) give an excellent approach to incorporate flash into either existing or new environments. These flash frameworks drastically improve storage performance.
The early adopters of AFA’s were getting them for a particular application or environment, like a high performance databases or applications that require increased capability. Once AFA users started to see the performance and return on investment improvement that these systems delivered, they started to realise the benefits of placing more and varied workloads on them. This requirement is driving vendors to respond.
Where making the decision to go for all flash storage, businesses are now starting to understand that they need to look at the total life cycle and make decisions based on the economies that AFA’s can deliver to the business. Areas that now need to be considered which deliver business economies include.
1. The ability to support hundreds of thousands of IOPS at consistent sub-millisecond latencies – this also equates to a lower cost per IOPS which is sometimes a more important economy than cost per GB.
2. Features that provide enterprise-class availability and reliability over at least a five-year life cycle. Go for vendors who have demonstrated reliability within their installed base and support non-disruptive maintenance operations.
3. The intelligent use of storage efficiency technologies that support a low and effective cost per GB, features like compression and deduplication, thin provisioning, replication based on delta differentials, and space-efficient snapshots and clones
4. The data services necessary to manage multi-tenant environments, including snapshots, clones, replication and encryption, along with the ability to easily integrate into pre-existing datacenter workflows.
5. Consider power and space savings and work out how much any given AFA will save you in associated costs over its lifetime
As more flash capacity is deployed, enterprises will start to see huge total cost of ownerships savings over time based on the need for far fewer disk devices, lower energy and floor space consumption, need for fewer servers and much lower software licensing costs due to needing fewer servers.
NetApp are an example of a company that offers a portfolio of AFA offerings each with features that deliver different economies and return on investment. You can find out more about their ranges here.