The Best of Flash in the Hybrid Cloud by Weera Areeratanasak, Managing Director, NetApp Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand
Data is an immensely, untapped asset. Like oil in the 18th Century, there are more data created than people know what to do with. This vast information not only improves your business operations, but it can also enhance the services that you provide to your clients. But to do so, it is important to derive the value and insights from these data.
In the age of cloud, it’s no longer viable to look at a purely on-premise approach to data – it needs to be agile, fast, secure, scalable, high-performing and low cost. Of course, a one-size-fit-all solution doesn’t exist here, however, you can have the best of both worlds by using a hybrid cloud approach.
In fact, an IDC survey published in 2015 showed that virtual-first is a preferred strategy for new server deployments at a lot of enterprises. The survey also showed that 82% of companies have more than 50% storage attached to virtual machines1.
Choosing the Right Infrastructure for Cloud
However, choosing an appropriate infrastructure for your cloud is never easy. Currently, there are so many options available in the market and it is a decision challenge on whether to prioritise security, money, speed or efficiency. While indeed there are many factors to consider, few have the all-rounded capability that all-flash arrays have.
Traditional spinning disks or hard disk drives (HDD), require a lot of tuning for performance optimization, and have a high latency. They also generate noise and wear out overtime due to the moving parts involved. Overall, it is hard to manage, requires high energy consumption, as well as takes up significant amount of floor space.
To put it simply, HDDs are no longer optimized to run the kind of workloads that modern business require, especially where visibility, scalability and flexibility are concerned. With just around 75 raw input/output operations per second (IOPS) per drive, HDDs are unable to deliver the fast, efficient and timely retrieval and upload of information as needed by enterprises today.
The benefits of flash storage are clear, especially to cloud computing. Firstly, it is easier to scale according to data growth. The size of flash versus HDDs also means that it will take up less rack space and floor space, thus, reducing the need for cooling or any additional energy consumption. Also, it is becoming more common with flash storage to authorize external control over its system, allowing for better visibility in the management of the storage infrastructures.
The Power of Flash in Cloud Computing
One of the greatest advantages to adopting flash is performance. Compared to HDDs, where performance is limited and not consistent, with flash you can easily get hundreds of thousands, even millions of IOPS at a consistent rate to meet sub millisecond Service Level Agreements (SLAs). And since SSDs have no mechanical parts, they accelerate input/output requests far more quicker than HDDs.
Aside from pure processing speed though, your data also needs to be always available. Compared to HDDs, SSDs have a higher reliability with the ability to survive extreme low and high temperatures, and even sudden drops. At a time where there is much environmental uncertainty around us, it is more important than ever that the systems we choose can endure the risks, allowing applications and systems to continue running for your staff and your customers, no matter where they are.
One of the largest factors hindering the adoption of an all-flash system is the cost of replacing an entire infrastructure that some may have grown dependant on. However, if you work out the math – flash brings not only a more efficient storage, but is also cost-efficient in the long run, and also allows businesses to run virtualised platforms or virtual machines (VMs) almost instantly, providing you with greater agility.
Putting that all together, you can see why flash is the clear choice for a hybrid cloud infrastructure. The point of having a cloud infrastructure in the first place is to leverage the flexibility it allows, optimize and improve your workload capacity, enabling ease of data movement between different infrastructure, to provide data that is always available and ensure that your data can withstand external risk factors that are beyond your organization’s control, such as natural disasters.
What NetApp Can Mean To Your Business
While today’s cloud and managed hosting services are rapidly changing and becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate, NetApp has the proven portfolio to help advance your business, with solutions ranging from production-ready, next-generation storage to object and file backup platforms. Whether you want to monetize your storage offerings or diversify your services, NetApp has an all-inclusive system to accommodate your business needs.
NetApp’s SolidFire All-Flash Array can host business-critical applications that demand high performance, giving your business the competitive advantage to your customers and ensuring predictable performance for every volume of storage. With a comprehensive support system and streamlined operations, your CTO can spend less time scaling your storage to meet growth or fix storage performance-related issues, and focus on deploying new services and deliver more performance.
NetApp’s Data Fabric Vision
This ties in perfectly with NetApp’s Data Fabric vision. NetApp takes the best of flash, and weaves it together with software that is designed to leverage both the public and private cloud. This vision foresees your data moving freely between different types of infrastructure by seamlessly connecting to different data management environments across disparate clouds into a cohesive integrated whole. An example is the unique way in which NetApp Storage can reside in the data center where your public cloud computer is located.
NetApp also allows your IT infrastructure to easily run hyper-scale analytics workloads in AWS, while still protecting your data with our data fabric solutions to help with your backup. Of course, many companies carry sensitive data that you might have reservations of putting on a public cloud platform. That is why hybrid cloud makes sense – you can move on premise data to Microsoft O365 in the cloud.
Flash isn’t just optimised for the modern data center. It’s optimised to integrate with cloud and only when data can move freely between platforms, can we truly realise the potential of your data, and your business.