Flash in a flash - Dell

We ask William Tan, head of Enterprise Solutions, Dell Malaysia, on his view of the company's Flash value proposition.
Data&StorageAsean: All Flash or Hybrid?
William Tan: Choosing All-Flash or Hybrid arrays is dependent on the technology being employed. Typical All-Flash arrays use 100% SLC (Single-Level Cell) based SSD drives to deliver IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) for both Reads and Writes. The limitation to All-Flash arrays, however, is that the cost of SLC SSD (Solid State Drives) is high, especially when high capacity LUNs (Logical Unit Numbers) are required.
 Dell’s approach to All-Flash is unique within the industry: using SLC drives for Writes and MLC (Multi-Level Cell) drives for Reads. The cost of MLC drives are also significantly lower than SLC drives, as Dell’s All-Flash solutions have the capability to “move” data between SSD drive types, using its industry leading Fluid data tiering technology.
 Dell further enhances this data tiering technology in its hybrid arrays, as incoming writes to Flash first. When the data is no longer “hot”, it is then tiered down to low cost SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) disk or even NL-SAS (Near Line SAS) disk, where price per GB is the lowest in the industry.
Data&StorageAsean: What’s truly unique about our Flash offering?
William Tan: As mentioned in the first question, the unique factor about our flash offering is the ability to tier data between Reads and Writes. This capability is even available with the Dell Storage SC4020 Entry-Level All-Flash configuration, which provides an economical solution to an All-Flash storage array.
Data&StorageAsean: Are IOPS everything? What else should people consider when selecting our Flash Storage?
William Tan: IOPS is a contributing factor in choosing your Flash storage, however, customers should consider the following when selecting Flash Storage:

  • The lower price per GB that can be achieved, without sacrificing IOPS required
  • The ideal workloads/applications for this Flash storage (i.e. read performance)
  • Total Cost of Ownership, which includes how much would it cost to add capacity down the road

Data&StorageAsean: Is there any customer type that your Flash Offering is not suited to?
William Tan: No. Considerations, however, should be given to qualify a customer’s IOPS and capacity requirements. This is where a correct sizing exercise is recommended. In many cases, the high IOPS that Flash provides is not needed. In this case, SAS or NL SAS disk will give a lower price per GB.
Data&StorageAsean: What’s your target market in South Asia?
William Tan: It has been Dell’s strategy for the past several years to bring high-end enterprise storage capabilities to companies of all sizes and this also applies to our Flash offerings. This is yet another example of Dell making world class technology more accessible to customers who have tight budgets and who don’t want to sacrifice on quality and performance.

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