Flash in a flash - NetApp

We ask Krishna Arani, Vice President & Managing Director for ASEAN & Korea Region at NetApp on his view of the company's Flash value proposition.
Data&StorageAsean: All Flash or Hybrid?
Krishna Arani (photo right): Increasingly hybrid storage is providing the best of both worlds. Businesses of today face the need to increase their capacity requirement and improve performance of their storage subsystem. On top of that, it is critical for businesses to reduce costs and resources needed to operate and manage.
Standard benchmarks will rule that flash dominates on price/performance indicators and traditional hard disk storage rules out all competition when it comes to price/capacity. While it ultimately depends on the priorities and workload of the business, hybrid storage offers the happy middle ground.
Data&StorageAsean: What’s truly Unique about your Flash offering?
Krishna Arani: NetApp prides itself in having one of the strongest and broadest flash portfolios in the industry (Flash Cache, Flash Pool, EF flash arrays, all-FAS flash, hybrid arrays, and FlashRay) to provide flexibility and choice to maximize the value of flash across the entire compute, network, and storage stack for our customers. NetApp’s flash portfolio also integrates seamlessly with other products and the cloud as most customers will need to balance performance with capacity.
One of the unique features of NetApp’s recently launched EF560 all-flash array is its achievement as the leading Storage Performance Council SPC-1 Price-Performance for all-flash arrays with an average response time of less than one millisecond, at $0.54/SPC-1 IOPS.
Most workloads need a combination of both flash and hard drives to achieve a good combination of performance and capacity. This is NetApp’s strength. One cannot just have Ferraris driving down the streets of Singapore. Having an efficient public transport network, such as the MRT, is equally important to serve the needs of the everyday commuters. Not only do we provide superior all-flash arrays, we also complement them by combining with spindle based hard disks. At NetApp, we strive to build enterprise quality products together with the highest quality of support.
Data&StorageAsean: Are IOPS everything? What else should people consider when selecting Flash Storage?
Krishna Arani: IOPS is an important metric for flash storage options. However there are other factors users need to consider when making their selection. Flash is a premium storage media currently and hence users need to make careful considerations as to where and how to deploy it. Users should start their selection process with their expected workload in mind. The workload will in turn define which parameters are important – IOPS, Latency, capacity, cost, resilience, supportability, storage efficiency features, the wear cycle etc. These are some of the parameters users need to keep in mind when deploying flash.
For example, if it is for transactional applications like in banks, then latency should be of topmost consideration. If it is a high performance application that needs quick ingest, then IOPS may be critical. Enterprises that require more supportability features with a rendering application should also consider the resilience of the system.
Data&StorageAsean: Is there any customer type that your Flash Offering is not suited to?
Krishna Arani: It is more a question for the customer’s priorities and workload requirements. While the benefits for a Flash storage system are aplenty – such as higher performance, lower power consumption and smaller physical footprint, there are two main considerations while adopting Flash storage which are price per GB as well as wear factor. Users need to understand their application needs and strike a balance between a faster performance and additional capacity. Every customer can be a user of flash as long as they have their math done right with respect to the above.
Data&StorageAsean: What’s your target market in South Asia?
Krishna Arani: Every region in South Asia holds great potential. Businesses have a dire need for performance thus providing a great opportunity for flash solutions. Many of them need capacity growth as well. Thus, hybrid arrays generally offer a better option to achieve a good balance of performance and capacity. Every business need can practically be met by NetApp’s extensive range of data management and storage continuum – various flash solutions, hard drives with a variety of speed and capacity and different types of controllers. Thus an architect can build an appropriate solution for various price, performance and capacity requirements.    

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