This time I will start with an easy one. Is Flash more expensive that traditional HDD storage ? The simple answer is Flash is less
expensive than HDD for performance workloads.
My prediction for 2016 is that we will see increasing reduction in raw capacity costs and the storage
market will continue to polarise around Capacity and Performance. SATA HDD will be the capacity tier, while Flash SSD will form
the performance tier and SAS HDD will become even less relevant. By 2017 you will be questioning the need to invest in SAS HDD
and this form of storage will be dead by 2020.
In the mean time new form-factors will become relevant. Those of you that live with the younger generations will no doudt be
aware that their demand for immediacy is not going away any time soon - this generation are the latency sensitive generation.
I have been personally asked to breath a new lease of life into a not-so-old laptop by replacing the HDD with a consumer grade SSD.
An easy 5 minute job and the results are stunning. More importantly I am a Superhero - FlashMan, at least for a few days.
But even this is rapidly changing. Soon there will be nowhere to put an SSD in a laptop. Instead I will be looking to upgrade using
The same applies to commercial operations. As you know I spend an increasing amount of my time on the road presenting to
customers about performance, workloads and flash. This week I was in conversation with a CIO who was drowning in a sea of
different workloads from different business units. All with their own specific SLA requirements. The one common denominator
was performance. Performance, or lack of it, was the one metric, above all, that brought a tight focus on his IT operation if it
was not meeting it's defined goals. He was also struggling to complete the forensics and advise his business customers ,
but he was on the right path.
Not the path of 'Flash is the Answer now what's the question' , but the path of finding out what the workloads were doing, the
competition for resources and the supply and demand profile over the peak load periods. Needless to say that his team had divided
their workload profile between Performance every day, all day - Performance when I need it - not when I don't, Capacity - needs
to be online, doesn't need high performance.
At this point he was mapping his workloads onto this simple performance plan model which basically translated into High Performance,
Hybrid Performance and Capacity Performance. He also recognised that his business did not stand still for a moment and that
things would change. One day a workload is of utmost importance, the next day it's consigned to the dustbin (Trash Can).
That's how it is. His job was to enable the business units to compete on their terms. To dynamically move workloads, data and
information without disruption.
Another useful piece of information that emerged was that Flash Performance is less of an issue ! Go back a year or two and every
vendor was shouting "My Flash Box can do sightly more IOPS than yours, therefore mine must be better" errr....no... another Myth.
What is important to this CIO was the combination of Performance, Efficiency and Data Management capabilities. The package, not one
in isolation. This is where NetApp score well and, yes, performance is right up there in the Top-10 SPC-1 benchmark
AFF8080-EX_SPC-1_exec-summary and why we are seeing 400% YoY growth in shipment of NetApp All Flash FAS - AFF.
What I really like, and its probably the ex-capacity / performance planner in me, is the ability to combine All Flash FAS, Hybrid and Capacity
tiers in the same cluster under ONTAP. Then I can tick any business requirement for Performance, Efficiency, Data Management and
Protection. Beyond these I also have mandatory features such as Non-Disruptive Operations (NDO) and Quality-of-Service (QoS) to
With the Flash programs, you can:
Follow me on twitter @lozdjames
Laurence James - on behalf of the EMEA Products, Alliance and Solutions Marketing Team