Flash Myth Busters #2 Flash is Expensive....Right ?

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.

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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

M.2 sticks.

 

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.

 

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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

call on.

 

With the Flash programs, you can:

 

  • Evaluate all-flash solutions at no risk.
  • Stay on the cutting edge of flash technologies and eliminate downtime with free controller upgrades.
  • Accelerate enterprise applications with guaranteed high performance.
    • We guarantee a 3X performance increase for your enterprise database applications compared to traditional non-flash, disk-based systems.
  • Get world-class support at a fixed rate for up to 7 years.
    • Extend support for up to 7 years for a fixed rate, either at the point of sale or at renewal.

 

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Follow me on twitter @lozdjames

 

Laurence James - on behalf of the EMEA Products, Alliance and Solutions Marketing Team