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Assessing Flash Storage for the Data Center

ASSESSING FLASH STORAGE FOR THE DATA CENTER

Atlanta, GA, July 1, 2016 – We all know that storage plays an important role in the success of new initiatives. Every IT leader is looking at transformational projects including, mobile, data analytics and cloud. As a result, the enterprise data center is in transition, especially with regard to storage.

 

The desire for change is usually born out of the need to accelerate one or many business applications or processes. Traditional disk storage can often hinder business objectives due to challenges that include long application processing times and consumption of excess data center resources.

 

The rising popularity of flash storage has IT leaders in organizations of all sizes investigating the implementation of flash technology throughout the data center or in application specific silos. Ensuring the right application for flash storage is the key to success.

 

“There is no doubt that flash is transforming the storage landscape. In 2015, we expect flash shipping into the enterprise to continue to outpace HDD growth, with enterprise SSD capacity shipped expected to increase by more than 75% year over year,” stated Jeff Janukowicz, research director at International Data Corp. (IDC) as a contributor to a recent Tech Target article.

 

Flash Considerations for Enterprise Workloads

Determining your requirements for the types of data to be stored and accessed is paramount. Choosing flash as part of your storage solution should be evaluated based on expected use, architectural and performance requirements, acquisition costs as well the total cost of ownership.

For storage engineers designing high-performance application environments, flash can deliver significant performance, response time and environmental benefits. On the other hand, these benefits must be evaluated against raw cost, and by understanding performance reductions that will occur when technologies like deduplication and compression are enabled. When evaluating flash solutions, here are some key areas to keep top of mind.

Performance Requirements

Performance is most often the key driver when evaluating new storage technologies. Flash provides significantly better native performance than traditional high-performance spinning disk. However, if you’re upgrading to flash to accelerate performance, be mindful about how the rest of the data center will be impacted. Be aware of the potential performance bottleneck moving elsewhere: Other technology (servers, switches, and networking) may be challenged in keeping pace with the increased storage performance afforded by flash technology.

Application Requirements

Flash is optimal in supporting high-volume streaming solutions, large database or big data analytics processing applications that are performance-hungry. Not all data is created equal, so also consider different storage for different tiers. Flash makes the most sense to store the most vital information first.

Data Center Infrastructure

Is the rest of your infrastructure technology current? To make the best use of flash, an enterprise needs updated infrastructure to accommodate increased performance.

Cost Considerations

There are a number of factors that influence budgets—everything from acquisition costs to total cost of ownership will have an impact, including the budget constraints of individual organizations. Businesses need to ensure they do not spend outside their means to achieve their goals; everything comes back to cost and return on investment (ROI).

Traditionally disk has always been cheaper than its flash counterpart, but with the recent decline price of SDD (solid state drive), this may no longer be the case.

An ideal formula would consider the TCO, or Total Cost of Ownership, including hardware/software acquisition, management tools and staff training, along with data migration downtime and costs. Maintenance, physical space and energy needs must also be included. Every different flash solution can have different power needs. Data reduction technologies such as deduplication and compression can significantly impact the cost of flash systems. Excluding any of these key factors during your consideration of flash can lead to buyers’ remorse, and even worse, putting data at risk.

The Hitachi Data Systems Approach to Flash

Based on many of these considerations, flash storage manufacturers are providing a variety of solutions to meet specific data center requirements. Hitachi’s approach is a good example of offering a solution portfolio to meet the growing demand for varying implementations of flash.

  • Hitachi Flash Storage (HFS) A Series provides high-density, deduplication-enabled all flash arrays that offer high capacity density in a small footprint. The simplified appliance package is easy to deploy and includes data optimization technologies for fast business insights and services delivery.
  • Hitachi’s VSP F Series is ideal for enterprises that are candidates for an all-flash storage environment, with built-in automation software for proven performance and robust data management. This solution also delivers continuous access to information with a 100% data-availability guarantee, and automation enables resource delivery in a fraction of the time.
  • Hitachi also offers a hybrid flash solution with their VSP G Series, which provides increased agility by integrating flash seamlessly in your infrastructure to eliminate complexity. It supports the acceleration of business applications with up to 4M IOPS of Performance, reduces risk and guarantees 100% data availability. This solution simplifies and improves IT responsiveness with overall better data management
  • Among other key features, the automatic tiering of files to Hitachi Content Platform, Amazon S3, and Microsoft® Azure™ is a plus with the data migrator to cloud feature.

In a recent HDS blog by the CTO, Hu Yoshida states, “Hitachi Data Systems supports SSDs* with code in our enterprise storage controllers that is optimized for significantly improved I/O processing, higher internal thread count, and faster internal data movement, without compromising the many enterprise storage services and features that were already developed. In addition to these enhancements to the controller Hitachi also built its own flash device to optimize the performance and durability of flash technology.”

Enabling Change

These types of flash options enable an enterprise to implement the right kind of solution based on specific performance and application requirements, existing infrastructure, cost considerations and the overall need to accelerate your business with new technologies. Ensuring your data center is a good candidate for flash will assist in enabling transformational change desired by your enterprise.

XIOSS is a comprehensive solutions provider, specializing in data and network architecture. For flash technology or any big data solution, please contact our veteran staff at XIOSS at 612-367-4194 for an initial storage discussion today.

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