Is 2014 Really the Year of the All-Flash Array?

Adding flash to disk array systems was inevitable, as spinning disk-based storage hit

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the performance wall and virtualization kept pushing the demand for more IOPS. These early systems were expensive, implementation was difficult and feature sets were extremely basic or non-existent. As a result use cases were limited to the performance-hungry applications that also could be directly tied to more business; in other words those applications where improved response times equaled more revenue for the organization. But a lot has happened with flash since this technology started appearing in storage devices about a decade ago.

First, flash costs have continued to drop, thanks to the introduction of more economical NAND flash media and new controller technologies that greatly increase the usable life of those lower-cost flash chips. This combination has allowed flash implementation in the server to grow rapidly. We have also seen a significant adoption of hybrid storage appliances that use caching and tiering software to leverage a small amount of flash and augment the performance of disk storage systems. But what about all-flash arrays?

Early on in the history of enterprise flash storage, the idea of a storage array composed entirely of flash was somewhat of a ‘concept car’, more of a curiosity than something users would actually buy. But over the past few years things have changed. All-flash arrays are available from a number of manufacturers and more are poised to join the market. The improvements in media cost and flash controller intelligence have been joined by advanced storage efficiency (deduplication and compression) and rich enterprise class feature sets to create a perfect storm of sorts. This combination of factors has led Storage Switzerland’s Lead Analyst, George Crump to proclaim 2014 “The Year of All-Flash”, says Crump, “By 2020 disk will be all but dead for any form of active data in the enterprise”. But there are still some in the IT community who think this technology isn’t ready to completely replace disk-based storage, at the enterprise level.

In our webinar “Overcoming the Roadblocks to the All-Flash Array”, Storage Switzerland Lead Analyst George Crump and Tom Isakovich, Founder and CEO of Nimbus Data,  look at the state of the all-flash segment of the storage industry. They discuss the most compelling reasons to use all-flash arrays and address the objections that some in the industry have, head on.

All viewers will be able to access Storage Switzerland’s extensive library of over 60 on-demand webinars, many with exclusive white papers attached, without having to re-register.

As is always the case with Storage Switzerland webinars, we left plenty of time for questions and answers. Get your questions answered by the All-Flash storage experts or just listen in to hear what your IT peers are struggling with and the solutions we recommend.

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Eric is an Analyst with Storage Switzerland and has over 25 years experience in high-technology industries. He’s held technical, management and marketing positions in the computer storage, instrumentation, digital imaging and test equipment fields. He has spent the past 15 years in the data storage field, with storage hardware manufacturers and as a national storage integrator, designing and implementing open systems storage solutions for companies in the Western United States.  Eric earned degrees in electrical/computer engineering from the University of Colorado and marketing from California State University, Humboldt.  He and his wife live in Colorado and have twins in college.

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