Flash has reached the same price as disk! At least that is what all flash vendors want you to believe. But is it true? Has flash really reached price parity with disk? As is often the case it depends on how you intend to use the all-flash array.
All-Flash Wins for Apps and Virtualization
If we are comparing a flash array to a performance oriented hard disk array, essentially anything you are going to run production applications on, then the answer is yes, flash arrays are the same price, if not cheaper, than a performance-oriented hard disk array. For that parity they provide significantly more performance than a hard disk-based system. It is clearly a win for all-flash arrays.
But what about in other categories? Not all storage use cases need, nor will benefit in any way, from the performance capabilities of an all-flash storage system. There are other use cases where capacity is more important than performance, and in terms of price per GB, high capacity hard drives are still less expensive than flash.
What About NAS?
Most all-flash vendors still cede the backup and archive market to some other form of hard disk secondary storage. But what about for network attached storage (NAS)? There are clearly some use cases where NAS can benefit from all-flash. For its primary use case, storing and sharing user data, flash doesn’t add as much value. A small tier or flash cache is often more than enough to satisfy the performance needs of users. Remember most users are connecting via a WiFi or worse, a broadband connection via the internet, to the NAS system. They won’t see any performance boost if the data they are accessing is stored on flash.
A Better NAS investment
Instead of investing in an all-flash NAS system, organizations are better off investing in additional services like file sync and share, multi-site data replication and integrated archive. These are services that users need and can take full advantage of.
To learn more about the great all-flash debate and to understand why NAS budget might be better spent somewhere else, watch our on-demand webinar “Storage Refresh? 3 Capabilities Primary Storage Must Have (but probably doesn’t)“.