Is SAS All-Flash Good Enough?

Almost every storage vendor that used to just make SAS-based all-flash arrays is now shipping an NVMe Flash Array. New storage vendors are emerging that are skipping SAS-flash altogether and are starting with NVMe systems. The question facing IT planners is, “does your organization need an NVMe system or are SAS-based flash arrays good enough?”

There are an ever increasing number of workloads that justify NVMe and even some that justify an end-to-end NVMe storage architecture, but the large majority of workloads don’t. The reality is that many data centers can’t generate anything near the IOPS of which a mid-range all-flash array is capable. While it is true that some workloads will benefit from the low latency that NVMe, and especially NVMe-oF provides most won’t.

Most data centers will upgrade to NVMe flash systems when the cost of those systems is about the same as today’s SAS based systems. The same goes for the infrastructure. Most organizations won’t switch to an NVMe based infrastructure until the cost is the same as a SCSI based architecture.

The problem with the “wait until NVMe is the same price as SAS” approach is that some organizations, which have workloads that can take advantage of NVMe, will miss out on the performance gains that NVMe delivers. Organizations need a way to gain insight into the performance needs of their current workloads so they can then translate those needs to potential new systems and infrastructures as they come to market. If that translation leads to a measurable gain in storage IO performance that results in a reduction in other resources, an increase in the number of concurrent sessions or a decrease in time to answers, then the investment in the new technology makes sense, if not then it doesn’t.

Without the ability to capture workload IO profiles and the ability translate that IO to new systems the organization is left making educated guesses based on benchmark data that doesn’t represent the actual workload.

To learn more about how to determine if NVMe is right for you watch our on demand webinar “Does Your Data Center Need NVMe?” In this webinar Virtual Instruments and SANBlaze join Storage Switzerland to discuss the challenges associated with moving to NVMe and how to make sure your workloads and your infrastructure is ready for it.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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One comment on “Is SAS All-Flash Good Enough?
  1. Lauren Smith says:

    Thank you for this helpful article! If you’re looking for flash storage products, you can freely visit Guidesfor FlashStorage.

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