The Value of Flash Storage

The Value of Flash Storage

Flash Arrays/Storage are not coming they are here and have been for some time. They are not just for high-performance niche applications anymore. They come with a full level of Enterprise Software Storage Services that we have come to expect in traditional enterprise arrays, such as Thin-Provisioning, De-Duplication, snapshots, replication and QOS Tiering to name a few.

And as prices continue to decrease how can we dismiss the inevitable; Flash Storage is now and the next primary storage platform of choice.

Projected 4-year Cost of Capacity of Disk and NAND Flash from WIKIBON

This chart is compelling, showing a TCO model where NAND Flash become an obvious choice. And as consumer demands force development and drives costs down even further, the value of Flash Storage will continue to grow.

If speed equates to money (productivity & more transactions) then does slow cost money? Can you afford not to invest in Flash Storage?

Here are some high-level no brainers on the value of Flash Storage.

Let’s start with the elimination of moving parts, lower power consumption and less heat generated. All tangible pieces that will reduce operational costs. This alone is a major factor in any hardware investment.

Then add real-time, near real-time or sub-millisecond latency of analytical processing and/or financial transactions. This equals productivity and the opportunity for higher business economics. Process what you want faster, get results, make a decision.

The current champ is primed to get knocked out or at least pushed aside for the new faster, more efficient, more reliable, more scalable and cost effective version.

Bye bye spinning disks? What do most if not all of the following devices have in common; Laptops, smart phones, HD cameras, iPads, smart watches, kindle, fitbit and I could go on and on? It’s not a bold statement to say bye bye to spinning disks, it’s just a matter of time. I don’t mean bye bye like absolutely no purpose in a data center. You may find them powered off and tucked away in the corners of data centers. We can then have some Data Center banter, remember these baby’s, holding the large clunky device in the air, while chuckling :-). Most likely the capacity requirements will keep them hanging around but Flash Storage will be the new platform of choice.

Moore’s Law? It was more than 10 years ago that the first 15K RPM hard drive was introduced into the market, but we have yet to see 30K or even 20K RPM drives. The reasons for that are the mechanical limitations that prevent hard drives from achieving faster rotational speeds.”

Not so long ago: Tape

I know it’s not a fair technical comparison but I can’t help recall the arguments around tape and disk, specifically the cost and capacity differences, and how disk would never replace tape. Well the magnetic disk technology overcame most if not all of the proclaimed reasons it would never replace tape. I’m betting Flash will continue to evolve and overcome the capacity, wear and sequential-write limitations through software or combined technology advancement.

The consumer market is driving Flash Storage to the Enterprise. The Enterprise market is driving it towards an Enterprise solution. As storage vendor’s dwindling spinning disk market continues to shrink, the Flash Storage market is growing extremely fast and in my opinion will be a primary focus for storage vendors for years to come.

According to IDP The Flash Storage market is up ~90% in Q1 of 2016.

Whether it’s a Hybrid approach to handle mixed I/O workloads or All Flash Arrays, if you are not utilizing or at least considering Flash Storage in the Enterprise then I highly recommend you start researching ASAP. No, actually I recommend you purchase a Flash Array or at least demo one and start finding out for yourself.

In Summary

Flash Storage Arrays are here and Enterprise ready now.

Continued cost reduction, continued enterprise storage advancements and far superior IOPS, throughput and latency from traditional spinning disks*

Resources and tidbits

IDC Infographic,


$0.3B in 2012

$1.6B in 2016

The primary influencer in the solid state storage array market is the declining solution price, from $11.12/GB in 2012 to IDC’s forecast 2016 price of $2.88/GB

…and IDC forecasts capacity shipped in 2016 will increase to 611PB with a 2012–2016 CAGR of 110.8%

EMC Extreme I/O:

NetApp SolidFire & AFF:




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