Until recently, flash-based data storage has been significantly more expensive than spinning disk drives. This has typically made it only feasible for organizations with deep pockets or niche applications that required high performance. But the price of flash has definitely dropped, and many traditional vendors and upstart vendors have matured their technologies through new configurations and software.
Flash-based storage systems, such as IBM’s FlashSystem and FlashCore technology, is getting more widely deployed. These deployments are either coming in the form of an “all-flash array” for a specific application that needs high performance, or a “hybrid flash array” that moves frequently-accessed data onto flash while relegating data that is rarely accessed to spinning disk.
If you are trying to better understand where flash storage might play a role in your organization, consider specific applications and use cases that benefit from the use of higher performance storage. End customer experience is often a key driver, in addition to the clear technical merits.
Improved transaction speed: There’s nothing more irritating to the average user than having to wait too long to make a purchase or transfer money between online banking accounts. Online transaction processing (OLTP) using flash-based systems can vastly improve customer satisfaction by increasing transaction speed.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): The advent of ultra-thin client workstations, as well as a mobile workforce armed with tablets, has seen some enterprises virtualize their desktops, and flash-based storage is particularly well suited to support a large number of these devices while providing a superlative end user experience.
Big Data Analytics and Data Mining: Many businesses are using analytics to gain competitive advantage. Most organizations are good at keeping information, but are not able to access it with speed. The inherent speed of flash-based storage allows for rapid access and analysis of data, thus allowing for better analytics – and quick access to insights on seasonal trends, buying patterns and trends – leading to better business decisions.
Improved Datacentre Efficiency: Exponential data growth means an ongoing need to review and consolidate the elements in the datacentre. Flash provides higher density, smaller footprint storage, thereby delivering much needed savings on heating, power, cooling and floor space.
Once you’ve decided on the most compelling use case, you’ll need to carefully consider which of the multitude of vendor solutions available will best fits your needs. An experienced partner will help you navigate the options and ensure that you get the best solution for your business.