5 Misconceptions About All-Flash Arrays
All-ﬂash arrays (AFAs) oﬀer enhancements over hard disk drive (HDD)-based systems, especially when it comes to read/write performance and latency. This has caused IT professionals, storage architects and data center staﬀ to consider possible improvements all-flash arrays – solid-state storage disk systems that use only flash media for persistent storage – might bring to the applications they manage and the data they support. But for many, questions persist about where, when and how to deploy all-flash arrays.
While some professionals wonder if AFAs are right for every situation, others wonder if they have earned a place in the data center at all. These concerns are fair, although they’re sometimes grounded in misconceptions or outdated information. Here are some of the common myths associated with the move to AFAs.
1. All-ﬂash is an all-or-nothing proposition. False. Data centers evolve; that’s just a fact of life for today’s technology-driven businesses. And that usually means there’s a healthy mix of legacy and next-generation platforms that co-exist within most environments. This is not only a product of evolution, it’s a matter of economics since it would be far too costly to unplug old solutions when their successors arrive. This is certainly true when it comes to storage, where infrastructure teams would neither be able to justify nor absorb the “rip and replace” method for their perfectly good, cost-eﬀective mechanical drives.
One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to AFAs is that they require organizations to go “all ﬂash.” Adopting all-ﬂash arrays doesn’t require an organization to abandon its investments in spinning disk. HDD and ﬂash-based arrays can coexist, and each has its place in the data center. And as we’ll explore below, ﬂash isn’t necessarily ideal for every application, environment or site. That makes it critical for storage professionals to plan carefully for AFA adoption, identifying where the new generation of arrays makes the most sense based on both performance and cost factors.
2. AFAs are too expensive for widespread deployment. False. It’s no misconception that ﬂash storage can be more expensive than mechanical drives. And that can give today’s cost-conscious hardware teams pause as they consider where and how to invest their ﬁnite infrastructure dollars. All things equal, we’d all prefer to go with the most cost-eﬀective solution. But with storage arrays, all things are not quite equal.
Today’s advanced AFAs oﬀer several cost advantages that may not be evident by looking at a price tag alone. Improvements in rack density can translate into signiﬁcantly lower operational costs by reducing the data center footprint along with power and cooling costs. Furthermore, built-in innovations such as deduplication, compression and thin provisioning contribute to far better storage eﬃciency than previous-generation arrays, which can reduce data sprawl and the operational overhead that comes with it.
The latest AFAs come equipped with simpliﬁed administration interfaces that make storage easier to manage and increase management productivity. The raw price per gigabit for ﬂash storage is beginning to drop as adoption accelerates. The bottom line is that AFAs can add up to some serious total cost of ownership savings, which should make your ﬁnance department pretty happy.
3. Most applications don’t require AFA performance. False. It’s no secret that AFAs oﬀer substantial performance gains over HDD-based arrays. Their input/output (I/O) speeds can provide a signiﬁcant boost for high-performance applications. But for development and operations professionals alike, there’s a perception that …