Will Infiniflash Really Kill the Hard Disk?

If it ain't broke don't fix it

Posted on Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The new Infiniflash product range from Sandisk was recently announced as the company’s attempt to commoditize flash storage within the enterprise. Offering 5x the density, 50x the performance and 4x the reliability of traditional hard disk drive arrays, Sandisk expect Inifiniflash to crush the legacy data storage market.

And with prices at less than $1 per gigabyte, such optimism seems fairly well founded. Or does it?

If it ain’t broke, don’t replace it

For brand new storage purchases, Infiniflash makes a compelling case. The speed gains alone should help enterprises better handle their Big Data processing needs, but does that mean that existing systems need to be retired as quickly as possible to take advantage of these advantages?

Despite the low dollar per gigabyte price, every cent spent on a new system is money that could have been spent on other strategic IT projects. Infiniflash and similar technologies may be involved with the future of your business, but your legacy storage arrays still have a part to play.

Because wherever existing systems continue to operate within acceptable parameters, there is rarely a good business case for replacing them. Instead new investment can be reserved for new applications, or when the usable lifecycle of an existing system has been reached.

Don’t throw it out!

Even when performance degrades, your legacy disk storage arrays still have a valuable part to play. Rather than allowing capital investment go to waste, older systems can be pushed back into service for use with data warehousing and archiving. Data access may be slower than that available with flash storage, but should also be significantly faster than a tape-based archive system.

The future of enterprise storage is undoubtedly flash (at least in the short to medium term), but spinning disks still have their part to play. And if it ain’t broke, there’s no need to replace it.