Preparing for your All-Flash Future

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Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2016

As popular as magnetic disk has been, the reality is future datacenters will rely solely on flash storage. Falling costs and increased capacities means the decision has become ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. 

But a good storage strategy involves more than simply replacing spinning disks on a like-for-like basis. Here are four issues that need to be addressed as part of your plans moving forwards.

1. Performance and quality of service

As any vendor will tell you, not all storage hardware is created equal. How can your business deploy flash to best improve performance and improve the quality of service on offer?

Depending on specific data needs, this may mean homogenizing your environment, or creating a best of breed platform by choosing components from a range of OEMs. In which case you will also need to carefully consider support and maintenance provisions for such a deployment – perhaps a third party support provider will offer better coverage and value than multiple contracts from each OEM?

2. Enterprise-mature data management

Just because the raw storage may be faster in an all-flash environment, doesn’t mean that data management becomes redundant. At a time when speed of access to data is a competitive advantage, your team still tools to manage data intelligently.

Enterprise data management services will be vital to maintaining or improving the overall quality of service provided by your new all-flash storage environment.

3. Cost effectiveness

The average ROI on flash storage investments is estimated at 18 months, offering a fantastic short term saving. But ongoing costs will eat into savings, begging the question – are we creating a long-term success too? 

Factors like the expected life expectancy of specific flash drives need to be addressed to avoid building a platform which has a definite lifespan. Limiting your systems in this way is even worse than the OEM-defined upgrade cycle that can be circumvented using a third party support provider.

4. Future planning

Flash drives may be the speed king now, but it will certainly be superseded at some point in the near future. IBM has recently managed to triple the capacity of phase-change memory for instance, paving the way for flash-like storage that performs 100 times faster than current chips.

This fourth consideration is closely related to the first – deploying the highest performing storage for mission-critical applications will ensure your business stays ahead of its competitors. It also makes good business sense to institute a cascade-down approach to all of your storage – not just for the applications that require the fastest access.

For more help and advice about preparing your environment for an all flash-future, including how to cut maintenance costs with a multi-vendor support provider, please get in touch.