50TB flash drives – a blessing and a curse for legacy IT?

50TB SSD by Viking Technologies

Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Viking Technology has this week announced the release of their first 50TB solid-state drive (SSD) – which also happens to be world’s largest. In fact, this new SSD is larger than any commercially available magnetic disk.

Aside from the massive capacity gain, Viking Technology is keen to talk about how they believe the new drives will revolutionize enterprise data centres. With an active power consumption of just 16W (and less than 10W when idle), the new drive should be a lot cheaper to operate.

According to their estimates, deploying these new MLC NAND flash-based SSDs could reduce operating costs by as much as 80%. These savings will be achieved by a reduction in demand for power, space and cooling.

What does this mean for legacy storage?

The new 50TB SSD comes in a standard 3.5 in form factor, with a Gbps SAS interface – so in theory it can be installed in an existing storage array chassis. However the cost of each drive (yet to be announced, but expect a very big price tag) is likely to make such an upgrade unjustifiably expensive.

To gain maximum benefit from the new SSD CTOs will have to reengineer their data centres. A reduction in cooling and power requirements is welcome, but also completely unfeasible for environments that still use traditional spinning disk storage. As such it is unlikely that 50TB drives will see mass deployment until prices fall and businesses go all in with flash.

The new Viking Technology SSD is encouraging – but it’s not time to get rid of your legacy magnetic disk arrays just yet.

To learn more about managing and maintaining your spinning disk arrays economically in the era of flash migration, please get in touch.