Top 5 Reasons to Turn to Flash Storage

Feb 2, 2016

In IDG’s recently released Big Data and Analytics Survey of 2015, most enterprises are already managing 100 terabytes or more, with 7% of the respondents already manage over 1 petabyte (PB) of data. Data growth shows no signs of slowing down either. Technologies such as mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT) are providing more data to organizations every day.

If you are experiencing this type of data growth, you are most likely looking for the best solutions that will accommodate your needs today and into the future. And if you are investing in new storage technology, you should consider flash in at least a portion of your overall storage strategy.

Here are the top 5 reasons that you should be considering flash:

1. Big Data Analytics

Just as data continues to grow, organizations are looking to gain valuable business insights from that data. This has led to the adoption of big data, data analytics, and predictive analytics. In fact, 87% of enterprises expect big data to shift the competitive landscapes in their industries within the next 3 years.

In order to gain the most value from data analytics, the insights must come almost instantaneously. Not only do traditional storage environments make this nearly impossible, but it is also cost prohibitive to run analytics in RAM alone.

This is where a flash layer comes in. MIT recently completed a test on flash performance. They found that 20 servers with 20TB of flash are just as fast as 40 servers with 10TB of RAM for data analytics.

2. Platform Performance

Platform performance extends well beyond analytics. Adding flash to your storage environment can improve the performance of all of your applications and databases. In fact, IBM has found that adding a flash layer of just 5% of your environment can increase performance by 300%. As apps and mobile initiatives continue to become more and more important to the lines of business, the speed at which busness users access data also becomes critical.

Flash does not have to be a forklift upgrade. It can allow you to virtualize your current storage behind a layer of flash. This allows you to tier your data based on its importance. Data that is accessed most often resides in flash. Less utilized data can then move to spinning disks and ultimately be archived in tape or cloud.

3. Reduce Storage Requirements

With spinning disks, it was only feasible to compress your data when it was moved to the archive tier. This is because compressing and decompressing data took too much processing time.

With flash, you have the ability to perform real-time compression to your data. Although ultimate performance may be affected, the speed of flash also allows you to add inline data deduplication. Those two features combine to reduce the total amount of storage you need. You can store up to 5 times the amount of data in the same storage space. With the extra power and speed that Flash provides, you can also add data at-rest encryption capabilities to improve your data security posture.

4. Improve Data Center Efficiency / “Going Green”

As you continue to add flash to your storage environment, you can power down some of those spinning disks within your HDD disk-arrays. If you can reduce 5 racks of storage down to 1, you save in data center space costs. You can also avoid adding more servers to address performance issues because you are addressing them at the storage layer. For larger organizations, this can have a positive impact on IT budgets.

Flash arrays also reduce your power consumption costs. Unlike HDD-based disk arrays, flash arrays have no moving parts. HDD arrays draw far more energy to power their spinning disks. Those spinning disks also generate a lot of heat, which is a major contributor to your rising cooling costs. And as we all try to be greener and cut costs, eliminating this power waste is a great place to start.

5. Lower Licensing Costs

Most IT executives are able to visualize the first four benefits pretty easily. Flash is faster, therefore it enables you to do more with your data. And adding real-time compression along with inline deduplication reduces how much storage you need. Reducing storage improves your data center efficiency.

The final piece is often overlooked. According to Gartner, spending on software licensing is rising faster than the rest of the IT budget. Much of today’s server software is licensed on a per core basis. By finding performance gains from flash storage instead of adding more servers, you are reducing the amount of processor cores that you require. This can have a dramatic impact on the overall cost and cost savings delivered by flash storage.

It is time to give flash a serious look

The time for flash is now. As stated, you do not need to undergo a full forklift upgrade to benefit from flash technology. You can take a more methodical, staged approach. However you implement flash, it is a critical component as you build an infrastructure that provides the power and agility that the business leaders are looking for in today’s competitive marketplace.