4 areas in which Flash storage surpasses other storage technologies

Posted by Nicolas Brodeur_ on Jul 20, 2015 8:30:00 AM

4-areas-in-which-flash-storage-surpasses-other-storage-technologiesThe digital transformation that is underway is putting a demand on the infrastructures of enterprises and may lead to problems when a critical piece of infrastructure like storage is not able to keep up.

Some large companies are addressing the problem before it arises. This is the case of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. who have found a way to quadruple the speed of processing, and that by only replacing its storage hardware with IBM FlashSystem discs[i]

Here are 4 areas where Flash technology outperforms other storage technologies.


1. Response time

When workload or demand increases past a certain point, we quickly realize the increase in response time. Most of the time, it is the users who complain about the situation.

Flash technology is the most efficient on the market today. It can lower latency significantly which allows users to see the response time of applications decrease from 25 milliseconds to 2 milliseconds (real example of a client). Disk arrays are usually 20 to 50 times slower than Flash.

By capturing the data of an infrastructure for a few weeks, companies can measure this response time. It is thus possible to measure the potential gains using Flash technology by modeling workloads on this type of equipment.
We must always take the performance benchmarks of storage systems that are available on the Internet with a grain of salt, as these tests are conducted in the laboratory, in conditions that are not reproducible in a corporate environment.

Whatever the specifics of the environment, only the modeling of actual workloads will provide an overview of the expected performance. Each environment is different, it is not possible to generalize performance expectations.


2. The costs of operation and maintenance

The traditional enterprise storage systems include dozens and dozens of disks, so very often resulting in lots of expansion drawers that require a lot of space.
As well, this equipment generates a lot of heat that must be dissipated and also replacing disk modules remains frequent. The accumulated cost of acquisition, operation and maintenance of disk storage can often exceed even those of Flash systems.
With Flash storage, the gains are significant when it comes to the size of the data center and the imprint of it in terms of power consumption. All with an excessively high performance, which can reduce software license costs.


3. The speed of implementation

Downtime is detrimental to businesses and has a direct impact on operations. Availability requirements are increasingly important and replacing a disk storage unit may cause an interruption in service inconsistent with the targeted levels of services.
Flash technology can be implemented with minimum or even a complete absence of service interruption, allowing enterprises to comply with service availability requirements. 


4. Actual resource use

As mentioned above, it is users' complaints and the lack of an acceptable performance that leads companies to replace their old storage system. This situation generally occurs because companies do not have the in-house tools to verify the actual resource usage and therefore, performance. For example, if we want to reach tens of thousands of I/O performance with a disk storage system, this may require a large numbers of disks.

To achieve the desired performance, a company might have to buy dozens and dozens of TB of capacity when, in reality the need was 10TB of capacity. A flash system itself can manage a half million I/O.
Monitoring of the infrastructure and workloads over several weeks is necessary to identify the bottlenecks and the capacity and performance required. 



The performance constraints weighing on IT environments are leading CIOs and executives to rethink their infrastructure. Flash technology is undoubtedly a solution to consider in order to meet response time and efficiency objectives. And the first step in validating that this technology is the best solution to meet your real needs is to first monitor your workloads.

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[i] Source: www.ibm.com/ca

Image credit© Dreaming Andy - Fotolia.com

Topics: IT infrastructure, Storage

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