Flash First – Could this really be the year ?

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Honestly, what do you all think ? I’m certain that the tipping point has been reached and the relative costs of flash media vs. spinning disk is now a compelling reason for all to consider flash for their primary storage.

Every year, vendors come out with their spin on what’s likely to be the hottest thing since sliced bread. Obviously, none of us are time travellers but there are many industry analysts (IDC, Gartner etc.) and also visionaries that try to set the pace of change in technology by thinking about the next big thing. Technology changes as quick as fashion does and we see shifts in perception every few months or even quicker but this has been brewing up for quite some time and I believe that we are going to see significant growth in All Flash this year. Watch this space…

DSSD

IMG_5737DSSD D5 was announced by EMC on Feb 29th under the tagline – Quantum Leap. Think of a flash system on steroids with none on the side effects. That pretty much sums it up. SSD’s are placed into custom hot-swappable panels in the front of the unit and this results in 144TB of storage in only 5U !!!

The team at DSSD have a unique way of bringing extreme speed – 10 million IOPS – with extremely low latency and this is using PCIe interfaces in an NVMe fabric. Essentially this is shared storage and direct attached storage all in one. The benefits and high availability of shared storage is key here and you can connect up to 48 servers to this unit using the PCIe cards that can be placed in your server. If you’d like to read more read here¬†where there is a lot more detail.

The use cases are real time analytics, real time fraud and risk analysis, big data analytics at hyper speed and also trading analysis. These cases are very specific but there are increasingly more companies needing this speed and low latency and so DSSD fits into this unique space. You can find a lot more information here on the official EMC page – Link

VMAX All Flash

This was the next big announcement taking the tried and tested VMAX platform to the next degree of speed whilst retaining the qualities of reliability and availability that the VMAX is synonymous for.

IMG_5735These arrays are designed to host consolidated workloads of all shapes and sizes and engineered with reliability at its core. The 450 range is 4 engines and the 850 range is 8 engines with the F and FX suffixes denoting the ‘no frills’ version vs. the ‘advanced data services’ version. The 450 can hold up to 2PB of storage whilst the 850 can go up to a mouth watering 4PB. Packing in 3D NAND into shelves called ‘V-bricks’ allows for a very dense configuration and these huge capacity figures. Now you’re impressed right ??

For me one of the best reasons to make this solution compelling is the inclusion of CloudArray which allows the end user to tier cold data to their choice of cloud storage (private or public).

This truly is a goliath of an array and you can squeeze in more capacity into a smaller footprint which means significant power and cooling reduction also.

More information on the solutions can be found here РLink

Conclusion

These announcements are hedging on the belief that All flash is here to stay and EMC now has a wide and far reaching portfolio that includes flash at its heart. XtremeIO, VMAX and DSSD all have varying use cases and can deliver the types of performance that customers are seeking. Whether its scale up, scale out or both, these solutions offer far more choice and I believe that choice and price are where customers want to be able to decide on their primary storage needs.

It’s early days yet but announcements from other vendors branching into All flash options are clearly an indication that hybrid arrays cannot win the market on their own. I don’t think the demise of magnetic disk will happen this year but the erosion of these disk types will be seen this year and more so into early 2017. It’s a great time to see how storage is evolving at rapid pace and I couldn’t be more proud to be leading the charge into the new era of Flash First.

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