The answer is yes. Throughout my career, I have watched the industry move away from spinning disks to flash technology. Just in the past two years, I saw a big shift towards flash. There are many reasons behind this move.
One of the biggest reasons is cost.
Costs of Solid State Drives (SSDs) are dropping, making them more affordable, while the capacity of the drives is increasing. That is why buying an all flash storage array is becoming more realistic than buying a traditional spinning disk storage array.
One of our customers was running high end applications on a traditional spinning drives storage array. The customer was complaining that his applications are running really slow with a very high latency. The customer was looking for a solution that would improve his application’s performance as well as help him reduce his datacenter cost.
How did DataEndure Help?
We helped the customer run POCs on different flash storage vendors and happened to find that the NetApp All Flash FAS was able to deliver the best result for the customer’s environment. Taking into consideration that the customer wanted to be able to deploy SAN and NAS applications in the same storage system, NetApp (AFF) All Flash FAS 8080 was able to deliver the best performance and cost savings during the POC.
With the AFF FAS8080 unified storage efficiencies capabilities, the customer was able to move from a 40 Rack Unit (RU) storage system to 18 RUs while getting an increase in the total IOPS.
That resulted in more savings in the power and cooling, as well as datacenter costs, due to the smaller footprint of the storage system.
NetApp and other storage vendors are offering forever flash which will allow customers to tech refresh their flash controllers for free after the 3-year support contract ends. That increases the return of investment (ROI) and justifies the move to flash even more. Our customer was able to cut his cost while achieving better performance at a sub millisecond latency with over 400TB usable capacity.
With the new 16TB that just came out and the new NetApp All Flash FAS controllers that are coming out by the end of 2016, customers will be able to achieve double the performance and capacity with only 10 RUs. That is more than a 40% reduction in footprint, power, and datacenter cost savings.
On the other hand, Pure Storage just released a new generation of its FLASHARRAY//M that will offer double the performance and double the capacity that the older generation FLASHARRAY offered. With the FLASHARRAY//M 70, you can scale up to 1.5 PB in storage with only 7 RUs.
Nowadays, it makes much more sense to move to the All Flash Array than any other time before.
NetApp and Pure Storage are not the only All Flash Array vendors. There are a number of all flash array vendors on the market. This gives the customer the ability to choose which all flash array vendor suits their needs. My previous example about our customer showed how much moving to the All Flash Array improves performance as well as cuts costs. If we take a look at the ROI, we find that the customer would have paid double the amount of money if he were to renew his 3-year support contract and continue using his traditional spinning disk storage array.
While the flash technology keeps improving from a capacity and performance perspective, the SSD price is becoming cheaper and cheaper. It will get to a point, in the near future, where there will be no use cases for the SAS drives.
The SATA drives will continue to be there for two big use cases: backup and archiving.