The annual Flash Memory Summit is where vendors reveal to the world the future of storage technology. Many companies announced innovative products and technical advances at last week’s 2017 Flash Memory Summit that give enterprises a good understanding of what to expect from today’s all-flash products today as well as a glimpse into tomorrow’s products. These previews into the next generation of flash products revealed four flash memory trends sure to influence the development of the next generation of all-flash arrays.
Today organizations more so than ever are looking to move to software-defined data centers. Whether they adopt software-defined storage, networking, computing, servers, security, or all of them as part of this initiative, they are starting to conclude that a software-defined world trumps the existing hardware defined one. While I agree with this philosophy in principle, organizations need to carefully dip their toe into the software-defined waters and not dive head-first.
A few years ago when all-flash arrays (AFAs) were still gaining momentum, newcomers like Nimbus Data appeared poised to take the storage world by storm. But as the big boys of storage (Dell, HDS, and HPE, among others,) entered the AFA market, Nimbus opted to retrench and rethink the value proposition of its all-flash arrays. Its latest AFA models, the ExaFlash D-Series, is one of the outcomes of that repositioning as these arrays answer the call of today’s hosting providers. These arrays deliver the high levels of availability, flexibility, performance, and storage density that they seek backed by one of the lowest cost per GB price points in the market.
In today’s enterprise data centers, when one thinks performance, one thinks flash. That’s great. But that thought process can lead organizations to think that “all-flash arrays” are the only option they have to get high levels of performance for their applications. That thinking is now so outdated. The latest server-based storage solution from Datrium illustrates how accelerating application performance just became insanely easy by simply clicking a button versus resorting to upgrading some hardware in their environment.
In the last couple of weeks X-IO announced a number of improvements to its iglu line of storage arrays – namely flash optimized controllers and stretch clustering. But what struck me in listening to X-IO present the new features of this array was in how it kept referring to the iglu as “intelligent.” While that term may be accurate, when I look iglu’s architecture and data management features and consider them in light of what small and midsize enterprises need today, I see the iglu’s architecture as “thoughtful.”
All-flash arrays, cloud computing, cloud storage, and converged and hyper-converged infrastructures may grab many of today’s headlines. But the decades old Fibre Channel protocol is still a foundational technology present in many data centers with it holding steady in the U.S. and even gaining increased traction in countries such as China. In this first installment, QLogic’s Vice President of Products, Marketing and Planning, Vikram Karvat, provides some background as to why fibre channel (FC) remains relevant and how all-flash arrays are one of the forces driving the need for 32Gb FC.
A little over a decade ago when I told people that I was managing three (3) storage arrays with eleven (11) TBs of storage under management, people looked at me with a mixture of shock and awe. Fast forward to 2015 and last week’s NAB conference in Las Vegas, NV, and it was hard to find many storage vendors who even wanted to have a conversation with a customer unless it had at least a petabyte of data under management.
On March 17, 2015, the Storage Performance Council (SPC) updated its “Top Ten” list of SPC-2 results that includes performance metrics going back almost three (3) years to May 2012. Noteworthy in these updated results is that the three storage arrays ranked at the top are, in order, a high end mainframe-centric, monolithic storage array (the HP XP7, OEMed from Hitachi), an all-flash storage array (from startup Kaminario, the K2 box) and a hybrid storage array (Oracle ZFS Storage ZS4-4 Appliance). Making these performance results particularly interesting is that the hybrid storage array, the Oracle ZFS Storage ZS4-4 Appliance, can essentially go toe-to-toe from a performance perspective with both the million dollar HP XP7 and Kaminario K2 arrays and do so at approximately half of their cost.
Flash is by all estimates the future of enterprise production storage with most enterprises anticipating a day in the not too distant future where they will use flash storage arrays (all-flash or hybrid) much more broadly within their data center. Yet despite flash’s many benefits (higher levels of performance, smaller data center footprint and reduced energy consumption among others,) many enterprises still only use flash in a limited capacity if they use it at all. Today I take a look at some of the factors that still contribute to an enterprise reticence to adopt flash more broadly.
Dedicating a single flash-based storage array to improving the performance of a single application may be appropriate for siloed or small SAN environments. However this is NOT an architecture that enterprises want to leverage when hosting multiple applications in larger SAN environments, especially if the flash-based arrays has only a few or unproven data management services behind it. The new Oracle FS1 Series Flash Storage System addresses these concerns by providing enterprises both the levels of performance and the mature and robust data management services that they need to move flash-based arrays from the fringes of their SAN environments into their core.