When do we stop using the term "flash storage"? When does it become just "storage"? And when do we as an industry shift the qualifier to "mechanical spinning disk media"? That future may be a lot sooner than you might think. The industry perception of flash storage is transforming from why to why not as I write. At some of the more recent storage industry events I have attended, when a question is asked about the potential of flash storage, the storage administrators in the audience are just as likely as the presenter to speak up and sing the praises of all-flash storage.
This wealth of acceptance for flash storage is becoming apparent in ESG’s research as well. While flash storage still has room to grow, the data reveals an evolution in the understanding of flash. While improved application performance continues to be the top reason driving organizations to consider flash storage, there is more to this story. When you compare primary reasons that organizations consider and deploy flash storage, the non-performance-based rationale, such as better reliability, reduced cost per I/O, reduced cost of power and cooling, outpaced the performance rationale by a rate of three-to-one. In other words, for every four organizations deploying flash, three of those organizations are deploying flash for something other than simply improving application performance.
If you are still wondering if flash storage is right for you, well, you're in luck. With some recent moves in the all-flash storage vendor community, there has never been a better time than now for the technology. As flash adoption rises, the all-flash storage players see the potential and fighting for share. This may sound like a cheesy infomercial, but if you are looking at storage, now is the best time to check out all-flash storage.
The price of flash storage has come down to the point where it is already below that of performance-optimized hard drives. Flash storage densities are increasing. And now, the industry is seeing a surge in vendor programs designed to ease the transition to flash. As if the benefits of the technology were not enough, vendors are adding a slew of guarantees.
Let’s just walk through one of these programs, Kaminario’s K-Assured1. Kaminario is offering guarantees on almost every aspect of the array, including:
- Capacity: If Kaminario’s K2 system doesn’t meet the guaranteed effective capacity, Kaminario says it will provide enough to make up the difference at no additional cost.
- Performance: If the storage doesn’t perform as promised, Kaminario will provide the additional compute resources to make up the difference at zero cost.
- Availability: Kaminario is saying that the K2 will deliver at 99.999% uptime, or they will provide additional support at zero cost.
- Scale: Kaminario is offering a formal commitment that new hardware can be added to existing solutions and old technology can be decommissioned non-disruptively.
- Maintenance: Kaminario is locking in maintenance pricing as a fixed percentage of the hardware and software purchase price for perpetuity.
- SSD life: If an SSD drive fails or wears out and the system is under support, Kaminario will replace it.
This is just one example of the guarantees being offered in the industry. Nearly every flash storage player is providing something in this regard. EMC, HPE, NetApp, Nimble Storage, Pure Storage, and Violin Memory are all offering an all-flash guarantee or have similar programs in place. These guarantees further increase the value of all-flash storage, and essentially eliminate any reason to still hesitate.
If you are your orgnziation are currently enjoying the benefits offered by all-flash storage, or are still undecided, let me know in the comments below.