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Adopt Flash To Address Storage Challenges

by Srikant Attravanam, - Director- Platform Solutions and Services, Hitachi Data Systems India July-2018

Question: How does flash storage help IT organizations eliminate the storage I/O bottlenecks and accelerate IT services?

Answer- Storage plays an important role in application performance and response times. It affects the ability of companies to respond quickly to competitive pressure, launch new products and enter new markets. Every enterprise would require taking a stand for itself in the current hyper-competitive environment, especially to enhance their IT Infrastructure.

The difference between tapes and disk was the ability to access data randomly. Now the game changing difference between disk and flash is software that enables the ability to access data virtually.

Flash is a software device compared to a disk, which is a hardware device. Data is no longer tied to sectors on tracks, subject to rotational and seek latencies, and expensive rebuilds when a sector or track fails. With flash, data is mapped to cells, and the user does not know the physical location of the cell. If a cell goes bad, the data can be remapped to another cell. While the durability of flash is much lower than disks, it can use internal spare memory to increase the overall durability and lower maintenance costs. Software can add new functions to the flash device or offload work from the storage controller.

Compared to hard-drive-based systems, flash based solutions (all flash or hybrid) improvises the I/O data path, removes performance bottlenecks to drive better responsiveness. This leads to accelerate the performance of e-commerce and other critical applications and boost application performance. Customer services levels can be improved, with enhancement of competitiveness, with products and services to market faster.

Question: How do you think Flash storage is held back compared to the hybrid array environment?

Answer- To be successful, an IT strategy needs to leverage multiple offerings. This includes, hybrid/all flash arrays, converged/hyper converged infrastructure, cloud solutions and high end storage that can deliver unique values depending on the problem that you need to solve. In addition, these solutions need to be able to bridge between traditional legacy applications and newer cloud based applications. Only then IT organizations can meet challenges ahead and be ready for whatever new workload or business opportunities develop. 

Adoption of technologies, optimization and productivity enhancement are the key priorities across organizations. Most enterprises have limited budgets and the amount of data that can be processed and stored continues to soar. 

The vendors with only all flash arrays portfolio with limited functionality may feel the need to increase their portfolio. This is due to the huge inventory of disk already out there, which will be around for some time in the future. As new flash devices and future non-volatile memory technologies become available, hybrid storage arrays with virtualization and dynamic tiering will be required to ensure a smooth transition.

Flash used to be an expensive solution to address storage challenges, but as costs come down, companies are increasingly moving to flash-based technologies to create faster, more responsive IT environments. And, they don’t have to use their entire IT budget to do so.

Customers, now have the power to choose between turning on or off the inline data deduplication or compression based on application requirements for the right mix between performance and efficiency.  As the adoption of flash continues to grow, the costs are bound to traverse its way down and that’s the trend we see across the industry today.

Question: How does flash combined with data reduction capabilities help organizations consolidate workloads and reduce operating expenses?

Answer- The emerging wave of next generation applications requires datacentres to be extremely responsive, agile, accessible and automated. The deployment of data optimization technologies makes it ideal for quickly boosting performance in multiple environments for fast business insights and services delivery.

Customers can realize an average of 5:1 more effective capacity and optimize data reduction rates with performance through optional deduplication tuning. They can also save even more space by allocating capacity on demand with thin provisioning technology.

Question: How Datacenter performance can be transformed with the most resilient flash solutions? Also tell us how can Flash-integrated solutions transform Datacenter?

Answer- While assessing all-flash solutions for the company’s software-defined infrastructure, a company must look for features to make sure the solution is the ideal. One of the most standard features is to make sure the solution must deliver seamless and consistent performance throughout its lifetime, as it tends to slow down.

One of the ways to alleviate flash performance issues is through advanced quality of service (QoS) solutions that prioritize workloads to access more or fewer system resources, as required.  Another issue is increase in data workload performance which deteriorates with time.

Question: What is the future of Flash Storage industry at global level? How upgrading Flash Solutions can be beneficial for organizations?

Answer- Organizations are transforming and adapting all-flash software-defined infrastructure to achieve new capabilities. According to market forecasts, global datacentre flash storage market is expected to see greater dominance of all-flash and hybrid flash arrays. Digitization amongst companies is surging and creating demand for immediate access to information, which is thereby compelling them to modernize their core IT Infrastructure.

A wide variety of business and IT benefits are offered to the company, when they move to all-flash infrastructure. Accelerating business decision and providing IT agility benefits the organization has an advantage over competitors. Compared to traditional disk-based processing, all-flash systems are faster and more responsive. All-flash solutions reduce datacentre costs.

Hitachi Data Systems has been meeting customer demand for flash technology since 2008, having shipped more than 250PB of total flash capacity and supporting the world's largest all-flash deployments for critical business applications. Creating faster, more responsive IT environments, all large and small companies are increasingly moving to flash-based technologies.