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Affordable flash reshaping economics of enterprise storage

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The advent of new flash drives based on triple level cell (TLC) 3D NAND technology promise to reshape the enterprise storage market by making solid-state drive (SSD) arrays more affordable than ever – positioning them for wider adoption in the mainstream market.
With these advancements, vendors can substantially reduce the cost of high-performing, flash-optimised arrays while also cranking-up the performance of affordable, general purpose arrays.
That’s according to Tarsus Distribution’s Dell Enterprise solution specialist, Othelo Vieira, who says that TLC 3D NAND-based storage products are now coming to market at close to the same price as traditional hard disk drives (HDDs).
Given their performance advantage, this means that SSDs (also known as flash drives) are more attractive than ever for a wide range of enterprise storage applications.
TLC SSDs further lower the costs of flash storage by packing more data capacity into tighter formats, doubling current flash density to 45Tb per rack unit. This technology has enabled vendors like Dell to deliver storage arrays with new enterprise flash drives that offer up to 24x performance improvement and the same price for capacity as 15K hard disk drive.
Says Vieira: “The HDD has been the traditional mainstay in storage technology, but its role is now seriously challenged by SSD whose prices have dropped faster than HDD performance has increased. This means that SSD is now the better option for many applications that require both high capacity and performance. For example, SSD is taking over quickly in areas like enterprise, web, cloud, and virtualised applications.”
Vieira says that Dell is one example of a vendor now offering the SSDs themselves for the same price per GB as 15K hard drives. The costs are low enough that lower-end customers, who previously purchased only traditional spinning disks, can move to flash. The resulting business productivity surge will be felt across multiple industries.
With a modern, virtualised storage array architecture, enterprises can leverage multiple flash types in the same array based on workload goals and usage patterns. On the higher-end of the market, many customers are looking to write-intensive formats, where flash is up to four times as fast.
New solutions that combine write-intensive and read-intensive flash formats in the same array are both affordable and attractive to premium customers. A relatively small number of write-intensive drives can provide a huge performance boost and greater endurance, while new read-intensive drives offer budget flexibility.
Says Vieira: “The debate about SSD and HDD is a critical one for enterprises, who face not only growing data volumes, but also the need to manage massive amounts of big data in real-time. Traditional architectures simply cannot keep pace with the speed of today’s digital world and its velocity of data.
“Affordable flash solutions are the key to mastering these challenges – which is why the falling prices of SSD storage arrays is great news for enterprises.”