We provide all flash storage arrays for a variety of different workloads including OLTP, Databases, Virtualization for Server or Desktop, VOD, VDI, VR, 3D modelling, video editing or molecular modelling. Many of the newer advanced flash arrays utilize data deduplication and this dramatically increases the amount of flash storage capacity available. Please consider that not all data is compressible, and tests would need to be carried out before specifying an all flash design.
All flash storage provides outstanding performance compared to hard disk, but in order to achieve the desired performance, we also consider potential bottlenecks in the network in order to maximize the performance and alleviate any unforeseen issues. By deploying an enterprise flash array, you will typically see a 10x or more performance increase in your system environment which in turn leads to increased productivity. Although the cost of flash storage is coming down the cost per Terabyte is still 2-3x that of a comparable disk storage solution.
All Flash Storage vs Hard Disk
Enterprise flash storage capacities are slowly increasing and at present stand at 8TB for an SSD drive, although larger capacity drives have been announced by Seagate and Samsung they are not yet commercially available. With hard disk capacities of 20TB and rising and likely to reach 100TB by 2025. An SSD flash drive has many benefits over hard disks and these are:
Far Lower Latency
Higher IOP Rating
Lower Energy Use
Higher Shock Rating
Whilst flash provides super-fast performance, another important thing to consider is the application and workload you are intending to run on your flash storage. All flash has a limit on the number of DWPD (Drive Writes per Day) permitted by each SSD. If you specify a flash array with a small number of drives and it is being heavily used, it is likely your flash storage will fail sooner than anticipated. Here is an article on what to look out for when buying a flash array.
It is always a useful question to ask as to the type of flash memory deployed in the array, below shows the main types of flash used today.
SLC stores one-bit-per cell has longer endurance but is significantly costlier to produce with higher capacities. Enterprise Class – 25 DWPD
MLC uses two bits per cell, the most common type of SSD used by the flash storage vendors – Enterprise Class – 10 DWPD
TLC uses three bits per cell. These flash technologies have lower endurance but hold larger capacities and can be produced at lower costs. Consumer Class – 3 DWPD
QLC uses four bits per cell. These flash technologies have the lowest endurance, highest capacities and lowest cost. Consumer Class – 1 DWPD
The differing types of flash
All of the systems below contain flash storage in one form or another.
Hybrid Storage - Designed as an intermediary between spinning disks and flash. Introduced over 5 years ago, these were the first storage platforms to take advantage of flash, could provide significant performance improvements, albeit at far less cost than an All-Flash Array.
SSD Storage - Based on 2.5″ SSD drives, these are primarily designed to replace 1 or 2 drives in an existing disk sub-system to enhance performance. The issue is that a normal RAID storage system cannot handle the massive performance SSD’s provide, basically they overwhelm the data bus. So there is little or no point in replacing 16x spinning disk with SSD as it probably won’t be able to handle it.
PCIe Storage - Now flash operates at the speed of the bus rather than the SAS/SATA controller. The primary issue with PCIe is the number of controllers that can handle the extra bus speed and the lack of standard compatibility between storage vendors which could cause interoperability issues. Over time these issues will all be incorporated in future versions of PCIe, but for now, it’s a path that hasn’t been tried, tested or approved by standards committees.
All Flash - Designed to take full advantage of SSD drive technology, allied to high-speed controllers, advanced data analytics and a relatively future-proof upgrade path, these systems are designed to provide the simplest and easiest out of box uses with a number of host interfaces allowing you to connect and go.
NVMe Flash - NVMe is a high-performance, NUMA (Non Uniform Memory Access) optimised, and highly scalable storage protocol, that connects the host to the memory subsystem. The protocol is relatively new, feature-rich, and designed from the ground up for non-volatile memory media (NAND and Persistent Memory) directly connected to CPU via PCIe interface. The protocol is built on high speed PCIe lanes. PCIe Gen 3.0 link can offer transfer speed more than 2x than that of SATA interface.
All Flash Storage Solutions
Buying an all flash storage solution it is a high investment and an unknown risk for many companies as they have always bought disk-based systems. Flash storage today is as reliable as hard disk systems and can scale to provide PB’s of usable space. They can have multiple flash controllers, support the latest flash technology developments including NVMe, clustered and provide scalability for performance and capacity.
How can we help?
We work with the world’s leading providers of flash storage to deliver solutions to enable your organisation to grow, deliver data faster and reduce unnecessary expenditure.