50 Important Questions To Ask Your Flash Storage Vendor To Invest In The Right Solution

50 Important Questions To Ask Your Flash Storage Vendor To Invest In The Right Solution

Published by: Kasia Janus
Published date: 9th Aug 2017

With no doubt all-flash storage can be a competitive advantage for your organization, bringing a new level of productivity and improved performance (as it reduces a time the employees wait for their databases or other applications), much easier disaster recovery, high resiliency, space efficiency reliability and much more.

You’ve seen all the compelling stats such as: 99.9999% uptime experience, storage footprint reduction by 80%, lower your cost of storage by up to 75%, boost flash performance by 35%, or reduce latency by 2.5 times etc. But before you commit to specific product or solution, you should firstly access your organization’s business needs and data strategy to separate the “nice-to-have” from the critical “must-have”. You might have your own list of questions already, but are those the right ones?

To help access your all-flash options, we have identified key considerations and questions to ask before investing in a flash storage array for your business today, and for the future.

Key considerations for flash buyers:

  1. Can I afford flash?
  2. Is it competitive?
  3. What do I need to know beyond the flash hype?
  4. What questions do I ask vendors?
  5. What are the risks?
  6. What about software vs. hardware?
  7. What could be some unexpected problems?
  8. What do I need for the future?

Important questions to ask your IT vendors:

Important questions to ask you IT vendors: Affordability

  • Do you have data compaction technologies? How do they work?
  • Which generation of flash drive are you using? What’s the capacity?
  • How does the cost compare to your current €/GB – Raw and usable?
  • How does the overall cost compare to my storage solution and the competition?
  • Can I afford to buy an all-flash array for all my data?

Important questions to ask you IT vendors: Performance

  • Does the array offer consistent, predictable performance with sub-millisecond latency?
  • How does the array perform under failure (drive, controller, etc.)?
  • Does internal “garbage collection” impact performance?
  • Are there performance impacts or downtime associated with backup/recovery processing?
  • How intuitive is the solution?
  • What kind of quality of service (QoS) controls do you provide to manage my most important workloads?
  • Does it offer quality of service controls to support multi-tenancy and consolidation?
  • What are the performance levels of networking that are supported?
  • How does the solution help track overall workload performance?
  • What solid performance data can you share?

Important questions to ask you IT vendors: Resiliency & scale

  • Do you have high availability features? What are they?
  • How resilient is the architecture? Please describe the capabilities.
  • Will the solution scale sufficiently to be deployed where I used to deploy midrange or high-end arrays?
  • Does the array support scale-out features?  Can you natively cluster multiple arrays to produce a single view of storage?
  • Does the solution support full redundancy with hot-swap everything? E.g. does it have two controllers?  Do the scale-out arrays support each other if a full array fails?
  • What disaster recovery options does it offer?
  • What are the maximum storage capacity provided?

Important questions to ask you IT vendors: Data protection

  • Does the flash array’s operating environment support data reduction features? (de-duplication, compression and thin-provisioning)?
  • What backup/recovery capabilities are available?
  • What is your approach to deduplication in backup and recovery processing?
  • Can I trust de-dupe and compression?
  • How do you ensure recoverability of application data?
  • How will backup/recovery integrate with my current environment?
  • Will I be able to match or exceed current SLAs?

Important questions to ask you IT vendors: Support

  • Does the array support full non-disruptive upgrades to all aspects of the array?
  • Does it support file shares and object access?
  • Does the array support replication, if yes, what type?
  • Does the array natively support snapshots and clones? Is this an add-on cost?
  • Do you support NFS and SMB/CIFS? What version of these protocols?
  • What support is there for virtualization standards and products (OpenStack, CloudStack & VMware)?
  • What tools are provided to monitor the array and the cloud storage?
  • What support is there for cloud use cases?

Important questions to ask you IT vendors: Support Services

  • Do you have experience implementing flash and creating a solution that will work in my environment? (Advice and integration support)
  • Are you up-to-date with the latest technologies and deployment strategies for enterprise flash storage? (Deployment and implementation expertise)
  • What type of support do you provide? (Personalized customer support)
  • How long will you provide a service and support contract?

Important questions to ask you IT vendors: Other considerations

  • How is the flash array serviced and how service-safe are the components?
  • How well will it integrate into my existing infrastructure?
  • How easy is it to manage?
  • What new skills will I need? How much effort will I have to spend looking after it?
  • How easy is it to expand the system?
  • How easy is it to migrate data on and off my new array?
  • How does the array use technologies to extend media lifespan?
  • What level of automation and management is provided? (User interface, command line automation tools).
  • Will you be there to support me in the future?

Interested in understanding your own storage requirements? Book a no obligation Storage needs assessment TODAY!

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About Codec-dss

Codec-dss as a key technology integration partner work with the main All Flash Array vendors in delivering technology solutions to their clients that help them maximise their investment in the technology. Established over 30 years ago and now with offices in Dublin, Belfast, Galway, London, Warsaw and Cologne, Codec-dss have a team of over 100+ professionals delivering IT infrastructure solutions across multiple technology areas. We “empower” businesses to deliver on their own goals and objectives through the most effective use of technology in their organisations.