The Business Value of Flash

The Business Value of Flash

Published by: Sinead Woods
Published date: 12th Jul 2017

Transitioning to All-Flash Storage

For many organizations considering a storage refresh today the key reasons to transition to all-flash storage include the opportunity to accelerate all current applica­tions rather than a select few, and to gain performance headroom to add more applications and handle grow­ing amounts data.

Another factor driving AFA adoption is simplification, including the ability to integrate with automation frameworks via REST API support and with hypervisor management consoles.

Our findings in this blog are referenced from the DCIG Buyers Guide for 2017-18. Click here to access the full report.

Consolidation and Simplification are Keys to Creating Business Value

Consolidating many workloads onto an all-flash array can enable significant reductions in overall data center costs. AFA-enabled consolidation extends beyond storage consoli­dation to include server and even data center consolidation.

Since the current generation of all-flash arrays have the capacity and performance to potentially handle many work­loads concurrently, features that enable consolidation are a reasonable focus for evaluation.

Features that Enable Consolidation

  • Sufficient storage capacity
  • Storage density much higher than the density of the legacy storage system
  • Performance – Latency, IOPS, Bandwidth
  • Multi-protocol (unified SAN and NAS) support
  • High-speed Fibre Channel (FC) and Ethernet connectivity to application servers
  • Quality of Service features (QoS)
  • Multi-tenancy
  • Non-disruptive Upgrades (NDU) & redundancy features that maximize uptime availability.
  • Certified support for Enterprise Applications

Features that enable simplification can significantly improve IT agility, and therefore also deserve careful consideration.

Features that Enable Simplification

  • Automated intelligent caching and/or storage tiering
  • Automated/policy-based provisioning
  • Hypervisor management console integration empowering administrators to quickly allocate and assign storage to new virtual machines
  • Proactive intervention based on storage analytics
  • Proactive remediation based on fault data
  • QoS based on predefined service levels enabling an administrator to quickly and easily assign each application or volume to a priority classification
  • REST API to enable integration into automation frame­works that are the foundation for self-service ITaaS

Organizational Considerations

There are staffing and organizational implications associ­ated with consolidating and simplifying storage. These will need to be addressed if an organization is to derive full value from its all-flash transition.

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Capacity and Density

Average AFA flash density of the products assessed in the Buyer’s Guide is 80 TB/RU with some arrays achieving 192 TB/RU. The combination of all-flash performance and high storage density means that an AFA may be able to meet an organization’s performance and capacity requirements in 1/10th the space of legacy storage systems, creating an opportunity to realize signifi­cant data center cost reductions.

Read: Best Practices in Implementing ALL-Flash Arrays

Quality of Service (QoS)

Managing storage performance can be complicated. The raw performance of an AFA may initially enable it to service all applications adequately. However, if enough applications are consolidated on the AFA, contention for finite resources will inevitably surface. Quality of service (QoS) features enable confident consolidation by ensuring critical applica­tions receive appropriate performance resources. Most AFAs now support QoS features. The simpler these are to implement, the better.

Percentage of Arrays Supporting Quality of Service (QoS) Features

Management Integration and Automation

Workflow automation is increasingly important as enter­prises strive to streamline their business processes. Storage vendors understand this challenge and are continually adding management flexibility to the arrays. By supporting multiple management interfaces, AFA’s can be deployed more quickly and incorporated into existing workflows. VMware vCenter is universally supported. Management integrations with Microsoft and open standards are now widely supported.

Management Integration and Automation

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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.