With the disk-based storage industry struggling to keep up with demand, and the speed increases promised by flash storage, many businesses are doing away with their traditional storage systems, opting instead for all-flash arrays.
Whichever way you look at it, hard-disk storage space is running out. It might sound like an impossibility — after all, vendors can simply carry on creating more disks. But the reality is that, because of super-fast Internet and Big Data, the supply of storage can't keep up with demand.
Industry insiders estimate that the storage demand is going to continue to grow north of 50 percent.
"What we're struggling to do as an industry is keep up," Mark Whitby, Vice President of EMEA Sales and Marketing, Seagate, tells CNME. "The rate at which we squeeze the data onto the disk is growing at about 15 percent, and that's finite."
Whitby acknowledges that, as a storage vendor, it's a good problem to have, but that doesn't change the fact that, at some point, an enterprise will have to compromise on the amount of storage it can have — at least when it comes to traditional disk storage.
Surprisingly, though, the answer could lie in flash storage. It's surprising because, even up to a couple of years ago, the notion that flash storage could replace traditional storage altogether was branded nonsense. Flash technology simply wasn't able to offer the kinds of capacities that enterprises — or individual users — demanded. What's more, it was still prohibitively expensive.
Now, though, the vendors have worked out how to make flash storage a genuine contender against traditional, disk-based storage. Many vendors now offer all-flash-array storage stacks, and they're asserting that, in the long run, it'll actually be cheaper to run these devices. Aaron White, General Manager, Middle East and Turkey, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), explains why the idea of flash storage is beginning to take hold.
"Today, enormous amounts of data are being created from a variety of sources, such as applications, new mobile devices, Big Data analytics, and the cloud. This is changing the speed with which business is conducted and the scale at which it occurs. Many businesses are now turning to flash to implement new and innovative ways to provide enterprise-grade service while delivering higher performance, lower costs and increased efficiencies across the data centre. When done right, flash systems allow companies to accelerate access to information for faster decision-making, analysis and productivity," he says.
According to White, the flash systems of today can offer businesses the ability to access information more quickly, and consolidate data in less space. This should deliver both cost and time savings. He also claims that modern flash systems offer increased performance and durability over hard drive-based systems. That said, not all vendors are offering such good flash-based options.
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