"The majority of flash storage vendors use industry standard SSDs for flash, which have technical shortcomings in enterprise situations. To combat this, HDS engineers its own controllers that prevent this — offering customers four times the performance at a similar cost," he says.
HDS hasn't got the market to itself, though — HP's new all-flash arrays have also been highly rated, as have a number of new systems from EMC. The upshot is that there are now a number of serious options for anyone looking to update an outmoded disk-based storage system.
But is flash really the way to go? According to White, if you've got the budget for the initial investment, all-flash arrays provide significant advantages over the ageing disk-based competitors.
"Businesses of all sizes can benefit from all-flash arrays. Regardless of business size, they are coping with massive amounts of data from applications on mobile devices, tablets, the cloud and other sources. Businesses are often so overwhelmed by the amount and variety of file and other data cascading through their operations that they struggle just to store the information, much less make it easily accessible for business analysis and interpretation," he says.
"Traditional disk-bound storage can't keep pace with the growing volumes of data. Traditional storage solutions are neither agile nor fast when it comes to accessing that stored data. Flash storage enables businesses to expand their storage capacity quickly while maintaining agility and gaining overall efficiency."
What's more, businesses should see a significant return on investment from an all-flash system — White claims that HDS's Accelerated Flash Storage system can lower the cost per bit by up to 46 percent. Indeed, HDS claims that its new infrastructure solutions can reduce the total cost of ownership by up to 30 percent — and other vendors claim similar savings with their solutions. This, with the added benefits described by White, makes flash storage an altogether more appealing prospect.
But what about cloud? Can smaller businesses forgoe the need for much on-site storage at all by migrating their storage needs over to the cloud? Many are already doing this with the likes of DropBox, Google Drive and Amazon Web Services. With cloud services offering a compelling alternative to traditional disk-based storage, is flash storage a moot point?
According to Whitby, the answer is no. Yes, many smaller businesses have benefitted immensely from cloud-based storage systems, but the cloud won't be the answer to everyone's problems, he says. After all, the data still needs to be stored somewhere, and if everyone suddenly migrated to the cloud, it would mean that the cloud providers would have to invest in warehouses of storage. That cost would be passed onto the customer, meaning that one of the biggest benefits of cloud storage would then be lost.
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