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Flash Storage Pain Points: Uncovering The Truth

Solid-state storage may be expensive, but it's becoming a compelling option in the face of increasing storage needs. We explain why and address the major misconceptions.
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Solid-state drive storage for the enterprise has had a checkered past. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are also known as flash, though they aren't the same as the consumer flash technology that's found in laptops and other devices. SSDs are much faster than hard disk drives (HDDs) and contain no spinning parts, which means they consume less energy and produce less heat. 

Today's data center requirements include better performance and better storage to meet the demands of huge and growing virtual workloads. And data volumes are growing exponentially at most businesses. Flash storage can ease some burdens with its speed.

The knocks on SSDs generally fall into two categories: They're expensive, and they have slow write speeds. Those are both true, though prices have fallen and write speeds have improved -- plus vendors continue to develop ways around write and endurance issues. Today, SSDs are reemerging for various uses throughout enterprise infrastructures, moving beyond storage to bandwidth and performance applications.

Solid-state technology has gotten smarter and better engineered over the past decade. Today, solid state is available in a range of form factors, which offer IT teams many choices of where to implement the technology. Many current flash products, for example, are used just as read cache or write buffering to take advantage of solid state's natural strengths. Storage vendors have redesigned controllers specifically for solid state.

Solid state can help IT teams get creative about architecting workloads, and that leads to the question of how IT will choose to use the technology. In addition, there are questions about how best to implement it, and some myths and uncertainties still plague the market. Read on for some clarity.

(Image: zilli/iStock)

 

Christine Cignoli is a freelance writer specializing in enterprise technology. She is a former editor at Storage magazine and co-founded Modern Infrastructure Contact her at christinecignoli@gmail.com or on LinkedIn. View Full Bio

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nlhd
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nlhd,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/6/2015 | 2:38:53 PM
Re: Hardware Migration always has its Cons
nice post you have shared with us thank you
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2015 | 10:39:22 PM
Re: Flash Storage Pain Points
This is a nice, quick overview of the state of solid state (no pun intended) today. All these barriers are shrinking, and ultimately, there's no real technological reason SSD can't replace spinning disks entirely (or, almost entirely). It's just a matter of when, where, and how that shift is going to occur. Some say that cost differential will be a thing of the past sooner rather than later. To that end, we've actually had some epic debates here on NetworkComputing about how that's going to play out that, illuminating as they were, I don't necessarily care to repeat. I think we can all agree that the best is yet to come for Flash.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
9/30/2015 | 8:18:47 PM
Hybrid
Of course, there is that report from a few years back that by 2024 or so HDD will be more cost-effective, for the most part, than SSD.  I think we'll be seeing more and more hybrid deployments over the next 10 years.
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
9/30/2015 | 4:43:13 PM
Re: Hardware Migration always has its Cons
Right, that makes sense. 
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2015 | 3:07:48 PM
Re: Hardware Migration always has its Cons
If I had to guess,it would be either cost and/or hardware.

THe technology might be avialable, but because it might be limited to only a few suppliers the cost is still high. So providers will probably only offer it as part of there portfolio for those consumers that are willing to purchase a more premium product, but there main focus will would offering drives at a price that drives demand.

 
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
9/30/2015 | 2:44:22 PM
Re: Hardware Migration always has its Cons
I see, thanks for the reply @mejiac. What do you think might be restricting capacity for most of the vendors offering SSDs? 
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2015 | 2:21:24 PM
Re: Hardware Migration always has its Cons
@MarciaNWC,

I think same as USB flashdrives, pricing will either keep going down, or to a point that they are very affortable. We'll probably see more companies offering standard SSDs and the main providers (WD, Samsung, etc) offering more efficient and robust versions.

I think we're already seing the economy of scale take effect. What is curious is that even thought the price for SSD is getting lowered, storage capacity hasn't increased that much. We're still seing most SSD top out at 256GB, anything higher is mostly offered by one or two providers.

It'll be interesting to see how this trickles in the mobile space.
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
9/30/2015 | 1:00:00 PM
Re: Hardware Migration always has its Cons
Thanks for weighing in here @mejiac! Your approach makes a lot of sense.

What are your thoughts on SSD pricing? Do you see it remaining a pricier option?
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/29/2015 | 10:54:42 PM
Hardware Migration always has its Cons
Great Article,

I myself am a proponet of upgrading to SSDs simply because of the performance increase obtained. Its amazing how an old laptop/PC can obtain a huge increase in performance by installing an SSD.

The approach that I always recommend is have the SSD be the OS and core software, and have a standard hard drive for your files. Thus the read/write is reduced.

Many companies are aware that SSD have finite life, but if we consider the same for standard HDDs, the trade off of obtaining increase performace is well worth the risk.
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