All-flash storage is a hot topic around data centers these days, but the debate is ongoing as to whether or not an all-flash SAN has a place in every data center. While all-flash is an extraordinary technology, there are only a handful of data storage situations that truly require the performance of all-flash. For most, this performance is overkill. Or perhaps more accurately, the value an IT professional receives from an all-flash SAN does not justify the cost. Another thing to keep in mind: not all infrastructure problems can be solved with higher performing storage. It is a fairly standard complaint to blame all network woes on the storage that seemingly can’t keep up. But there are a number of things an IT professional can do to help remove unnecessary network complexities that take away from efficiency. Centralizing storage, adding RAM or CPU, removing silos, and provisioning appropriate application resources are all things IT professionals can do before juicing up their storage. Here are a few instances where all-flash is really needed.
Extreme Performance - If an organization’s IOPS consistently hovers over 10K IOPS, this would be a great fit for all-flash. Even though some hybrid arrays can keep up with this performance, an all-flash SAN would be able to guarantee this type of sustained workload. Consistency of performance is one of the main selling points of all-flash arrays, and while hybrid SANs may be able to keep up with the peak performance load, the sustained IOPS load calls for all-flash.
Uncompromised Application - Every so often, we come across an IT professional who has that one application that cannot be interrupted under any circumstances. For organizations that specialize in online sales, this might be their transaction processing application, and for some, it might be their email server. Whatever the application, it holds an important role in an organization and cannot be compromised for any reason. Some of the hybrid SANs offer volume pinning to the flash tier. This could be a solution for these types of applications, but if the application’s volume is too large, the flash tier may not have enough remaining capacity to house the frequently accessed data from other applications. So even though dedicating an all flash array to a single application may seem excessive, for some organizations it makes sense.
Great Deals - No one can argue that all-flash is a great technology. It’s the value of the SAN that might be questionable if other more cost-effective SANs can get the job done. But sometimes all-flash SANs will hit the market for less than their typical price tag. Maybe an organization is trying to get rid of inventory to make room for their newest models (note: if this is the case, make sure the vendor is continuing to support and update the model you are purchasing.), or they are getting aggressive to try to earn your business. Whatever the reason, if an organization can score a great deal on an all-flash SAN, then they might be doing a huge service that their organization can benefit from for years to come.