NEWS ANALYSIS: Improvements to flash memory technology may spell the end for spinning media as the primary storage mechanism for enterprise tier 1 storage.
it comes to performance, flash-based memory has always been the undisputed
king. However, flash memory has also been the leader in another area as
well-expense. Until recently, flash memory has proved to be far too expensive
for the typical enterprise to deploy for tier 1 storage. Simply put, the
performance offered was not worth the additional cost.
enterprise needs change, and access speed is becoming more and more critical to
many enterprises, especially those looking to deploy virtual desktop
infrastructure (VDI), mine big data and push ahead with private cloud
technologies. All of which depend on fast, reliable and affordable storage,
which is where tier 1 storage with cache technology normally comes into play.
However, cache combined with spinning media is starting to fall short from a
performance perspective, yet it seems to be the most economic path to enabling
large storage capabilities.
purveyor of flash storage technology, Violin
has a different take on how flash storage can be affordable and
still bring ultra-high performance to enterprise tier 1 storage. The company
offers several flash memory arrays, which are designed to replace both spinning
media and cache as components of tier 1 storage.
is that combination (elimination of spinning media and cache memory) that helps
to bring value to Violin's
. Other value-adding features include hot-swappable components,
elimination of single points of failure, full redundancy and, of course, a
tenfold increase in performance.
value is a subjective topic, it does prove to be one of the most critical
elements for determining total cost of ownership (TCO), an important metric
used for budgetary purposes. It is that TCO metric that can prove the case of
whether or not a business can afford flash memory for primary storage.
is where Violin Storage is looking to play. The company claims that its storage
arrays bring a tenfold performance increase to tier 1 storage, which in turn
reduces operational costs and speeds results. Jonathan Goldick, Violin's CTO,
: "Flash memory helps
enterprise operations in many ways. One customer was able to reduce the time it
took to mine a large data set from 21 hours to 2 hours and reduce the number of
servers needed to process the data. It is that type of savings that flash can
offer over traditional tier 1 solutions."
an environment where time is money, the switch to flash for tier 1 storage
could potentially save a great deal of money, while fueling the development of
new IT services. That seems to be the message behind Violin's latest product-the
Violin Memory 6000 series, which are all-silicon systems.
claims that the 6000 series offers reliability, performance and the economics needed
to be deployed as mission-critical primary storage. The company's Memory Arrays
are tightly integrated systems built from the chip to the chassis to the
intelligently aggregate flash memory.
a "Rack-in-a-Box" approach results in a system that can be quickly
integrated into the data center. The 6000 series arrays offer an opportunity
for infrastructure consolidation, with a single system only occupying 3U of
rack space and delivering 1 million IOPS with 4GB/sec of bandwidth. Multiple
arrays can be clustered together to achieve petabytes of capacity and high
enterprises looking to accelerate their storage performance and meet new
demands, flash-based primary tier storage may be the best way to meet current
and future needs. It all comes down to balancing cost against performance and
including scalability into the mix. Of course, reliability is an added bonus,
as well as a requirement, and the lack of moving parts in flash seems to help
reliability along, as do designs that build in resiliency.