We continue to witness the evolution of technology all in the name of making our personal and professional lives better. Today, we have come to expect the same level of real time responsiveness from all applications, whether for business or personal use.
Over the last few decades processing and networking technologies have doubled their performance every eighteen months, yet the mechanical limitations of hard disk drives have prevented storage performance from advancing at the same speed.
So while the ability to create, capture, and process vast amounts of data already does exist in most scenarios, the ability to actually leverage the insights from Big Data was limited because of the speed at which data can be moved on and off of persistent storage to be processed.
Things got worse as we continued to witness the heavy adoption of modern technologies like virtualisation that drove demands for enterprise application responsiveness even further and lead to the expansion of the pre-existent gap between processing, network and storage, creating what many call a perfect storm for IT.
As always, all isn’t lost. Flash technology was borne out of the necessity to adapt our storage abilities to effectively leverage the power of new technologies, disrupting some very important assumptions under which IT had been operating. The technology not only dramatically improved application response time but also allowed applications to scale to extraordinary levels of data usage.
What’s so special about flash?
- Flash delivers unprecedented data access performance for both random and sequential data, delivering superior application throughput and response time performance for virtualised environments.
- Flash consumes much less power, as there are no disks to spin and no mechanical arms to move, and requires much less cooling, helping alleviate overtaxed data centre environments.
Many often ask if this specialised weapon of a drive expensive is expensive. Given the explosive adoption of mobile devices using flash – iPods, iPhones, iPads, as well as tablets of all makes and models – the technology has become more mature and affordable, to a point where with the right combination of storage array technology it can meet the price and performance requirements of today’s applications.
Like with any other emerging technology, flash has raised many questions about its utilisation and operational effectiveness, and they are rightfully asked. The organisations that ask these questions stand a better chance of making an effective decision founded on a clear understanding of how flash technology fits in their overall infrastructure given their workloads, and performance requirements instead of the hype that any new technology brings.
The trick to unleashing the true power of flash is to remember that while this may indeed be a disruptive technology, it needs a well thought out plan and approach for one to successfully leverage its power to their benefit.