Companies Urged To Opt For Flash-based Storage

The future of storage is flash-based according to a new report from analyst house Forrester, which says that companies may want to skip using a tiered hybrid storage architecture and instead transfer across to an all-solid-state-drive (SSD) architecture.

Forrester issued the advice in a new report.

It believes that flash-based SSDs are poised to play a big role in enterprise storage due to its “high-performance, stateful nature and moderate cost compared with DRAM.”

SSD/HDD Hybrids

Report author Andrew Reichman believes that the problem nowadays is that many storage vendors are “shoehorning flash drives into their existing disk architectures.”

This usually done by place SSDs as the top tier of storage in external storage arrays, whilst lower tiers utilise SATA-based HDD units. Essentially the most frequently accessed data is placed on the speedy SSDs, whilst the less-used data is moved to a lower tier of storage that uses cheaper but large capacity HDDs.

This approach, Reichman, feels is exposing system I/O bottlenecks.

And another problem is that this approach means that system administrators must know what data to place on the SSD (i.e. what is the most frequently used data), or else rely on newly emerging automated data tiering software.

Meanwhile the Forrester report also highlights the opportunities by moving to an SSD-only storage environment for any workload types, not just top-tier. It apparently provides real world examples of vendors who are “challenging the notion that you need data tiering or disk drives at all and offering systems designed from the ground up for flash.”

HDD Supply Woes

The Forrester advice comes amid growing concern over the potential shortage of HDDs, following the flooding in Thailand. This in turn is threatening to impact the entire PC and laptop, as well as the chip supply segments during 2012.

This is because Thailand is responsible for around 40-45 percent of the world’s HDD production, and the business disruption has already led to price rises. However the analyst suspects a side-effect will include a boost in solid-state drive (SSD) production.

IBM for example in September found that IT professionals are embracing high-performance SSDs, thanks in part to growing storage demands from cloud computing and analytics technologies.

Indeed, many SSD vendors are now offering enterprise-class SSDs, specifically tailored for the data centre.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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