The Flash Storage Mythbuster


Tech Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for IT pros

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Do you still believe any of these six common misconceptions and myths about flash storage?

Article 4 Minutes
The Flash Storage Mythbuster

The world of enterprise storage moves quickly. As file sizes increase, demands for not only greater capacity but faster transfer speeds are growing, and it is up to IT professionals to ensure they always have the latest technology at their disposal in order to meet these needs.

One innovation that has been gaining momentum in the business world for the last few years has been flash storage. However, there remains a lot of confusion and misconceptions within the industry about exactly what this is. This can leave some professionals wary about embracing the technology, while others that do so in the hope of radically transforming their enterprise storage solutions may find themselves disappointed with the reality.

Fortunately, we're here to help. We've put together a list of some of the most common myths surrounding flash storage and what the truth is, to help you make the best-informed decisions next time you're looking to upgrade your storage offerings.

Myth 1 - Flash is too expensive

One of the most common reasons for firms deciding not to pursue flash technology is the belief that it is too expensive for them. But while this may have been true in the early days of the technology, flash has matured hugely in the past few years, and with that comes much lower costs and better efficiency.

This means flash solutions are now within reach of any enterprise, and indeed, prices are becoming much more in line with what hard disk drive (HDD) solutions offer. But thanks to the speed and efficiency advantages of flash, the overall cost-effectiveness could already be better than HDD for many workloads.

Myth 2 - Flash always equals super-speed

While generally speaking, flash is certainly faster than traditional HDDs for many everyday operations, you shouldn't expect it to immediately turbocharge your performance tenfold. This is especially true if you're using large flash storage systems that include extensive metadata to provide for inline data reduction, wear leveling, and garbage collection. This is why you often see all-flash storage systems use low-capacity flash devices. Be realistic about your aims and make sure you know where the speed boosts flash storage can offer will be most worthwhile.

Myth 3 - Flash storage devices wear out faster

The idea that solid state drives (SSDs) have a limited lifespan that may not be as long as other alternatives continues to pervade, despite the fact it is not true. SSDs are actually more reliable than HDDs thanks to the fact they have no moving parts, while the flash technology supporting them has evolved in recent years, and by grouping and minimizing the overall number of program/erase cycles made to flash storage cells, this has greatly expanded its lifespan.

In fact, a study looking at the use of SSDs in Google's data centers found that the tech giant actually experienced a lower failure rate for SSDs (as low as 0.95 percent per year) than HDDs (typically two to nine percent per year).

Myth 4 - Flash is only useful for high-performance workloads

Given the previous cost considerations, many businesses may have reserved flash for high-performance applications in the past. But in today's digitally-focused, always-on world, high-performance has become business as usual, and the fast speeds and low latency of flash storage is beneficial to almost any next-generation workload. And with cost less of an issue, flash storage can help maintain the 24/7, access-anywhere environment that businesses now demand.

Myth 5 - Flash storage is all the same

Despite what some think, flash storage is far from a standard solution, and there are in fact many solutions available that can meet the differing needs of various enterprise workloads. For example, if you need high performance and low latency, there will certainly be an option available, but there are also flash storage solutions designed for robust data management needs, high uptime and availability, or high scalability for more unpredictable workloads.

Myth 6 - Flash is a new way of approaching data storage

Some people may be put off flash because they believe it will require major changes to how they store data. But the basic principles remain unchanged from older technology. Data will still need to be managed and protected, with facilities to guard against data corruption and ensure disaster recovery. Users no longer have to choose between speed and advanced data management features, while ideas that flash storage is too complicated for use by any but the most skilled and experienced professionals are also outdated.

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