With SSD prices dropping, there are many more potential uses for flash storage, such as in network-attached arrays. Rotating and SSD media can now be combined together in a hybrid format, and proprietary management software can quickly move data between the two types of storage.
These hybrid arrays have many different uses for enterprises:
1. How often does your data change? Make sure whatever storage device you purchase can scale up quickly to meet your needs.
2. Can your storage management software automatically provision and work with your applications? You don’t want to do this manually.
3. How seasonal is your storage demand? Your storage solution should be able to handle the peaks and valleys equally well.
4. How does your storage solution handle empty space? It may seem like an odd question, but overprovisioning (the technical term for having lots of empty storage on your arrays) is very common and can be costly. This is because when you provision your storage arrays, you generally don’t know exactly how much storage you’ll first need, and so you tend to err on the high side, with volumes large enough to meet your needs for the life of the server. We don’t think about this when we buy desktop PCs, because their storage is under control of one user, and also because big drives are common these days. But when we have to share our storage among different virtual machines and applications, it can be an issue. Storage vendors use thin provisioning techniques to cut down on this wasted space, and also use the process of deduplication, so commonly used files are saved in only one place.
Hybrid flash storage may not be for every business. But the benefits can be large — especially when it comes to business productivity. Has your company transitioned yet, and if so, what results are you seeing?