The Future of Storage

Flash storage is nothing new. It’s been around in various forms for years. Most recently it has been making splashes in the consumer-level computing market, found in devices ranging from laptops to smartphones to table PCs.

Now, flash storage, with its solid state storage technology, is being touted as the future of the enterprise-class datacenter. The big idea is that flash storage can and will replace hard disk storage on a large scale. Until very recently, the mere cost of flash storage was a major inhibitor for businesses of all sizes adopting it as a storage platform.

Now that barrier is virtually non-existent, as the price of SSD-powered storage has come down significantly in recent years. In today’s post we’ll dig into how the future of the datacenter is being shaped by flash storage components.

Image Credit: KROMKRATHOG at freedigitalphotos.net

What is Flash Storage?

Flash storage is a non-volatile data storage component that unlike its hard disk counterpart, uses no mechanical components, but is 100% electrical. Instead of storing data on a rotating magnetic plate, data is stored on a silicon chip. In general, flash storage is up to 10-times faster than hard disk and uses 80% less power than hard disk components. In an era where datacenters are looking for new ways to consume less electrical resources, flash storage is a highly-desired data storage platform to achieve that end.

Flash Storage: The Future of the Datacenter

Depending on whom you ask, flash storage can and will transform the datacenter from the inside out. According to a recent article in DatacenterKnowledge.com, datacenters account for upwards of 1.3% of the world’s energy consumption. In general, flash-based storage devices use 20% less than hard disk devices. Additionally, flash storage boasts much higher performance and longer lifecycles with heavy read/write usage. Lastly, flash storage is much cheaper than it was even five years ago on a $/GB and $/IOPS basis. In short, flash storage is the future of the datacenter because it’s affordable, energy efficient and fast.

 Flash Storage & The Cloud

It’s likely that if you use a cloud application of any kind for business or personal use your data is managed and deployed in a datacenter environment. If you’ve enjoyed fast and unprecedented access to your cloud data in recent months, the odds are high that you can thank flash storage for the privilege. As data becomes increasingly complex through the use of cloud-based applications for everyday uses, the need for all-flash datacenters will increase.

 Hard Disk isn’t Dead Yet, But it’s Dying Fast

For some weird reason there are still rabid proponents of hard disk storage, and their rally cry is that hard disk isn’t dead yet. While it’s true that many datacenters are still using hard disk devices to power their data management initiatives, most datacenters are either phasing out hard disk or working to that end in breakneck fashion. At the end of the day every datacenter needs to answer the hard question, if we can deliver data management tools powered by flash storage for the price of hard disk storage, should we? I think we all know the answer to that question.