Mike Nalls

Enterprise flash economics

Blog Post created by Mike Nalls Employee on Jun 10, 2014

While flash technology is believed to be expensive, the economic benefits to be considered go beyond price. HDS worked with Eric Burgener of IDC to produce a paper offering guidance to enterprise buyers. Titled "Compelling Flash Economics Driving Strong Flash Deployments in the Enterprise" Eric's paper discusses the economic benefits of performance, energy and space, consolidation and TCO. In summary, far fewer devices can be deployed to meet performance and capacity requirements, significantly less datacenter floor space is required and the smaller storage infrastructures can reduce backup windows and lower backup costs as well. For example, I used this table with a customer this week. He traditionally buys storage by the TB and was intrigued to consider $ per IO.


Eric summarizes in his paper how dollar per gigabyte may no longer be a relevant metric to gauge the value an array brings to the business. Other metrics such as dollar per IOPS above, IOPS per

terabyte, IOPS per watt, or dollar per transaction are business and economic values flash enable. Particularly TCO reflects the true value if the platform has the capabilities to enable dense workload consolidation. To effectively gauge the value of a flash-based storage platform buyers must take into account the need for far fewer devices, along with the power, cooling, and floor space savings over the expected life. Those significant savings are not reflected in acquisition costs alone as many of our customers have determined.


The vendor selection process then focuses on the architecture best suited for the application, that platform utilizing flash to its full advantage with the features needed to protect enterprise data. Eric quotes IDC data "In 2013, nearly 61% of flash was deployed into preexisting storage arrays, with the remaining 39% split between entirely new arrays and/or appliances and host-based PCIe flash. Just over 25% of flash capacity was deployed into newer arrays that were specifically designed for flash." A flash optimized architecture like the HUS VM eases deployment since its hybrid design means easy deployment with the advantage of significant performance improvement with flash as seen in the table above.  IDC expects that by 2017, 45% of new flash capacity will be going into flash-optimized products and that ultimately these products will become the enterprise storage workhorses in virtual datacenters worldwide.  Hybrid architectures that allow different classes of storage to be simultaneously deployed to create tiered storage configurations help lower the overall acquisition cost. Many customers prefer this investment protection over the disruptive change when bringing in a completely new vendor.