The time has come for flash memory solutions. Here, Venkat, Vice President of Product Management at Violin Memory, discusses where and when flash is superior to compete storage methods. —Jennifer Bosavage, editor
With decades of experience storing data on hard disk drives (HDDs), the IT industry is long overdue for the type of revolutionary advantages offered by flash memory technology. Flash technology is making significant inroads to the modern data center and as those early-adopter solution providers are demonstrating, change can be a challenge without being disruptive.
Forward-looking organizations view the industry shift as a close cousin to challenge: opportunity. While those decades of experience have led to lots of tech advancement, at some point your reach diminishing returns. The opportunity in this case is putting storage on a Moore’s Law technology curve that brings the data center into balance across compute, networking, and storage. The key to avoiding disruption is finding the right tool for the job in this new landscape.
Many modern business critical applications continue to rely on high-value data that is stored on disk. Access to that data is becoming the primary data center bottleneck. Data is an enormously valuable business asset, but if an organization can’t extract information from the data, it’s simply an idle asset. Strategically, CIOs face the pain of fighting through storage roadblocks while trying to roll out critical business initiatives such as Big Data, eCommerce, virtualization, mobile, and cloud. Without the ability to rapidly read and write data, application performance will not be sufficient to support a business environment that is near real-time. Flash promises to solve these problems, dramatically increasing throughput and IOPS while delivering orders of magnitude lower latency.
Flash started out as consumer technology and has evolved to meet the more rigorous requirements of the enterprise data center. That evolution has resulted in three general categories of flash-based products:
• Server-based PCIe cards
• Solid State Disk (SSD) solutions
• Purpose-built flash memory arrays
Each of those approaches has a unique set of characteristics that when matched with the right use case can deliver substantial improvements, but when mismatched can lead to disaster. The optimal approach delivers the performance, reliability, and cost for a given application.
Next: Let's look at PCIe Cards
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