Ideally we would all like to exclusively use flash storage in our data centres as there are just so many benefits:
- Have more performance than most organisations need
- Significantly reduced IO latency to enable a far better end-user experience
- Far less rack space required – reduce racks of HDDs down to just a few U
- Significantly reduced power and cooling costs
- Simplified management as performance issues are typically a thing of the past
- Increased availability as SSDs are less likely to fail than HDDs
- Backup faster as the data can be read much quicker
Clearly this list makes all flash storage very compelling, but like everything in life there has to be a trade-off and of course that is cost. Even with advanced efficiency technologies, such as compression, de-duplication and compaction delivering a real-world 3:1 saving, SSDs are still many times the cost of high-capacity HDDs. So as much as there has been great advances in all flash storage over the last 5 to 10 years one thing has not changed – highly active data is best stored on SSDs and relatively in-active data is best stored on high-capacity HDDs.
Now for small solutions, say under a few 100 TB, this is best achieved using a hybrid array that uses caching and tiering technology to place the data on the optimal storage tier. Once you scale to many 100s of TBs or even PBs the best solution is to use optimised platforms for each tier – all flash arrays for performance and object storage for capacity. Depending on your requirements the object storage can either be in the cloud or on-premises.
NetApp has the leading integrated all flash and object storage solution with their All Flash FAS (AFF), FabricPool and StorageGRID technologies.
NetApp AFF is a state-of-the-art storage platform, FabricPool provides policy based and highly efficient tiering of both SAN and NAS data from AFF to object storage, and StorageGRID is a highly scalable and mature on-premises object store. So why should you consider StorageGRID over the simplicity of public cloud object stores such as Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure Blob? There are in fact a number of benefits as follows:
- Fixed costs as you do not pay any usage charges
- Less storage required as space can be reclaimed much sooner
- Greater control over performance, latency and availability
- Single vendor support and solution optimisation
- A FabricPool capacity license is not required
On-premises object storage really comes into its own as capacity scales and it is used for multiple use cases (e.g. Backup and archive, Content repository, Data Analytics, Internet of Things and Web applications).
So the future of storage is not all flash, but tightly integrated flash and object storage – you can learn more about NetApp storage in our blog Why you should include NetApp in your next storage purchase short-list.