A little bit of flash can help workloads: HDS

Storage vendor finds that a lot of flash capability is being wasted on basic tasks

Most workloads do not need flash, according to Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) A/NZ chief technology officer, Adrian De Luca, and would instead only require five or ten per cent flash to get things done.

“There is a lot of latent capacity that ends up being wasted by being invested in these dedicated appliances,” he said.

For that reason, De Luca said that the vendor has been focusing on how to incorporate flash into its platform strategy so customers do not have to reinvest into a different vendor’s product.

A number of start-up operations, such as Nimble and Fusion IO, have sprung up in the A/NZ market, though De Luca said they are predominantly flash only with “brand new platforms that have not been tested in an enterprise environment.”

“They do a phenomenal job with VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure], database acceleration or consolidate VMs,” he said.

“However, they are still a separate platform to manage.”

De Luca adds that companies that have point problems around applications are “being sold the Kool-Aid” that flash is a “magic bullet.

Consistent global perspective

HDS global presales engineering vice president, Lewis Winning, confirms that what De Luca is seeing in the A/NZ space is consistent with what the vendor is seeing around the world.

“All of the storage vendors, including ourselves, have incorporated flash as a tier,” he said.

With flash, Winning admits that the biggest challenge from an enterprise perspective has been around price and reliability.

“The rule of thumb is that 80 per cent of IO going to 20 per cent of data, and if data is going to get larger, that ratio is going to change even more, where less IO goes to your data,” he said.

When it comes to evaluating its flash technologies to addressing those business requirements, Winning said the challenge is devising the right platform that is of “a high quality, rugged and industrial strength,” but at the same time ensures that the customer gets the “right data at the right time, even as your access pattern changes.”

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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