Categories: Analyst Blogs
Tags: blog, Randy Kerns, Storage Soup, Tech Target,
Flash storage, or using the broader term, solid-state storage, suffers from an inadequate measure of value. Flash storage provides a step-function improvement in the ability to store and retrieve information. The value of processing with flash storage compared to access from electro-mechanical devices is not easy to express.
Many in the industry still use a “data at rest” measure, which is the cost of storing data. That fails to represent more valuable characteristics such as access time and longevity. The data at rest measure, given as dollars per GB, can be misleading and does not convey real economic value. If that is the only measure to use for information storage, then you should use magnetic tape for all operations because it is the least expensive media.
Some vendors also use a dollars per IOPs measure for all-flash storage systems. This measure does not represent the value of what flash can accomplish because it is an aggregate number. This means it represents the total number of I/Os a system can do, which could be from thousands of short-stroked disk drives. It does not directly reflect the response time increase, which is the most meaningful measure in accelerating applications and getting more work done.
So if these measures are inadequate, what is the best way to gauge the value of flash storage? It actually varies depending on the case. Flash can provide key improvements, including consolidation, acceleration, reduction in physical space/power/cooling, longevity, and reduced tuning. Let’s look at these:
It is clear that a data at rest measure is inadequate. Nevertheless, price is always an issue and the cost for flash storage continues to decline at a steep rate because of the investment in technology. Data reduction in the form of compression and deduplication also is a given for the most part in flash storage, multiplying the capacity stored per unit by 4-1 or 5-1 in most cases. The continued technology advances will improve costs even more.
The $/GB data at rest measure is difficult for many to stop using, even though it misrepresents true value. People do it because it is easy and it is a habit after years of measuring value that way. However, it is wrong. There needs to be another relatively simple measure to encompass all the values noted earlier. It may take a while for that to come about. In the meantime, we will continue to look at economic value, do TCO economic models, and explain real value as part of evaluating solutions to handling information.
Read the post on the Storage Soup blog here.