[Column] Anthony Njoroge: The importance of flash storage for the cloud
As cynicism about the benefits of the cloud give way to rapidly embracing digital transformation, companies are finding themselves in a position where they must optimise their infrastructure.
While the modern cloud environment delivers improved performance and more responsive use of resources, it must be configured properly with the relevant hardware in place. This is where flash storage becomes an enabler to help unlock the business benefits arising from effective digital transformation.
There is no arguing about the speed advantage flash provides over more traditional storage options. But perhaps, more importantly, it results in improved productivity and responsiveness within the organisation. Because of the higher input/output operations per second of flash, it can deliver faster response times for those IT services that support the business. It makes it possible for insights to be extracted in real-time from the data warehouse further aiding the decision-making process.
The resultant enhancements in efficiencies that come from flash storage means companies will use fewer CPU cores and cloud cycles. Given how most cloud providers work on a pay-per-use model, there will be a significant cost savings that can be reinvested in other parts of the business.
According to the rule of thumb, flash storage can deliver approximately 10 times the performance of traditional storage arrays with just one tenth of the power consumption. It is therefore not difficult to understand why companies are increasingly adopting flash in their cloud architecture.
IT departments have also been exploring using NVMe to reduce response time and storage latency. For its part, NetApp was the first enterprise storage vendor to deliver NVMe/FC on all midrange and high-end all-flash A-series storage. This innovation allows customers using a 32Gb fibre channel to immediately see latencies drop to under half a millisecond.
All-flash arrays also enable storage tiering capabilities. After all, one of the ways to reduce cloud costs is to tier infrequently used data to less-expensive storage formats. However, the public cloud providers only offer data tiering between classes of their object storage offerings. This means that as storage requirements become more dynamic, companies require options in matching the fastest storage with the most critical applications.
By moving this less critical data to more affordable alternatives using a cloud-agnostic solution, such as the NetApp AFF, companies can tier data more strategically to meet both cost and access requirements.
Combining flash performance and application integration, while leveraging the power of the hybrid cloud, organisations can extend the capabilities of their data centres. These combine to make up part of the data fabric that help users unless the full potential of the data at their disposal.
Consider how consistent and integrated data management services and applications facilitate data visibility and insights, data access and control, and data protection and security. Together, these technologies will accelerate digital transformation and allow the business to address its highest imperatives.
All-flash storage has become a vital component in the cloud migration journey. It is something that companies must consider if they are to be effective in their digital transitions and leverage the agility that come from the high performance computing capabilities delivered through the cloud.