In looking at all-flash storage, the initial impetus is invariably performance. As soon as IT executives see what an all-flash solution can deliver in terms of application performance, they get pretty worked up, unsurprisingly. Compared with traditional HD solutions… well, there is no comparison, is there?
For C-level business decision-makers, the question usually gets framed differently: yeah, the performance gains are tremendous, but what does that mean for the business? Specifically, what are the factors in choosing an all-flash solution that are going to impact our total cost of ownership?
Here’s the one thing every C-level executive really needs to know: The only way to truly maximize TCO in all-flash storage is by deploying an all-flash solution with a true scale-out architecture. Why the inexorable link between scale-out and TCO? Here are some of the keys:
Better Price/Performance: Because of the breakthrough performance of all-flash storage, you want to look at new criteria for price/performance, based on metrics such cost-per-IOPS, as opposed to traditional measures such as cost-per-gigabyte. Time and again, all-flash solutions with a scale-out architecture have achieved world-record price/performance in benchmark testing, with new results as recently as just a couple of weeks ago (Breaking SPC-1’s World Record? Don’t Mind if We Do!). Simply put, with scale-out you get more bang for the buck.
Faster Applications, Accelerated Time to Value: The real value of better performance in storage is better performance in your business. Applications will run faster, customers will be served more quickly, workers will be more productive, and many mission-critical applications will perform with much higher levels of availability.
A More Agile Business: The ability to run more applications on a scale-out flash array means that all applications can maintain the same performance even after more applications are added, enabling a much more agile business flow. Each business has its own metrics for measuring productivity, ability and availability gains, but be assured that no matter which measures you apply, nothing will compare to all-flash built on a scale-out architecture.
Simplified Manageability: A scale-out architecture will save you significant dollars through simplified manageability and scalability. Performing manual-load balancing is just one of many examples. Manual balancing is difficult under any circumstances, but impossible when more than one variable needs to be considered. Only a true scale-out architecture can balance performance, capacity, and endurance.
Elastic Scalability: Scale-out eliminates the need to purchase more “just in case” storage capacity to support future growth. Only with hardware-agnostic scale-out can you start small and grow larger with no need for disruptions or overhead costs associated with managing multiple systems. As the system grows, it becomes more economical and easier to manage, while improving availability of critical applications.
Maximize Existing Assets: Not all application upgrades and products align to the same purchase/depreciation cycles. Scale-out allows for the just-in-time decommissioning of old storage assets and an orderly, cost-effective migration to modern storage by scaling capacity and performance at the same time. You can avoid the cost of buying too much too soon and have confidence in knowing that, when you add capacity in a scale-out architecture, you add performance as well.
Extended Endurance: For some all-flash solutions, endurance is a question mark. A scale-out architecture addresses endurance questions by spreading the load intelligently to maximize flash endurance. With the right scale-out architecture, you minimize the number of writes and distribute writes across all of the flash media in the system.
Less Expensive Migrations: Migrations can be extremely expensive and time-consuming. With scale-out, you don’t ever need to migrate applications when they grow too big for their array.
The simple answer to reduced TCO is to choose an all-flash solution with a true scale-out architecture. The tough part is figuring out which of the many solutions out there are truly scale-out, since there remains a good deal of confusion in the market. Here’s a hint: You can check out some of our earlier blog posts on the subject, listed below, or you can just ask us. When it comes to scale-out architecture for all-flash, we not only created the model, we have the patents to prove it.