International Data Corporation (IDC) is predicting that more than 60% of primary storage spend will be on flash by 2019. IDC also shares a viewpoint that All-flash datacenter makes sense for 80TB+ of mixed workloads. That means, all those enterprises which got 80TB to 90TB + of mixed workloads of data can think to go all-flash.
Eric Burgener, Senior IDC Analyst recently set out this view in a white paper which was sponsored by Violin Memory. Eric says that the cost of GB for flash when data reduction is taken into account is now down to around $1.25.
Although, Eric feels that this still has some way to go in terms of raw cost, with that of HDD at $0.70 or $0.80/GB; the secondary benefits such as savings in number of servers, power and cooling costs, make all-flash a viable proposition for 80/90TB and more of mixed workloads.
The prediction was based on a survey made by IDC which included respondents from all business verticals such as finance, healthcare and media and entertainment sectors. The respondents felt that they will deploy flash if it costs the same as HDD. So, cost was acting as a main obstacle for All-flash deployments in storage markets.
But what the respondents are forgetting are the bouquet of benefits which all-flash brings to them as secondary benefits while calculating TCO. Burgener feels that if the all-flash users can do mixed workload operations to 80TB or 90TB, then they can probably achieve significantly better TCO than with HDD.
According to Burgener, the key is that flash drives offer massive advantages over spinning disk in terms of input/output, density to achieve IOPS along with power and cooling costs.
Additionally, with flash array makers increasingly building in the kind of features enterprises require, such as, replication for disaster recovery, security, snapshots and clones, the value of these appliances is growing at the same place like those offering hybrid-flash.
Eric feels that as workloads are consolidated, it improves the advantages of the performance density of flash deployments.
Eric Burgener in his whitepaper cited IOPS figures for a standard 15,000rpm HDD as 180-200 IOPS and for flash drives as 10,000 to 20,000 IOPS. So, if one is trying to hit the 500,000 IOPS mark, they will need to have 2,500 in number 200 IOPS drives or 25 in number 20,000 IOPS ones.
Burgener’s research revealed that flash uses roughly half the energy of a HDD and the speed of flash allows Intel CPUs to be fed without them waiting around for data- which is always seen with HDDs- and so achieves good utilization and means fewer servers are required.
Thus, with the said calculations, Eric considers that 80/90TB is the point at which users start to make savings of $150,000 on power and cooling utilization. For example on a four year TCO on medium/large systems that cost $300,000 to $400,000.