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Is SSD flash storage being used for general-purposes?

Flash SSDs have become more popular in general-purpose storage thanks to lower price points and increased performance, leading to expanded capacity in virtual servers and desktops.

Organizations are starting to use flash SSD storage for all primary application workloads. Initially, flash was...

deployed to address specific workloads that needed the highest possible performance. Today, we see a variety of workloads running on all-flash and hybrid flash systems.

A number of factors have contributed to the rise in using flash SSD storage for mixed workloads:

  • Price points have fallen rapidly on SAS and SATA SSDs, so operating expenses can be lower than for hard disk drives (HDDs).
  • Small form factor (SFF) SAS/SATA SSD capacity now exceeds that of 10K or 15K rpm SFF HDDs.
  • Data reduction on SAS/SATA SSDs is considerably higher, specifically for primary workloads. This is because latency is additive, and the latency of flash SSDs is several orders of magnitude lower than primary use HDDs. This means the usable capacity of SFF SAS/SATA SSDs has the same or lower total cost of ownership as high-performance SFF HDDs.
  • Flash storage can reduce power and cooling costs vs. traditional storage.

All of these factors, and an up to 40x greater performance, have made flash SSD storage very attractive to data storage administrators.

Increased performance without a cost penalty has also empowered IT organizations to develop applications and products faster, reduce application/user response times and fast-track revenue acquisition. Many shops have implemented flash SSD storage to accelerate a specific workload and find that it works well for other tasks, such as increasing database performance. If they are satisfied with the performance increases, they may add more flash capacity to their system to support virtual servers or desktops.

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This was last published in October 2015

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Where have you implemented flash SSDs?
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We have looked at it and still have questions on the life of the media. You get conflicting stories depending on the vendors you speak with.
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