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Flash tech powers cloud storage and gives enterprises a boost

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With this in mind, service providers looking for a better approach have increasingly invested in flash storage technology. Flash has promised -- and largely delivered -- better IOPS and increased throughput for critical, I/O-intensive applications, though often at a much higher cost per GB than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). But performance is just one attribute cloud service providers are looking for in a storage solution. Also high on their list are requirements such as:

  • High availability and reliability. Cloud service providers can’t afford storage infrastructure downtime, lest they risk breaking SLA-driven availability commitments and irreparably damaging their reputations.
  • Cost-effective scalability. Flash storage must scale easily and nondisruptively to accommodate rapidly growing capacity requirements, and at a cost that enables service providers to maintain affordable and competitive prices.
  • Built-in operational efficiencies. In a similar vein, cloud service providers are looking for storage systems that are frugal in terms of space, power and cooling requirements, since every dollar of cost means one less dollar flowing to the bottom line.

Unfortunately, most flash storage systems today don’t meet these requirements. We believe this gap between solution requirements and actual capabilities, along with some confusion

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about how and where flash can best be deployed, has inhibited the adoption of flash storage among cloud service providers. Let’s take a closer look at these requirements and, in the process, briefly examine how a couple of innovative flash storage vendors are addressing them. Though flash can be deployed in various ways to meet service provider challenges, we’ll focus on all-flash array solutions.

It’s important to note that many enterprises have similar needs. So while emerging solid-state products satisfy service provider requirements, they also meet those of enterprises looking for high-performance, reliable and scalable storage.

This was first published in May 2012

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