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Flash storage: Guide to all-flash storage arrays

Last updated:June 2014

Editor's note

All-flash storage arrays may differ on capacity, drive type, networking options and storage-savings features, but the one thing they all do is improve performance.

The 15 flash storage product lines profiled in TechTarget's all-flash array guide claim maximum read IOPS ranging from 200,000 to 9 million, peak read throughput from 2.4 GBps to 46 GBps, and read latencies from 50 microseconds to 1 millisecond.

But performance numbers can be tricky to compare. Vendors use differing configurations, workloads and block sizes to test their products. Plus, their test cases may not even remotely resemble a given customer's actual environment. The aforementioned top figures for IOPS and read throughput apply to one flash storage vendor's maximum 100-node configuration.

Price comparisons are also tough. Prices per gigabyte vary among vendors based on their products' configurations and whether or not they factor in data reduction technologies, such as deduplication and compression. Prices per IOPS are no easier, with differing sets of variables to weigh.

And finding the array with the highest performance or the lowest overall cost may not matter if the system lacks the features that an enterprise wants or needs. Some all-flash storage arrays are rich in capabilities that are typically found in traditional arrays that use hard-disk drives (HDDs). Others leave out such features as inline deduplication and inline compression that might have an impact on performance.

So, in putting together our guide, we collected a wide range of information to help you compare all-flash storage arrays. We asked the vendors to supply details on their product's specifications, flash media, warranty and support in addition to storage-saving and management features, performance and price. We also provide some of the finer-grained details that you won't find on their product pages, such as which storage features they charge an extra fee for and whether they replace flash drives that wear out before the warranty expires.

Whenever possible, we tried to ensure that vendors' responses were consistent to enable comparison. And whenever questions went unanswered, we hounded them.

1Devil in the details? Snapshot profiles of all-flash array vendors

We profiled 13 vendors of all-flash arrays and spotlighted their products' areas of distinction and deficiency compared to the others.

2Experts weigh in on all-flash arrays

We asked industry analysts and consultants to offer advice and delve into some of the fine points about all-flash arrays to provide a deeper level of insight into the product market.