Flash Storage Technology: Where to Start?

January 1st, 2016
Bryan Samson
Strategic Alliances Manager

I was recently speaking with a client about flash storage technologies who said he they had met with no less than 12 different flash vendors. No less than 12! This immediately reminded me of being in a heavily traveled tourist area in Central America. The town was full of little shops with salesmen offering what appeared to be the same T-shirts, jewelry and decorations offered at every other store on the strip. I didn’t know what differentiated the products except for the price. After speaking with the owners, it turned out that there were subtle differences in the seemingly identical products. Some shops had mass-produced goods and some had handmade goods, and a few even had the craftsman on site making products. These differences affected the price both in value to the seller and me, the buyer.

This is the same situation buyers face in a heavily saturated market like the solid state array (SSA) storage subsystems. Clients are overwhelmed and either cannot or do not have the time to sift through the seemingly endless line of vendors waiting to speak with them. Why not talk with an IT solution provider to discuss flash storage technologies as well as SSAs?

Mainline has been closely monitoring the flash market over the past few years and is uniquely positioned to provide unbiased guidance and consultation on flash storage technologies. We have partnered with the best of breed in the industry and can help filter the vendors to recommend the one that makes the most sense to your particular set of pain points. Like spending time with the street vendors to understand the differentiators, Mainline is prepared to provide an overview of the product landscape and talk honestly about the technology strengths and weaknesses.

Mainline’s consultation can also include an evaluation of a specific application environment or your entire storage area network. We have worked with many clients in evaluating their specific workloads to provide a picture of the amount of application improvement that will occur simply by deploying an SSA. In addition, technologies that add efficiency to your environment, such as data compression, become a reality with SSAs. Think about it. If an SSA can deliver unprecedented response time compared with a traditional spinning disk, adding small bits of overhead for things such as compression, space-efficient copies and full clones is really at no charge to your application’s performance.

Mainline can also help with providing business justification for a flash storage solution. New technologies can be difficult to sell internally, but the economics of flash storage technologies are overwhelmingly favorable, being at or below the cost of a Tier 1 disk. Properly engineered SSAs can have a 7- to 10-year life span, extending your investment dollars. Paired with the performance of an SSA, you will get time back to build and deploy apps that increase customer satisfaction and ultimately grow your business.

The way I see it, you have three options:

  1. Buy the solution from the first vendor you speak to about SSAs. This is like me buying from the first store I got dragged in to in Central America.
  2. Speak with all vendors and make a decision after much deliberation. “There are over 500 companies actively designing and marketing SSD products and systems today.” (ref. http://www.storagesearch.com/ssd-top10.html).. Do you really want to spend time talking with everyone?
  3. Contact a solution provider like Mainline to guide you through the field of manufacturers and save you time.

I’d like to offer you the opportunity for your senior management team to have a discussion with our flash experts to show you how SSAs can give you an advantage over your competitors and how you can adopt this technology now without increasing your storage budget, but actually decreasing it. Contact your Mainline account executive to get started.

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