Changing the Economics of Enterprise Storage
Four use cases for deploying flash storage in the enterprise
Flash storage is becoming much more affordable—and more realistic—as an option for enterprise compute environments. Organizations can now buy solutions from Dell that deliver flash at a price point equivalent to that of legacy hard disk drives (HDD). What’s more, Dell storage solutions are delivered in a proven architecture that addresses all of the characteristics enterprises require for mission-critical applications, including resiliency, reliability, simplified manageability, agility and simplified scalability.
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Organizations won’t need the performance benefits of flash for all workloads and applications. But now that flash is enterprise-ready, it is important for IT to isolate and address those particular workloads and environments where flash can deliver the most significant benefits to the business. What are those applications and workloads? Here are four to consider:
Highly virtualized environments: A term that often comes up when discussing storage for virtual environments is the “I/O blender effect.” TechTarget characterizes this as a phenomenon that degrades storage performance. It happens when multiple virtual machines send their I/O streams to a hypervisor for processing. I/O processes that might otherwise have been relatively sequential now become random, putting undue pressure on rotational storage devices. Flash solves the I/O blender effect and eliminates the bottleneck that impacts performance and latency in highly virtual environments that use traditional HDD storage solutions.
Online transaction processing: Flash storage delivers the biggest boost in performance when it is used in high-transactional workloads with random I/O. That means OLTP systems running today’s e-commerce websites, store registers and ATM machines and other systems built on ever-growing databases are a perfect fit for flash storage solutions. While flash can be absolutely critical in addressing the IOPS challenges of OLTP, at some point the hot data in an OLTP environment will eventually become cold data and will need to move to a lower storage tier and eventually to an archive. The ideal solution for OLTP is one that allows the organization to deploy all-flash storage where necessary but also have an architecture that supports hybrid flash as well as HDD-based storage.
Data analytics: Data analytics strains the storage infrastructure’s capacity and performance. In analytics-based workloads, the storage infrastructure is typically dealing with a massive amount of data as well as the need to deliver unprecedented performance levels in IOPS, throughput and latency. The closer the organization can come to delivering analytics in real time, the more innovative it can be in delivering enhanced insight to decision-makers, employees, customers and other users. The answer to the storage challenges posed by data analytics is to deploy a storage solution that seamlessly combines the performance benefits of flash technology along with the capacity benefits of traditional HDDs.
Virtual desktop infrastructure: VDI environments place particular demands on the storage infrastructure, partly because of the variable and volatile nature of their workloads. One of the biggest challenges in VDI environments is dealing with boot storms, which typically occur when a large number of users are concurrently booting up, logging in or logging out. In an ideal storage environment, you want to deliver the performance of flash storage during these boot storms, but not be forced to use flash during slower periods of demand. Flash-optimized solutions from Dell enable automated tiering between flash and HDDs to optimize performance and capacity. Another important point to consider in VDI environments is the user experience. You want to make sure your storage solution is enterprise-ready and resilient, mitigating any storage I/O bottlenecks that might negatively impact the user experience.
Now that flash storage is both enterprise-ready and much more affordable, it’s time to consider using flash for your most performance-intensive workloads and applications. Not sure where to begin? Try the four use cases discussed here as a starting point.
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