The UK-based air traffic control organization, National Air Traffic Services (NATS) recently announced they were making the leap to flash storage for their cloud-based infrastructure. The big idea is that by moving data to a flash-based storage array system they can increase flexibility, scalability and efficiency of operations. According to a representative over at NATS, the cloud infrastructure would improve collaboration within their organization, and reduce system failures all across the board. The thing is, they’re actually right. Not just that, but many companies are following suit. Why? Flash storage is both lightning fast and becoming increasingly affordable for both large and enterprise-level companies to adopt.
Demystifying Flash Storage
- The Reliability of Flash Storage – Some of flash storage’s harshest critics have often claimed that it just isn’t ready for the enterprise space. They claim that flash storage, in its current state, cannot handle large sets of data outputted by large-scale, enterprise-level organizations. Studies by both Google and CMU indicate that the alternative to flash storage – hard disk storage – is actually far less reliable than flash storage will ever be. Hard disk failure rates range anywhere from 6% to 13%, depending on the usage of each storage system. According to Intel, organizations can expect up to an 87% drive failure reduction rate upon switching over to flash storage arrays.
- High Availability (HA) – One of the primary concerns in IT circles is whether or not flash storage can maintain the high availability levels previously known with hard disk arrays. Many analysts answer that concern with a resounding, “Yes, and it can do much better.” With the rise of legitimate all-flash storage arrays, flash storage picks up where hard disk storage left off. This includes sophisticated levels of high availability. With new companies releasing their all-flash storage arrays, high availability is achieved through fully redundant hardware, data replication and deduplication components. This all results in top shelf uptime levels for enterprise-level organizations.
- High Performance & Affordability – One myth that is most commonly perpetuated throughout enterprise-level IT circles is this idea that high performance and affordability cannot exist in a single platform. The idea is that if you make an affordable flash solid state storage solution, then you have to skimp on technology somewhere down the line. A flash storage system is either expensive and high performing, or affordable and glitchy. Flash array engineers have taken this to heart, and have begun building flash storage systems that are equal parts affordable and high performing.
It’s no secret that flash storage adoption is a hotly debated topic. But as time goes on, and as more internationally recognized organizations are adopting flash storage on a large scale, it’s becoming evident that solid state storage is the way to go. At this point, implementing flash storage is common sense. If you can speed up your infrastructure, stabilize your data management processes and do it all at an affordable price, why wouldn’t you? It’s time for enterprise-level organizations of all stripes to follow NATS’s lead.