Telecommunications and flash: Answering the call for performance

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It would be difficult to find an industry that has experienced as much change in the past few decades as the telecommunications industry. Some may still remember landline telephones and jussb6-flash-pic1t a few major carriers nationwide. Now we use mobile devices provided by several carriers, not only to talk, but also for navigation shopping, banking and watching movies, among hundreds of other operations.

Extraordinary transformation

Technology and business exist in a symbiotic relationship, each constantly influencing the other. Technology has reshaped the telecom industry, and evolving telecom business opportunities and customer preferences continue to drive the underlying technology infrastructure.

While offering tremendous customer and revenue growth opportunities to nimble telecom operators, user demands for ever-increasing functionality and the number of software applications available to them place stress on their IT infrastructures. Transaction response time and bandwidth requirements increase. Only very low-latency and high input/output operations per second (IOPS) flash storage can provide the extreme performance, near instantaneous responsiveness, operational efficiency and enterprise reliability needed to capture and maintain competitive advantage in this very dynamic industry.

Need for speed

Let’s take a closer look into just one example of the telecom industry’s need for speed: prepaid billing applications. Prepaid transaction volumes can reach the peak loads of many millions of busy-hour call attempts (BCHA) for telecom service providers. Applications in this space demand that every transaction be recorded to non-volatile media. Transactions must be completed near instantaneously without delaying connections. Response time (latency) of storage solutions is the single most important factor that can limit an entire system’s performance.

At higher BHCA loads, the response time of these billing applications becomes bound by the latency of the storage devices. Years ago, service levels simply could not be met much less maintained using disk storage, and then only at extraordinarily high infrastructure investment and costs of operation. But now, neither the increased costs nor the adverse effects on customer experience of slower system performance can be tolerated by telecom service providers who want to succeed.

Parallel innovation paths

The innovation trajectories of telecom and flash collided years ago, and now they are deeply entwined. Telecom infrastructures subject storage to intense operational pressures (always on, massive data volumes, extreme performance requirements and unrelenting customer demands) that actually multiply the operational cost advantages of flash: lower power consumption, greater storage density and better reliability. Plus, the purchase price of flash has continued to decrease, making it more economically attractive each year.

Now we are also seeing the benefits of software-defined storage brought together with flash. Data compression and deduplication, automatic tiering, encryption, storage virtualization and recently hybrid cloud connectivity, among many other services and features, have been integrated into flash arrays. All of these capabilities make flash easier to implement and administer. In fact, you can even monitor your flash storage from your mobile phone!

Answering the call for performance

The telecom industry needs high performance infrastructure. It’s a sector where the value of cost-effective speed is more easily recognized than almost any other, which explains why telecom companies were some of the earliest adopters of flash storage. Customer demands are fierce and fickle. Competition is extreme. Technology lies at the heart of the business. This is an environment in which flash thrives. Flash is answering the call for performance in the world of telecommunications.

Explore how your business can achieve real-time visibility, boost performance, reduce costs and gain deeper insights with all-flash technology.


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