Don't be afraid of flash
seb_ 060000QVK2 Visits (6527)
I recently read a wikibon article I must have missed two and a half months ago when it was published. Scott Lowe wrote IBM’s FlashSystem Isn’t For Mainstream CIOs…yet. In summary he appreciates IBM's efforts to drive flash technology forward but he clearly sees all-flash arrays being in the early adopters phase and only interesting for special clients with special workloads (other than "mainstream CIOs"). The world doesn't seem to be ready for flash.
But it really is.
Maybe Scott changed his mind meanwhile. Since April a lot of material, press releases and announcements were published, blogs were written and IBM Edge sessions added to the picture: IBM FlashSystem is not alone for all-flash environments. Sure, there are use cases for that and we might see more of these environments in the future. But while Texas Memory Systems promoted their RamSan arrays as the ultimate boost for selected and very demanding and critical applications running completely on all-flash, IBM put them into a totally new context.
A flash to boost them all!
To leverage the immense performance improvements of flash technology for "mainstream workloads" IBM brings together the perfect couple:
IBM FlashSystem + IBM
Especially many of those "mainstream workloads" show an interesting characteristic: You don't need to run them completely on all-flash arrays. Only a small portion - the really hot data - has to be brought on flash to boost the overall performance of the application far beyond the capabilities of pure disk arrays. By utilizing the Easy Tier function of the Storwize family the whole storage environment can benefit from an IBM FlashSystem all-flash array without the need to dump the current disk-based hardware. In addition the Storwize family provides the full set of modern storage features Scott is looking for in his blog. Thin provisioning, compression, snapshots, synchronous and asynchronous mirroring and many others can be used for all-flash arrays just like for any other virtualized storage - but with much better latency and throughput.
So in fact IBM FlashSystem is not a geeky technology for sometime in the distant future.
It is indeed for mainstream CIOs...now!
More about the perfect couple by IBM's Barry Whyte, Virtual Storage Performance Architect: "IBM SAN Volume Controller and IBM FlashSystem 820: Best Practices and Performance Capabilities".
Update (Aug 2nd 2013):
There is a whole new Redbook called Impl