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The Future of Data Storage: Flash Systems?


Steve Hollingsworth, Director at Applied Technologies provides an insight into why he thinks some businesses will choose Flash Systems over Cloud.

As more and more businesses and individuals migrate into the Cloud, it is predicted eventually data storage centres will gradually become a thing of the past. The Cloud believers are waiting for the old churning mass banks of servers tucked away in companies basements to shut down and gather dust, as we all start trying to work out how to use Google Docs.

I am a non-believer!

The Cloud is a fantastic innovation in technology and for some it will prove to be revolutionary in its results. But, not everyone wants to wholly migrate, especially businesses who are used to and working effectively outside the Cloud.

Migration itself for example takes time, and if you choose to use Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Apps, staff will be required to learn how to use new software which will take up valuable time and lower productivity.

This point is illustrated by the fact that many larger organisations are not yet fully moving into the cloud, choosing instead to use a “hybrid” cloud, with core applications hosted by themselves on agile infrastructures, still requiring data storage centres.

The amount of data businesses store and use is growing at a very fast rate with an estimated 45 fold growth of data storage by 2020, this therefore means the majority who still store data physically will continue to require extra storage capacity.

With physical space and power becoming a premium, flash-systems are set to solve these issues. The old style of just throwing more disks into a data centre in order to increase capacity is not only expensive to fund and requires a surplus of space, but in terms of efficiency and energy use it will also prove costly. Replacing out of date data storage technology with Flash Systems will result in an on average drop in environmental damage along with energy costs as a result.

For businesses who require high power processing, Flash Systems represent a quantum leap in performance. Flash is allowing business’ to mine data quickly for immediate business decisions, increase productivity ‘per core’ to reduce license costs, and changing computing in many other ways.

Good business requires maximum productivity which can only really be provided by maximum speed and process management.

Although once installed, Flash Systems are much cheaper to run, I do appreciate they are expensive to set up. However, when a business chooses to invest in a Flash System, it can be gradually introduced, and correctly sized and implemented with hot data, a limited amount of flash can have exponential benefits. Businesses are able to retain their hard disk drives for data retention and Flash Systems can be prioritised to high demand data or high end processes.

This, therefore, invites the introduction of hybrid data storage systems, which combine hard disk drives and Flash Systems to cover a plethora of data storage and operations.

Good business requires maximum productivity which can only really be provided by maximum speed and process management. Flash can deliver this productivity, at costs points perhaps unexpected, and can be implemented as part of a Private or Hybrid cloud, dependent on the application requirements.