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June 18th - Developing Prospects For Flash Storage In The Data Center

It was back in the year 2000 that the enterprise standard 15K rpm speed hard drive was first introduced. Before that, 7200 rpms was a fast as your data would ever be read, but then again, the demands for data in those days were not quite what they are now in this bits and bytes heavy Internet age. Data giants like Facebook and YouTube werenít even around until 2004 and 2005, respectively. Considering this obvious discrepancy in data demand, it seems strange that the industry has yet to reach the technological glory of the 30K rpm hard drive. Especially considering the kind of change that the IT industry has seen in those 15 years. Well, historically speaking, when a technology hits a wall, itís usually an indicator of an impending replacement technology.

Enter the Solid State Drive. While surely some were certain that the 30K drive would one day arrive and abolish all of our read and write woes, it may be that the true savior is not a rotating drive at all. However, for most the flash is not quite an ideal replacement for rotating drives just yet. This is mostly due to the fact that the technology is still fairly young by comparison and consequently, fairly expensive next to rotating drives. As the technology develops and becomes cheaper to manufacture, data center managers and IT staff will be able to revel in a new wealth of performance in their everyday computing but, until then, there other options that allow users to take advantage of all that SSDs have to offer without taking advantage of their wallets.

There are many storage systems that leverage SSDs on the market today. Most of these systems have a mixture of both flash and rotating storage and sophisticated architectures that allow SSDs to be leveraged where they are most useful for optimal performance. You can expect to see varying levels of features with these systems and should pay close attention to your specific needs. For instance, if your systems are primarily handling Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) applications where a large numbers of users participate in many small transactions, a more flash-heavy system will most likely be required to reach sub-millisecond response times for your queries. Obviously, your system of choice should reflect your task load economically. You definitely donít want to implement SSDs blindly. Doing your research can do wonders for your workflow and save you from later headaches.

In 2015 alone, new uses for storage were invented that werenít around the years before including new sensor data, video files, medical images, and geographic data (GIS) and mobility data from billions of cellphones and tablets. All of this data is reflects business, and businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve are going to need faster storage solutions in the years to come. Thereís no sense in waiting up for 30K rotating drives, investing in flash storage now may be the best option.