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Demartek Commentary: The Value of Flash for SMB Application Acceleration

August 2016

Flash storage is computer storage that uses non-volatile memory technology (NAND flash) for the storage media rather than traditional magnetic media such as hard disk drives (HDD) or tape drives. Flash storage has revolutionized the IT industry and is now deployed in everything from small mobile devices to data center equipment found in large enterprises. Large enterprises have strongly embraced the use of flash-based media in data center storage over the last year or two because of its tremendous performance benefits, lack of moving parts, low noise, low weight, smaller footprint and reduced power and cooling needs.

In the past, flash-based media was prohibitive for most businesses due to cost. However, as pricing for flash technology has continued to drop, it has reached the point where deploying flash capacity is surprisingly affordable — especially in small amounts. This is the concept behind entry hybrid flash storage systems where flash is deployed alongside HDD technology.

Additionally, with flash storage, there are new metrics that need to be considered. Price per gigabyte for raw capacity should not be the only adoption criterion. Price per IOPS and IOPS per watt also need to be examined. For some time, we at Demartek have been saying that “flash storage is dollars per gigabyte and pennies per IOPS while hard disk drives are pennies per gigabyte and dollars per IOPS.” With the prices of flash dropping, the cost of flash is no longer dollars per gigabyte. When considering IOPS per watt, flash storage is at least 100x better than traditional hard disk drive technology.


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The Value of Flash for SMB Application Acceleration