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All Flash vs. Hybrid Storage Arrays: When to Use What

As solid state storage has grown in popularity, all kinds of different information has hit the market as competing storage vendors aim to become The Next Big Thing in the storage space.  A number of companies in recent years have staked their claims around solid state, but have done so in different ways, leading to the emergences of several distinct storage niches.  Two of these niches — all flash storage and hybrid storage — have skyrocketed in popularity and each fights a fierce battle with the other.  So, who is right?

Before I answer that question, remember that hybrid storage is a combination of both solid state storage and traditional hard drives in which the solid state disks are used as both a performance tier as well as a massive read and write cache.

Both are Right, But…

In reality, there is a place for both all-flash and hybrid storage in the market, says Rob Commins, Vice President of Marketing for Tegile.  “We like all flash… we have all an all flash system called our HA2800, but at our core, we’re hybrid people.”  In fact, in taking a look at Tegile’s lineup, it’s clear that the company has focused on the hybrid side of the argument.  In fact, even with the company’s all-flash HA2800 array, Tegile has hedged its bets a bit.  To the HA2800, says Commins, “customers can optionally add spinning disk on the back end to resolve dollars per gigabyte.”

And that’s really where the argument comes to: the dollars and cents of the storage equation, particularly since storage is such a significant purchase for most organizations.  It can be difficult to decide which direction to go.  Should you go all-flash and get raw speed or should you go hybrid and get a combination of speed and capacity?

Tegile has some answers there, too.

For the vast majority of data, hard disk-based or accelerated rotational storage is more than suitable, and will be for the foreseeable future.  According to Commins, Gartner estimates that only 3% to 10% of customer data needs to be on flash and, in 2017, hybrid storage will be a huge market — $26 billion — while all-flash will be around $4 billion total.

For the vast majority of data, hard disk-based or accelerated rotational storage is more than suitable, and will be for the foreseeable future.

As mentioned, Tegile understands that there is a time and a place for all-flash storage, too, hence the HA2800.  However, even with the hybrid systems in the product lineup, Commins indicates that customers, when necessary, can get the benefits of all flash goodness in those cases when it makes sense.  This is achieved by using what Tegile terms as FlashVols.  FlashVols are volumes that are pinned to the solid state storage in the array.  This allows FlashVol-based applications to run at maximum performance without the potential for delay due to caching algorithms or tiering polices that are necessary to move data to spinning disk.

So, it sounds like hybrid storage has a very long, very healthy life ahead.

Learn much more about Tegile’s hybrid approach to flash storage by watching the video.  Should you have any questions or comments, leave them below.

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