While server and desktop virtualisation have swept through the datacentre, storage has responded by the adoption of flash storage.
With its low latency it is the ideal medium to cope with the large volumes of random I/O generated by virtualised environments. At the same time flash is also well-suited to the performance requirements of application databases and webscale computing.
Here we look back over the op flash storage stories of 2014, including the key trends of flash deployment, the triumph (for now) of hybrid flash, new ways flash is being made into products such as EMC’s “rack-scale flash” and so-called memory channel storage.
There are also comprehensive surveys of the all-flash and hybrid flash marketplaces, as well as explainer articles of flash fundamentals
The TechTarget IT Priorities Survey found that more than one third of IT departments had implemented flash storage and a majority were on course to deploy SSD in 2014.
While many have implemented flash storage, most that have deployed it have put it in existing arrays or in servers. With all-flash arrays very much a minority interest, will they achieve mainstream status before flash become obsolete?
Midway through 2014 EMC bought DSSD and announced it would productise so-called “rack-scale flash”, which packs PCIe flash cards in a super-dense configuration to create a new type of solid state appliance.
Meanwhile, flash popped up in other new formats, with so-called memory channel storage (pictured) marrying persistent memory from flash with memory card slot protocols to achieve incredibly low latency close to server CPUs.
Flash storage for the enterprise was developed out of consumer memory and still largely exists within a market aimed at smartphones and cameras. For that reason, developments in flash technology work against enterprise use to some extent and flash will one day be superceded by another solid state technology. But which one?
The big storage array makers – driven by innovative startups – have scrambled to gain all-flash offerings in their product lines and bought ground-up developed product or retrofitted flash to existing arrays. Here we survey the state of the all-flash market among the big six storage players in 2014.
The driving force for flash innovation has come from the startups. Here we run the rule over all-flash arrays from the innovative newcomers in 2014.
Most IT departments that have deployed flash have installed it alongside spinning disk. The big array makers have re-jigged their products to allow for this, and in some cases have optimised controllers to make the best of the advantages of flash. Here we look at the forays of the big six storage suppliers into the hybrid flash market.
Computer Weekly regularly provides back-to-basics guides to storage technology. Here was explain flash fundamentals, including where to deploy flash, all-flash or hybrid, server-side flash, MLC vs SLC, and more.
Here we look at how flash storage works and lift the lid on why flash endurance is an issue, why writes are more troublesome than reads, why flash needs sophisticated software to make it work well.