How to avoid flash storage buyer’s remorse

Vikram Ramesh, Senior Director of Product and Digital Marketing –

You’ve heard the hype around flash storage. This technology has seen enormous popularity in enterprise storage because of the many benefits it provides, particularly around performance. Flash storage starts operating quickly and maintains high performance speeds throughout operation, which supports applications that need to access data fast. In addition, flash has a long shelf life because the equipment that houses it is more durable than traditional storage equipment. Flash storage technology offers a solution that is efficient, predictable and scalable – three desirable attributes in the enterprise data center.

But all of these benefits, of course, come at a price. Flash storage is expensive. Sure, you’re getting better performance, but often businesses lay out the money for flash technology only to discover that the speeds they’re paying for aren’t necessary for day-to-day operations. For this reason, enterprises that invest in all-flash arrays in the data center often find themselves experiencing flash storage buyer’s remorse. Oftentimes, enterprises have to choose between performance and capacity and they shouldn’t have to, especially when underlying issues that are going unnoticed could be the problem.

Following are three ways to make the most of your flash investment:


  1. Know your application performance. Not all applications are created equal, and flash is best suited to supporting those applications that are read-intensive. Further, understanding latency needs and the I/O workload profile, including the block size, can help you predict the impact of flash storage on your application.
  1. Test drive before you buy. Your flash storage provider should make it easy for your team to test out flash arrays before you make the costly commitment to buy. Pre-purchase testing will allow you to set performance benchmarks, but make sure you allow enough time for the test phase. Testing all-flash arrays can be a time-consuming process, and you’ll want to build in enough time to tweak and modify your arrays, as well as analyze your results.
  1. Manage your production environment over time. Since the testing process is done in a lab environment, understand that long-term management after the solution is required. You’ll need to keep an eye on your system performance, noting when the flash technology shows signs of wear and slower speeds. In addition, as your business grows and changes, the application load and I/O requirements of your system will also change, requiring your teams to monitor performance in relation to your established benchmarks.

Flash can be a great addition to a data center environment, whether as a small component or the primary storage technology, but it’s not the end all be all for data centers. If you follow the above guidelines, you will avoid the costly upgrades and eliminate the buyer’s remorse.


Read how infrastructure performance management can help you best optimize your flash investments.