At the HP Discover 2015 conference this week, Hewlett-Packard made a stronger case for moving to an all-Flash environment for primary storage via new additions to the HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage family of storage arrays.
Specifically, HP announced a StoreServ 20850 offering that provides up to 3.9 PB of raw flash storage using 1,024 solid-state drives (SSDs) that provide access to over 3.2 million IOPS, and a StoreServ 20800 system that supports up to 6.0 PB of flash and spinning disk storage in a hybrid configuration. Using compression, the StoreServ 20850 can be configured with up to 5.5 PB in a single rack.
At the same time, HP announced that it is pushing the cost of Flash storage in its existing entry-level Flash systems down to $1.50 per usable gigabyte.
Vish Mulchand, director of business intelligence product marketing for HP Storage, says in both instances HP is making Flash storage more accessible in two very different contexts. Bringing down the price of Flash storage obviously makes HP Flash storage more affordable. But Mulchand also notes that the ability to expose anywhere from 3.9 to 5.5 petabytes of data on a Flash system makes it more practical to use Flash as primary storage. In addition, Mulchand notes that it is now more practical to create snapshots of the same data that can reside in Flash, thereby, for example, enabling developers to invoke data residing in Flash without impacting the performance of applications running in production.
All told, HP says that Flash arrays can consume as much as 85 percent less space than a traditional magnetic storage array. That doesn’t necessarily mean that magnetic storage is going away. But Mulchand says it does mean that the usage of Flash and magnetic storage within data center environments is evolving to the point where the role of magnetic storage systems going forward is going to be generally limited to the realm of less expensive secondary storage systems where access to data is not particularly I/O latency sensitive.