Depending on the use case and the personal bias of the IT organizations involved, the one thing that is for certain is that IT organizations are making greater use of solid-state drives for caching and primary storage. The challenge is deciding whether to move to an all-Flash array or rely on a hybrid approach that spans both SSDs and traditional hard disk drives (HDDs).
Looking to hedge its bets either way, Tintri today unveiled an all-Flash array that complements its existing line of hybrid storage arrays. Chuck Dubuque, senior director of product and solution marketing for Tintri, says the Tintri VMstore T5000 All-Flash series comes in a 2u form factor that provides access to up to 1.4 PB of storage at speeds of up to 4 million IOPs in a single rack. Designed to store up to 5,000 virtual machines locally and 100,000 virtual machines running on a server, Dubuque says Tintri storage arrays differ from other offerings in that they are optimized for virtual servers. As such, unlike traditional storage arrays, there are no LUNs or volumes to be managed.
However, Dubuque notes that capability also makes the decision as to whether to deploy an all-Flash array or hybrid storage system more nuanced. Dubuque says the hybrid storage arrays from Tintri that cost less than an all-Flash array are already optimized to make sure that primary data lands on Flash storage. As a result, the only time it really makes sense to use an all-Flash array is with applications that are especially hungry for Flash storage performance.
In the end, Dubuque says Tintri expects IT organizations to deploy both all-Flash and hybrid storage arrays. The challenge will be figuring out what the right economic mix of storage arrays needs to be for any given environment.
As for the data center itself, the one thing that is clear is that usage of Flash storage should reduce the amount of physical space consumed by storage, reduce the amount of heat generated, and eliminate the need to worry about where any particular piece of data lands on an HDD in order to optimize performance. For those reasons alone, the total savings from SSDs goes well beyond the cost per gigabyte of the storage medium itself.