Flash Arrays are changing the IT game for businesses
Bourgeoning flash-array startup Pure Storage announced the launch of its latest all-flash array disk on May 16th. The flash array will include upgrades that will feature enhancements for high availability, as well as some encryption and FlashCare I/O management. This release is after the company sent out upwards of 100 units for beta testing, according to Pure Storage President Matt Kixmoeller. The latest release is being marketed as the second-generation flash array.
This disk is a part of the 300 Series of flash arrays, but the new release comes with some new bells and whistles. This includes multiple clustered storage controllers managed within the InfiniBand protocol environment, as well as an option to swap in and out flash drive and RAM modules. Additionally, the array allows for seamless integration with VMware and vStorage.
About Flash Storage Arrays
All-flash array storage is a relatively new technology. Flash storage arrays, leveraging flash storage technology, are specifically built for enterprise-level storage in a data center environment. The big idea behind flash storage arrays is to provide powerful support for I/O processes like clouding computing, server virtualization, database management and rich analytics. In the case of Pure Storage, these arrays are designed and packaged in shelves of solid-state drives (SSDs). Both Samsung and STEC primarily manufacture these SSDs.
Since this technology was only recently introduced in Summer 2011, the number of flash storage array manufacturers is limited. Right now, Pure Storage is the main developer and manufacturer of flash-based array disks.
Flash Storage Arrays vs. Traditional Disk Arrays
The main difference between the two array types has to do with disk technology. Pure Storage’s FlashArray technology leverages flash disk technology, as opposed to hard disk. A recent article at CRN.com indicated that the new Pure Storage release is not merely a flash-based appliance that is both non-scalable and expensive, but a legitimate, full-fledged array. This means faster, seamless flash disk integration that results in high availability for enterprise-level organizations.
Essentially, flash storage arrays work exactly like traditional disk arrays. The only difference is that they are using flash technology to store and manage enterprise datasets in a data center environment.
It was expected that all-flash array storage solutions would be more expensive to use than traditional disk arrays. But flash-based arrays are being priced at the same price as traditional mechanical disk arrays. In the case of Pure Storage, this is only possible because the first flash storage arrays were built from scratch with multi-level cell (MLC) technology. MLC flash technology when compared to larger, more powerful options like enhanced multi-level cell (eMLC) and single-level cell (SLC) technology is much less expensive.
The bottom line is mechanical disk arrays are on their way out. With new flash-based arrays that are stable, scalable and easy to implement with complex I/O processes like the ever-growing cloud computing industry, it’s not hard to imaging that companies like Pure Storage could usher in the end of the age of hard disk array systems.
This is a guest post by Lindsey Harper Mac who is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing about business and technology. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree. You can follow her on Twitter @HarperMac11.