Fast, scalable and secure

Channel Post speaks with Savitha Bhaskar, COO at Condo Protego on the trends for adoption of all-flash solutions within enterprises of all sizes and what this means for the overall flash market.

What does the rise of flash solutions mean for storage industry?

Flash storage has rapidly evolved from consumer electronics to data centers, with recent technological advancements in denser, vertical and multi-layer cells leading to higher-capacity multi-terabyte flash drives. As a result, flash storage is becoming particularly effective in environments that need high performance and low latency, especially virtualized servers and desktop environments.

On the storage vendor side, it is easier for vendors to support all-flash storage compared to hard disk drives, because all-flash storage has lower disk failure rates due to no moving parts.

End-user organizations can deploy flash storage as internal storage and within hyper-converged infrastructure, or within external storage in all-flash arrays or hybrid flash arrays.

In the Middle East, we are seeing strong end-user demand for Dell EMC all-flash storage solutions such as Unity, XtremIO, and VMAX All-Flash and VMware VxRail all-flash configuration.

What are the main factors behind the growth of all-flash market?

The major factors contributing to the growth of all-flash market would be its speed and cost. As Middle East organizations need to process higher performance workloads within their IT budgets, all-flash storage is seeing strong demand thanks to its high-speed and dropping cost.

What trends are shaping up the regional market for all-flash solutions in Middle East?

In the Middle East, among the fastest-growing industry verticals adopting flash storage are banking and finance, healthcare, and government and public sector. We are seeing adoption of flash storage in this region by both large enterprises, and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

While often large enterprises have the innovative CIOs who can outline digital transformation strategies with flash storage, small- and medium-sized enterprises are also beginning to benefit as their smaller IT budgets are ideally-positioned to adopt flash storage.

What are the benefits of all-flash storage solutions?

In comparison to hard disk drives, flash storage provides simpler and faster storage, richer data services, and reduced footprint, power and cooling costs.

According to industry reports, flash can have 90 percent less latency than hard disk drives, with 10,000 to 20,000 IOPS (input/output operations per second) compared to 200 IOPS of hard disk storage. Flash storage’s new features and functionalities, and gradual cost reduction are leading to strong adoption in the region.

While flash storage delivers higher performance than hard disk drives, some CIOs may be hesitant to adopt flash storage based on its dollar-per-Gigabyte cost. However, taking a wider view of total cost of ownership – including the data compression, server consolidation, and lower power costs – flash storage can be more affordable for most Middle East organizations.

Are all-flash arrays difficult to implement and manage?

All-flash storage arrays are no more or less difficult to implement and manage compared to hard disk drives. However, all-flash is easier to install, scale up quickly for expanded capacity, and to perform routine upgrades.

As an example, flash solutions such as Dell EMC VMAX All-Flash can be integrated with cloud solutions from leading vendors such as Microsoft, OpenStack, Oracle and VMware. Flash storage is also a key component of hyper-converged infrastructure such as VMware VxRail which is fully-integrated, pre-tested, and pre-configured, making it easier for organizations to manage.

How secure is all-flash technology?

Flash technology is as secure, and has as much protection and reliability as hard disk drives. Industry-leading vendors such as Dell EMC offer multiple levels of competent protection.

For example, Dell EMC VMAX emphasizes availability, redundancy and security with no single points of failure (compared to hard disk drives’ moving parts), a mirrored cache, fault detection and isolation to prevent the passing of bad data, the ability to survive two key failures, and having integrated data protection with Dell EMC ProtectPoint backup and restore.

Middle East organizations that are implementing digital transformation agendas should work with vendors and partners to ensure their data centers are secure facilities, that they have cyber security and data loss prevention systems in place, and determine which staff can access which data in order to ensure complete security.

Why should enterprises adopt all-flash arrays?

Business competitiveness is the main driver for Middle East organizations adopting all-flash storage. In the digital economy and Internet of Things era, the speed and manner in which organizations manage and leverage their data is vital. Flash storage and hyper-converged infrastructure can provide organizations with greater efficiency and responsiveness to drive real-time decision-making. Flash storage is also particularly effective in backup and disaster recovery, as it has no hard disk drive moving parts. Organizations can also use flash storage for high-availability business continuity and disaster recovery, including copy data management and cloud tiering.

At the same time, flash storage may not be the right solution for every organization, depending on the workloads. Middle East CIOs should work with channel partners first to develop a digital transformation strategy, and then see which flash storage solutions best meet their business needs.