Faced with the continuing challenge of runaway data growth, most organizations today have come to recognize the value of tiered storage. It’s a simple concept — you match data value to storage costs. Important data that must be accessed frequently goes on the fastest (and, consequently, most expensive) storage.
For years, storage tiering involved three levels of hard-drive storage. However, increasingly affordable and blazing fast all-flash storage arrays now enable organizations to create a top-line “tier zero” for their most critical data access requirements.
Flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs) use nonvolatile storage technology that doesn’t require power to retain data, making them smaller, faster and more durable than the highest-quality hard-disk drives (HDDs). By using memory instead of spinning magnetic disks to store and retrieve data, SSDs also enable read/write response times that are exponentially faster than the best HDDs. With SSDs, access times come down to as little as 20 microseconds — 250 times faster than HDDs.
This is a critical improvement given the performance requirements of today’s storage infrastructure. Mobile, cloud, analytics, artificial intelligence and other modern workloads are extremely sensitive to any delays in data access. All-flash arrays that until recently were considered niche products are now mainstream solutions for organizations undertaking IT modernization and digital transformation efforts.
According to recent analysis by the MarketsandMarkets research firm, the overall market for all-flash arrays is expected to reach $17.8 billion by 2023, up from $5.9 billion in 2018 and representing a compound annual growth rate of 24.53 percent. Dropping prices are helping drive sales. Storage market analysts with TrendForce predict that contract prices for both 512GB and 1TB SSDs will drop below 10 cents per GB in the closing months of 2019. That would be an all-time-low for SSD pricing.
HPE has been one of the major players in all-flash storage with its 3PAR and Nimble arrays, but the company recently boosted its profile in the market with the launch of its HPE Primera platform. Offering the same reliability as HPE’s other all-flash solutions, Primera also delivers significant performance enhancements that make it ideal for tier zero storage.
The platform has an “all-active” or “active-active” architecture in which the two storage controllers that run the array’s storage software are continually receiving read/write requests and conducting other processing tasks. This contrasts with the more common “active-passive” design where only one controller is active and the other is held in reserve for failover. This design feature gives Primera massive parallelism and multi-node performance to accelerate applications.
Extraordinary availability also makes Primera ideal for tier zero. The arrays are deeply integrated with HPE’s InfoSight predictive analytics platform, which leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to deliver autonomous, self-managing data storage. InfoSight collects data from millions of sensors across HPE’s globally connected installed base and then uses cloud-based machine learning and predictive analytics to identify unusual workload patterns and implement resolutions.
HPE is so confident of InfoSight’s self-management features that it is offering a 100 percent data availability guarantee.
Today’s organizations are increasingly reliant upon a range of applications that can’t tolerate storage latency. Flash-based tier zero storage platforms are meant to provide the high-speed data access these applications require. With its performance enhancements and extreme availability, HPE’s Primera is an ideal platform for delivering low-latency storage access for mission-critical workloads.