A hybrid storage solution comprises of SSD drives and hard disk drives in a single drive enclosure. They deliver performance by combining SSD as a fast write/read cache and spinning disks for high capacity storage. A hybrid storage solution is a far more affordable option than a 100% flash based storage system. A hybrid storage solution typically moves in-frequently accessed data to slower moving storage tiers in addition to this they utilise QoS to ensure that the highest performing data resides on the fastest tier.
Whilst the price of an all flash storage system is reducing each year, the increase in disk capacities is also rising with 10TB available in 2015/16. By combining expensive SSD drives and lower cost disk drives provide the high data densities required to store increasing amounts of data, whilst at the same time delivering fast response times to the information.
The hype around flash storage is certainly getting attention, but once all the hype has faded does an all flash storage system make sense? Clearly, if you have an application that writes and reads data at a phenomenal rate then all flash is for you, but a vast majority of businesses need to store huge amounts of data and require an impressively fast response time to deliver the data and it is this application that hybrid storage fulfils.
When purchasing an all flash or hybrid flash solution, the network plays a significant part in delivering the information in the shortest possible time frame. Therefore a key point to consider is upgrading the network and controller cards to handle the new storage platform before you spend a significant investment in faster storage when it could be a network problem that is causing your current system to under perform.
Clearly spending a significant amount of money on a flash solution is a huge investment and it will probably be the most important part of your infrastructure. Some questions you need to ask of your flash vendor are as follows:
If you are considering a hybrid storage solution please call us on 0207 193 5760 for impartial advice.