By Andrew Grimes, Principal Architect for Flash, NetApp
Flash is no longer the new kid on the block. In a relatively short period of time, it has gone from novelty to the primary source of performance in the data center. Furthermore, with traditional 10k spinning hard disk drives (HDDs) going the way of the dinosaur, flash is well on the way to becoming the standard technology for much of our data.
That said, the conventional wisdom that “flash changes everything” simply ain’t so. The imperatives for managing your data on flash remain largely unchanged. You still need to serve data with reliability, to protect your data, and to deliver IT services across a range of requirements, regardless of the media under it. Standardization on flash has not changed that.
What flash has changed, as it has matured, is the way you deliver those services: with greater efficiency and performance, and with the potential for major savings for your organization. In short, the power to manage your data-which is where the real value of the storage resides-is in the software, not the underlying hardware.
The evolution of flash as an enabler of new data management architectures goes hand in hand with other changes sweeping through our industry, most obviously the migration of data to the cloud. Data management is the primary challenge of the cloud era, and especially the hybrid cloud era. Any storage solution using flash shouldn’t isolate you from that industry change. To drive business value, flash needs to support your enterprise data management, both on premises and in the cloud-without compromises.
We have some ideas for how to make that happen.
What “Enterprise-Grade” Flash Really Means
As more enterprise operations move to cloud or hybrid cloud environments, the race is on to deliver enterprise-grade flash. Enterprise-grade flash has data management tools built into the software that can run in any location, on any hardware, to help you manage the lifecycle of your data-from high performance, to capacity, to archive, to data recovery, to cloud data support and everything in between.
In addition to superb storage efficiencies, enterprise-grade flash must deliver:
- A unified architecture that supports both networked-attached storage (NAS) and storage-area network (SAN) protocols
- Scale-out storage with dynamic capacity additions
- Built-in backups
- Cloud-enabled operations for the complete data life cycle
- Quality of service (QoS) to manage and enforce service levels
- Automation and orchestration
- Application integration
- Secure multi-tenancy
- Snapshot copies for on-array backups
- Storage reduction techniques, such as deduplication and thin provisioning
- Synchronous and asynchronous replication
- Storage encryption
All these capabilities are available today in NetApp® All Flash FAS systems, thanks to the powerful data management capabilities of our Data ONTAP® storage operating system. Because our AFF8000 All Flash FAS systems run the Data ONTAP OS, they automatically inherit the full complement of enterprise-grade capabilities within their all-flash architecture.
The ability to manage all tiers of data with/without flash and deliver IT as a service without breaking your business with a flash silo. The ability to add cloud support for Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and IBM Softlayer without layering several other technologies on top. The ability to use Cloud ONTAP to extend your flash infrastructure into the cloud without the pre-purchase of an expensive software replication system and risking data exposure. That is enterprise-grade flash the NetApp way.
Flash as a Service
Enterprise IT has become about delivering services to the organization. Those services can be co-located off site or delivered on premises, or by a service provider, or in the cloud. Modern IT has to support all methods of service delivery so that your data is not stranded.
Flash needs to be a part of this service delivery model, providing Tier 0, Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, data recovery, archive and cloud data support. Your flash storage can’t imprison your data. Your shared, multi-tenant flash arrays must work with everything in your IT environment.
Benefits of Enterprise-Grade Flash
Enterprise-grade flash delivers a host of benefits that make it worth putting to work for you. These include increased storage efficiency, power and space cooling savings, improved organizational efficiency, scalability and reduced costs. Even better, enterprise-grade flash is available today, as is proven by our All Flash FAS systems.
Another big part of the story of our evolving industry is the Data Fabric, enabled by NetApp. The Data Fabric works with our flash solutions to give you cradle-to-grave, on-premises-to-cloud life-cycle support for your data.
I hope you’ll join us at the NetApp Insight™ conference in Las Vegas in October. We can talk about how NetApp enterprise-grade flash, with cloud enablement, can help address your current and future data issues.
The market is changing. Are you ready?
Andy Grimes has been in the IT industry for 15 years. He worked as a business systems architect, systems engineer, and chief technology officer for healthcare at NetApp before becoming NetApp’s principal architect for flash. Previously, he worked for IBM developing and testing storage technology, generating four storage technology patents.
Have your registered for NetApp Insight yet? This technical conference provides customers and partners a chance to dive deep into the trends and technology shaping the future of storage and data management, starting with how to build a Data Fabric. Learn how to meet your data challenges from NetApp engineers and thousands of the brightest IT innovators. Register for Insight today!