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Enterprise Computing: Flash – What We Really Need

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Storagebod had a great comment on the use of Flash Drives in Enterprise arrays.  I’d agree entirely that the vendors have bolted them into existing hardware and as a consequence they’re not working to their most efficient.  

Here’s a prediction – an array which works on fixed “memory”pages that can be placed in cache, SSD, or any level of internal HDD – and offer seamless movement of data up and down this performance stack will let that vendor clean up in the Enterprise Array market.  At that point, the additional cost for Flash Drives will be worth it, as the hardware can be fully utilised and the cost justified.

So will that be the DMX-5, or DMX-V or whatever the next DMX is to be called?  In some respects I hope so.  Enterprise computing needs a real shake up.

P.S.  Posts will be infrequent, of lower quality or non-existent whilst I’m on holiday.

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
  • Rob

    Have you checked out the new “Open Storage” from Sun? The higher end 7410 pretty much does as you say. ZFS stages the first level in memory, writes off to optimised SSD via the ZIL as a second layer and then off to 3rd level disk at a leisurely pace.

    Reading data is the same maximising what’s in the memory and SSD read cache via the L2ARC architecture. I’m seeing some pretty good numbers out of it.

    Cheers, Rob.

  • Brainy


    The interesting thing is, that EMC and Netapp are so quiet about Sun’s Amber Road offering.

    But I’m certain the usual FUD will soon start.

    For our next project I certainly will do a trial on these boxes.

    I’m really pissed, that our EMC storage expansion budget for 2009 is already used, without getting a single GB of storage (sudden performance issues made us buy cache etc…).

    For the same amount of money we spent, I could already have gotten four 7410’s

  • Dan Iacono

    I’m looking to re-architect a SAN with an intelligent storage that does block level tiering. A vendor that does this natively is Compellent and I think NetApp has an interesting twist on this with their Flash Cache accelerator which uses SSD as level 2 cache instead of traditional disk. Haven’t looked at SUN, but it’s definitely worth a look. Any other suggestions?

  • Chris Evans

    Watch this space – I have things planned over the next couple of months.

  • Chris Evans


    Not a lot out there doing block-level tiering other than those you’ve mentioned. What’s your overall goal? Better performance? Cheaper hardware? It may be you can solve your problem in other ways.


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