Say Goodbye to Hard Disk Drives: Why Your SQL Server Needs an All-Flash Array

Posted by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on Sep 14, 2020 8:00:00 AM

More and more organizations are choosing structured query language servers to power their databases. Why?

They partner industry-leading performance with incredible security and give you the power to do things like:

  • Implement and make the most of big data analytics.
  • Incorporate artificial intelligence.
  • Eliminate the need for data movement.
  • Run real-time analytics.
  • Increase security and protect data even when it’s in use.
  • Enter the world of visual data exploration and interactive analysis.

If you’re trying to make the most of an SQL server on an outdated legacy hard disk drive, you won’t see the same benefits, and it will require a great deal of maintenance and upkeep as well. Here’s why you need to bid farewell to your hard disk drive solutions and say hello to an all-flash array.

The Inconvenient Task of Performance Tuning on an Outdated Hard Disk Drive

With traditional, performance-based hard disk drives, there’s a lot of maintenance that needs to happen to optimize your SQL server. Since hard disk drives have moving components that must shift into place, performance issues like bottlenecking start to creep up. Hard disk drives need to be tuned and monitored to squeeze out whatever performance you can get from them.

Managing and monitoring your SQL server on older hard disk drives can be a labor-intensive process that requires considerable time and effort on the part of your database and storage administrators. A database engineer must calculate and organize a plan for your hardware allocation according to its uses. With outdated hard disk drives, this has to happen to configure multiple SQL servers into a single machine for any modicum of scalability and performance.

What elements must be reviewed for performance tuning of older hard disk drives?

Input/output operations per second, or IOPS for short, defines the set ratio for the number of operations performed by your storage platform in one second. This is how you measure the ability to read and write operations on a particular storage device, and it needs to be regularly checked with legacy hardware. The higher the IOPS number, the better the performance.

Several different IOPS factors can affect your SQL server’s performance, which needs to be regularly monitored for performance tuning.

  • On many hard disk drives, if the storage has more input/output requests than the maximum limit, additional IOs are placed in a disk queue. This can happen when large read/write operations are underway alongside a routine task. This can create latencies. The only way to prevent this with older hard disk drives is to continuously monitor the average disk queue for performance tuning.
  • Performance tuning is different for “read” operations and “write” operations. This means that your database administrator must manually choose premium hardware for maximum performance when write operations are high for better IOPS.
  • The average input/output latency might need to be fine-tuned. A read operation should be completed in less than 15 milliseconds. Anything longer than this, and the disk queue and hardware performance need to be verified.
  • If your physical disk is partitioned into separate entities, that can affect how your IO is organized. Not every drive may have the same IOPS calculation—which means your operation team will have to monitor each individual portion of the disk.

This is just a small portion of the heavy workload heaped upon database administrators who are faced with performance tuning a SQL server on a legacy hard disk drive. Adding in complications like using multiple disks for reliability and redundancy only further compounds the matter. It can quickly turn into a full-time job!

How an All-Flash Array Can Make All the Difference

In our professional opinion, the only hardware that truly makes sense for any SQL server, including a Microsoft SQL Server, is an all-flash array, which can eliminate most of the performance tuning maintenance required with older, legacy storage solutions. Here’s why:

Get Reliable Performance and Low Latency

Hard disk systems have lots of constraints when it comes to IOPS performance. They are also incredibly latent environments since drives have to rotate platters into the correct position to read the right data at the right time. Ultimately? It makes for complicated designs that aren’t suitable for scaling.

Conversely, all-flash doesn’t have these problems. Since there are no platters to rotate with a solid-state drive, data is instantly accessible. The QV2020 storage solutions provide millions of IOPS per second with consistently low latency and unbeatable data protection.

Simplify Your Database Management Practices

With an all-flash array, there’s an excess of capability for performance. The entire database can be assigned to one storage volume without affecting the performance and can be migrated to a single volume.

How does this impact performance tuning? You get to simplify your entire database design, layout, and management with little to no monitoring from your team. This simple, lightweight storage infrastructure improves your data management and your data protection process.

Let Your Database Administrators Focus on Development, Not Performance Tuning

By simplifying your storage infrastructure with an all-flash array, your database administrators and storage administrators can focus on what they do best. With the consistent performance of an all-flash array, your database administrator can focus on implementing the new features and advances that SQL servers have to offer.

Since an all-flash array can deliver snapshots and clones of database data sets in an instant, and data sets can be tested without impacting the performance of the rest of the production environment, your team is free to work without interruption.

Support More Than Just Microsoft SQL

With legacy storage solutions, a hard disk drive provided major limitations. They can’t handle multiple workloads at once.

An all-flash array has multiple storage silos, which can empower your team to take advantage of all kinds of tools, including:

Save Money on Storage

SQL environments supported by an all-flash array cost less than a performance-focused hard disk drive. Looking strictly at the cost of equipment, you’ll certainly save money in hardware, but you’ll also save on the time and expense of performance tuning and adding extra drives to achieve acceptable performance too.

When you weigh in the cost savings by freeing up your team from the hassle of performance tuning, you’ll end up with an improved database and storage infrastructure quality overall.


The key thing to remember about an all-flash array is the ease of scalability it offers. When you need better performance down the road, you should be able to expand on what you already have. An all-flash array is much more scalable than hard disk drives, which are bulky, expensive, and harder to maintain when you start to expand your storage capacity.

The QV2020 Storage Platform Drives SQL Performance to New Heights

Are you looking for an affordable, high-performance all-flash array to power your SQL server? VIOLIN Systems’ QV2020 Storage Platform is the answer.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • With the QV2020, SQL performs write operations twice as quickly and performs read operations one and a half times faster than other all-flash arrays.
  • Your CPU loads are reduced by as much as 30 percent.
  • Our all-flash array offers 20 times faster report generation and application performance.
  • Enjoy a fully redundant field with continuous availability and no single point of failure.
  • Eliminate hotspots and data locality issues.
  • Reduce your number of SQL Server licenses required by up to 90 percent.

There’s no better duo than the partnership of an SQL server and VIOLIN Systems’ QV2020 all-flash array. Let us show you how it’s done. Contact us today to learn more!

Topics: MySQL, flash storage, Technology Trends, Extreme Performance, cost savings