What Is All-Flash Storage? Here’s What You Need to Know (2020)

Posted by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on May 12, 2020 4:28:27 PM

Leaders across countless industries are working to figure out the best solutions for high capacity data storage management. In order to stay relevant, data storage companies have to provide products that are effective, efficient, and innovative. Falling back on data storage solutions that are years out of date simply isn’t an option.

Enter NVMe All-Flash Storage.

Understanding Spinning Disk Storage

There are a number of ways that companies can store data. Before discussing all-flash, it is important to understand the predecessor: spinning disk storage. For years, and even decades, many companies have used spinning disk systems for their storage needs.

Spinning disk drives are comprised of two key components: spinning platter-shaped disks, which you can imagine as stacked CDs, and an arm for each disk. The arms and disks alternate and move so that the arm, using magnetism, can write data onto the disks. This has been a tried-and-true method for writing and re-writing data, but there are issues.

First, when you have something with a lot of moving parts, you have more opportunities for breakage. More things can go wrong. Second, heat and friction can be an issue, which is part of why spinning disk hard drives often don’t last more than a few years. Third, information from one file may be stored across many different spaces on the available disks, making data more easily corruptible. Fourth, and finally, the tiny moments it takes for the disk and arm to come into the right physical contact point to save or access a point of data add up, making disk data slower than many users would like.

Understanding All-Flash Storage

All-flash storage, which can be used interchangeably with the terms “flash memory” and “solid state array,” was first used in the 1980s. VIOLIN was the creator of All-Flash storage. We understand the technology, and are now shifting to the latest - NVMe.

Instead of moving disks and arms, all-flash storage uses microchips that are stable and unmoving. This mechanism has been growing in popularity for a lot of reasons, including:

  • Fewer moving parts, therefore fewer opportunities for malfunction
  • Easier and faster access to existing stored data
  • Less physical storage space needed
  • Better infrastructure for distance teams who are accessing cloud storage regularly
  • Increased performance and agility
  • Lower cost of ownership
  • Increased reliability and long-term use

How does All-Flash Storage relate to high availability clusters?

When designing a storage system, software developers have a few options. These options include:

  1. Active/Passive design
  2. Mutually Active/Active design
  3. Active/Active design

These systems determine how much of your data storage you are using at any given time, and what is available to you in case of a software or hardware failure. In each of these systems, you have two controllers that manage users’ data storage and access.

In active/passive design, you have two controllers. One of them is doing all of the work of data storage, while the other is waiting as a back-up in case of a product or software failure. If that happens, the second controller can be used. However, in this set-up, the business is paying for and supporting two controllers, while only ever getting use out of one of them.

In mutually active/active design, the set up is quite similar, but half your data is stored in one controller and half is stored in the other. This keeps your operation at 50% of capacity, just like active/passive.

Active/active design is where things get interesting. You fully utilize both controllers for data usage and access. If one of them fails, you have a reduction in performance, but you only reduce to the same point as you would with either active/passive or mutually active/active. This means that most of the time, you are operating with much more data storage capability, and in case of a failure, you don’t fall any lower than the other systems experience when they go through a failure.

All-flash works beautifully with active/active design. The cost-saving, space-saving, and headache-saving benefits of an all-flash array are comparable to the same benefits of a truly active/active design.

The Affordability of All-Flash

All-flash is becoming more and more affordable. Even though some people still think of all-flash as expensive, there are affordable options for pretty much every operating budget.

Because of the operations described above, all-flash and architecture design allows companies to increase performance without increasing costs.

For example, VIOLIN’s QV2020 system is built for the mid-market, which makes it ideal for mid-sized and large businesses, especially Managed Service Providers, financial service institutions, and the healthcare industry.

What is the role of VIOLIN Systems?

VIOLIN Systems provides enterprise flash storage for companies of all shapes and sizes. We know the unique challenges that are facing today’s business owners, entrepreneurs, and organizations, and we provide data storage solutions to solve those challenges. Our Matrixed RAID technology, True Active/Active Design, and use of the latest in NVMe SSDs allows for less downtime, less performance tuning, and 100% performance at 100% capacity.

VIOLIN believes in providing incredible service for your vital operations. We know that your company can’t function without your data, and you can’t sit around waiting to get access to information that is unavailable due to software failure, access issues, and more. You also need something that is going to be cost-efficient and beneficial to your bottom line.

Whether you are 100% private cloud or using a hybrid system, enterprise flash storage systems are the way to go.

Importantly, when you choose VIOLIN’s All NVMe QV2020 to manage your all-flash needs, you can be assured of the following:

  • VIOLIN’s all-flash data system is fast.
  • VIOLIN’s all-flash programs have improved performance capabilities.
  • VIOLIN’s all-flash software is simple and effective--anyone can be trained to use it well.
  • VIOLIN’s all-flash program can be scaled up as your company grows.
  • VIOLIN’s all-flash set-up provides you with more “bang for your buck.”

We are here to talk about your enterprise data storage needs.

Let’s talk about all-flash. We can help you understand the complexities of all-flash systems and why they are an improvement over spinning disk memory and data. Let us show you how we can offer an exceptional combination of value and high-end performance.

Whatever your storage needs are, VIOLIN offers a solution. We are here to keep your company up and running. Contact us today to learn more!

Topics: flash storage