Harbour ISP, an Australian enterprise that offers a range of internet, phone, IT and cloud services, forecasted today a move to flash storage for its customers within a 12 month period. Harbour already started testing flash storage over the past six months by using Pure Storage which offers the Flash memory product named FlashArray.
FlashArray enables enterprises to accelerate performance by up to ten times for applications such as cloud computing while reducing storage needs. Harbour IT mentioned that by using FlashArray, it was able to reduce storage needs from 7 terabytes to 7 gigabytes. Additionally, there was no added cost after they conducted an initial evaluation. Harbour IT co-founder Charles Tym said, “We ran internally a Citrix deployment, and the user experience wasn’t always consistent, but when we put the flash in, it’s totally consistent. That’s made a big difference. We did an evaluation of all the different (storage technology), and honestly, it was a no-brainer to put the flash in, because the cost per gigabyte was the same.”
Flash storage is widely viewed as a breakthrough technological advancement, and these developments are rare in nature. Tym also noted, “It’s a once-in-15-year change in technology, and it’s a change that is going to go through incredibly quickly — the cost justification case will stay compelling.”
Tym also cited the issue of standard disk-based storage area networks and the inadequate input/output performance. “You basically have got incredibly dense applications coming out of these virtualized environments and you have got all these physical spindles trying to serve all of these diverse requests for IO. You may have a mechanical disk SAN that can support 200 terabytes of disk, but the controllers can’t get enough throughput to actually service 200 terabytes of data. They might only be able to service 100 terabytes of data, for example. Then you end up putting in another SAN, even though you have got one that’s only half its capacity because of the IO bottle neck. Those are the kind of issues that all cloud providers are dealing with [when it comes to] mechanical disk. The disk may have a very large capacity, but to get decent response times you have to limit the amount of disk that you can actually use in your environment and that wastes money because you have all these shelves that aren’t fully populated.”
Moreover, Harbour expects to see a significant reduction of deployment time by using FlashArray rather than having to build the disks, format them and place them in racks, which could take months. Tym continued, “”The last time we did it, it took nearly four months, and we were trying to do it as quickly as possible.” With Pure Storage, “it was two part numbers, and all the cables came with it, so it was just a matter of us putting it in the rack, formatting only took a couple of minutes … it can be done in hours. It’s a very, very tidy solution.”