Flash In The SAN: How Much Do You Need?

Flash In The SAN: How Much Do You Need?

Flash is an obvious solution for high-speed storage, but what proportion of network storage is typically devoted to it? The answer might be less than you think.

Picture: Getty Images/Ethan Miller

During a customer panel at NetApp’s Insight conference in Las Vegas, flash solutions VP Ty McConney said that most customers were choosing hybrid storage arrays, but only using a relatively small amount of flash in them. “Hybrid arrays are the new norm,” he said. While 70 per cent of SAN systems sold by NetApp incorporate flash, it usually accounts for between 3 and 6 per cent of overall storage capacity.

In some contexts, those figures can go higher. Real estate information provider RP Data (whose implementation we looked at earlier this year has used an all-flash system to ensure fast delivery of weekend auction results to its clients, and is now looking to expand its usage

“The all-flash array has really broadened the scope of what we can do with our data,” ICT head Adrian Jansz said. “We’re now looking at the all-flash array as the basis for a data transformation project in 2015-2016.”

“Price and capacity are our biggest pain points,” Jansz said. “Performance as an issue has completely been eliminated. Within the business it’s taken a lot of pressure off our DBAs.”

Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to Las Vegas as a guest of NetApp.


  • They really needed to come up with another same for high speed drives and devices other than “Flash”. Of all the words in the English language they could have chosen, they chose the same one that’s used by Adobe for their web browser plugin (as far as I can tell, Flash was released in 1996 and Flash drives were invented in 1999).

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